Upcoming BPM Events

Three upcoming events might be worth looking into:

May 19: Industry Briefing: BPMN 2.0 Examined

This is a free webinar by Robert Shapiro the brain behind XPDL.  Few have his insight and experience into the process space.  Now a consultant at Process Analytica he brings a vendor independent view to the future of BPM and workflow standards.  This will not be a presentation for the timid — expect considerable depth and details.  If you are a software vendor thinking about implementing BPMN 2.0 or if you are a consultant that needs to keep up on BPM trends this briefing will be an easy way to get tips to help you plot your way forward.

June 18-19: The BPM in Government Event

There has been a big focus on BPM in the government this year, with the DoD sponsored SOA Symposium in DC in April, and now the Process.gov event in June, also in Washington DC.  No coincidence that the 2009 BPM & Workflow Handbook has the theme Spotlight on BPM in Government.  Most important:

The only event of its kind, Process.gov is strictly non-commercial and no paid-for sessions or sponsored content will be presented. All sessions and presenters are peer-reviewed and subject to a rigorous jury process.

I will be presenting a session on “Model Preserving Strategy” which is also the subject of my chapter in the 2009 Handbook. It is a great opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with many process thought leaders.  Price is a very modest $100, but note: if you are not a government employee sign up early: there are a limited number of non-government admissions.  As of this moment, there are a few open speaking slots as well (six I believe).

June 22: Stevens BPM Day

This is the third year for this vendor-independent executive seminar (pdf brochure) located conveniently just across the Hudson River from New York City hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken NJ.  I will be there with a few other though leaders presenting the acclaimed “BPM in Practice” full day tutorial on currently evolving BPM technology and standards.  Stevens adds an additional twist with a breakout track focusing on BPMN modeling.  Robert Shapiro will  surely have lots of interesting details on the BPMN 2.0 standard. Early registration is $495 but you save $100 if you are a WfMC member.

Model Portability Landmark

WfMC announced last week the BPMN Model Portability Validation test. This is a test that certifies that a BPM diagram, of a specified complexity, can be accurately exchanged between tools that have passed the test.

The test starts with a diagram that incorporates all the required BPMN elements. Continue reading

“BPM In Practice” in San Diego

On March 26, 2009 I will be participating in another “BPM in Practice” seminar in San Diego. This full day event will explore workflow and BPM from a number of different points of view. We start with the basic, advance quickly to the new enterprise architecture, and from there explore 5 key standards and how they might or might not be applicable. While there is an organized presentation, the sessions are generally intimate enough that we can have a discussion on any side topic that the audience wants to go into. Continue reading

Far Flung Analytics – BPAF

Michael zur Muehlen has written a short article on “The Business Process Analytics Format (BPAF)“. This is a portable format that will allow the history events from multiple BPM servers to be aggregated together to a single process analytics server. It can be used to connect one vendor’s process engine to another vendor’s analytics server. This proposed standard will be a critical element for gaining insight into how well your processes are running, especially when you have workflow engines from multiple vendors in your enterprise. Continue reading

The Right Amount of BPMN

After a few months without much BPM discussion, then I blinked and found that I have been missing the Great BPMN Debate. To bring you up to speed: Michael zur Muehlen and Jan Recker have been studying how people actually use BPMN to draw business processes, and have counted the occurrance of rate of various elements. He summarized this in a blog post,which came to the conclusion that practitioners could focus on learning and using a small subset of a dozen BPMN elements, that vendors could prioritize implementations to get the more common elements first, and that some elements were used so rarely that the value of their existence was questioned. Continue reading

Standards Tutorials in Europe

WfMC experts are again presenting the standards tutorials at two venues in Europe.

1. Poznań Poland.  Due to a big upsurge in BPM use in Poland in the past couple of years, we were invited to present a day and a half on Oct 8 and 9.  Here are links for overview and registration.

2. Paris La Défense, France.  We have long had membership in the coalition in France, it is nice to finally hold an event there on Oct 10.  Here is a links for  registration (in French).

WfMC members take note:  will be holding the fall meeting of the WfMC in Paris, hosted by TIBCO, on Oct 11 and 12.

The Tipping Point for XPDL

A lot of you know I am a big proponent of XPDL, the XML Process Definition Language. Not only because of the tremendous amount of good work that went into it, but also I see it being successfully used on a daily basis. It solves a real problem, and is available today. I am, apparently not the only one who feels this way.

