An interesting article: Bridging the IT-Business Gap With BPM and SOA. Zygmunt Jackowski builds the case that BPM does NOT bridge this gap, and in fact current BPM systems are pretty much the same as traditional programming. I have to both agree and disagree.
Again, this depends upon your definition of BPM. As I read his article, it seems to me that he is talking about EAI-style BPM, also known as web service orchestration. He talks about activities being web service calls. Many vendors have this and claim that it is BPM, but I have to agree with him that this is really nothing new, and really does not solve the problem.
The place that I disagree with Dr. Jackowski is that there are tools and vendors that go far beyond the EAI style BPM which have (1) modelling tools designed for business users that (2) model the interaction of people, not just web services, that (3) interpret the diagram directly instead of compiling to an executable, that (4) incorporate an organizational model into process and modeling environment, etc. He seems to not know about these tools. Many of the capabilities that he says are missing are in fact present in tools such as Interstage BPM.
So it is yet another case of confusion about the term “BPM”.