Process Cafe: The State of BPM

  • March 17, 2011
  • Scott

Gary Comerford of the Process Cafe has a 3-part series on the State of BPM.  It’s quite a good read so far, into part 2.  And there’s a bit that particularly relates to what Bruce Silver and I were writing about earlier this week:

However, on the flip side many organizations remain “process ignorant” when it comes to BPM because many still don’t necessarily understand exactly how things are getting done in their own business. Some cited issues such as a lack of interchange standards between process modeling and execution tools, which can render system interoperability difficult. One reason that this issue exists is that organizations are using modeling-only tools that lack an execution component. Organizations are finding the breadth of available BPM systems confusing in that each vendor interface will dictate how business processes are to be designed and applied. Could it be that a single unified interchange system will prevail in the future which will allow any modelling tool to interchange data with any execution tool? The salesman at some of the larger vendors will tell you that this already exists, but seeing the number of forum questions that appear from developers who are building these execution systems, it is apparent that all is not totally well from this point of view. 

Yes, using model-only tools is fine – but one must understand that they start model-only and they end model-only.  When you move to execution, you start over.  Literally.  The good news is – usually – the original models don’t take that long to re-author in an executable model approach.

Interchange does not yet work to the satisfaction of technical users, let alone business users.  If the salesmen of large software companies are saying this they’re mistaken.  Some tools can export their own models to “BPMN2” and import that same BPMN2 export back in.  This is not the same as importing the model from a third-party tool.  The “good” news is that all the vendors have at least a small motivation to implement importing.  The “bad” news is that none have any interest in building the exporters (I believe that will be up to the open-source community).

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