BPMN Interchange

Scott Francis
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BPMN Interchange has been the promised land for BPMN enthusiasts for a long time.  Neil Ward-Dutton has an update from a recent OMG technical meeting in Berlin, where a live-streamed demonstration of interchange was carried out – perhaps the second or third of its kind (the first was at BPMNEXT a year ago).

Chaired by Trisotech’s Denis Gagne, representatives from the OMG’s Model Interchange Working Group showed how BPMN 2.0 diagrams can be exported, imported, combined, decorated with hidden attributes, and then deployed into running systems across heterogeneous products.

Across three separate interchange scenarios there were products in play from Yaoqiang, BOC Group, Signavio, Camunda, Sparx Systems, W4, Trisotech, bpmn.io, SAP, itp Commerce and Omny Link.

It’s an impressive array of companies, and it is disappointing to see some key vendors missing from this list (Oracle, IBM, Pega, Alfresco, looking at you).

Neil goes on to say:

I’ve gone on record before as saying that I think the power of standards like BPMN are less to do with model interchange per se, and more about building a global based of skilled practitioners where knowledge is easily verifiable and exchangeable.

I agree.  The stuff that would really save time if it could be “interchangeable” are the implementation details that aren’t standardized across process tooling.  Conceptually your model can translate well, but your implementation details cannot.

And this is, perhaps, where it can get interesting.  Perhaps Model Interchange isn’t the only place for commonality across BPM engines.