In the last few weeks we have been investigating software that supports XPDL to try and get a definitive list, so we combined lists from several sources. The result surprised even me: we were able to identify over 60 different products that claim support for XPDL available today. Check the list at the WfMC site as well as my own list. Scan down the list of names, there are many important companies on the list:

  • Large corporations: Adobe, Advantys, Appian, BEA(Fuego), EMC, Fujitsu, IDS Scheer, Infor, Interwoven, Global 360, IBM(FileNet), Oracle, Software AG, TIBCO, Unisys, Vignette to name a few of the bigger ones. It is also worth noticing that implementation is not limited to large corporations.
  • Open source process editors such as Enhydra JaWE open source process editor and IT Pearls open source plug in for Visio which read and write XPDL.
  • Open source process engines that execute XPDL directly, including Enhydra Shark, WfMOpen, Open Business Engine, Bonita, Workflow::WfMC, jawFlow, Pentaho, and others.
  • Commercial process design tools like Cubetto Toolset, Jenz & Partner, Eclair Group Lynx.
  • Specialized process tools, for example consider SimProcess which is a stand alone process simulation product. Or Zynium’s Byzio product, which can convert any unprepared Visio dirgram into an XPDL file for transferral to other tools.
  • Adoption seems to be spread all over the world, including Rodan, HOGA.PL, R-DATA & Polsoft in Poland, Metoda S.p.A in Italy, Together in Austria, numerous companies in France, Germany, England, US, NEC Data & Fujitsu in Japan, Monosys in China, and many other parts of the world.
  • Across the technological landscape, many of these are written in Java but there is also strong representation in the .Net world with Ascentn and Aspose both offering .Net products that support XPDL, as well as Perl, C++, and other language offerings.

There is another way to get an idea for the breadth of adoption. Consider Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for BPMS vendors for 2006. In the top three quadrants, there are 11 vendors listed. (Actually 12, but IBM and FileNet merged late last year after the MQ was released.) Here is the alphabetical linup of the top 11 vendors and whether they support XPDL:

  • Adobe: YES
  • Appian: YES
  • BEA (Fuego): YES
  • Fujitsu: YES
  • Global 360: YES
  • IBM (FileNet): YES
  • Lombardi: ?
  • Metastorm: ?
  • Pegasystems: YES
  • Savvion: ?
  • TIBCO: YES

8 of the 11 top BPMS vendors clearly support the standard, and the other three might, I simply don’t know at this time. Is it fair at this point to consider the standard a success?

Here is the really strange thing, nobody seems to know this! Just two weeks ago yet another article was written in Computer Business Review where Tony Baer makes the following claims:

“Until now, workflow has been fairly virgin territory, given the failure of XPDL, an XML standard developed by the Workflow Management Coalition to attain critical mass support much beyond the classic document workflow crowd.”

“…XPDL got too specific, and began traipsing on the agenda of vendors like IBM, Oracle, and SAP. They dismissed XPDL as being dated due to its document workflow orientation.”

What strange comments! A quick review of the list of supporters make it clear that classifying this list as “classic document workflow” is very much off the mark. How unusual that IBM and Oracle are listed as non-supporters, when in fact they do have products supporting XPDL. Where does this conclusion about being ‘document oriented’ come from? Mr Baer is not alone in being confused by all the mis-information produced by corporate marketing literature, but I would expect a journalist to research more thoroughly than the product brochures.

The biggest misperception in the marketplace is that BPEL and XPDL are in some kind of a war. I have already covered elsewhere how this is silly, so I won’t duplicate it here. I think Jon Pyke’s response makes it clear how these very different standards serve very different purposes.

Yet, in conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to Mr Baer. It was his article, after all, that prompted us to get off our duffs and update the list of products that support XPDL. As I said before, more than 60 products supporting XPDL surprised even us. I believe we have reached the tipping point.

Feb 5 will be another Bay Area Workflow Seminar

I heard a funny rumor today: someone heard that the OMG was buying the WfMC in order to put an end to XPDL. I am sure the OMG folks find this just as amusing as the WfMC members do. And I can assure you that no such thing is happening, probably more due to OMG unwillingness to shell out the money than WfMC unwillingness to accept the cash. Continue reading

Summary: BPM 2006 in Mainz Germany

It has been two weeks, but I have been so occupied it is hard to keep up. WfMC held the latest meeting in Mainz Germany, which is near Frankfurt, Sept 26-28 concurrently with the Business Process Management 2006 conference.

On Sept 29, WfMC held BPM Standards Tutorial Day where a number of key coalition members presented details on WfMC and other standards relevant to BPM. This is a relatively expensive event (€1295) so the audience expects a small environment with ready access to the presenters.

I must say that I am pleased that all of the people who volunteered to create content for this event all successfully delivered excellent presentations. It happens so often with volunteer organizations that people flake out, but certainly not this time, and I believe this is a sign of vitality of WfMC and the value that these members see in helping to spread information about the WfMC work.

Tom Baeyens who heads up the JBoss jBPM initiative attended the tutorial day, and it was a pleasure and an honor to meet him in person. He wrote up a nice summary of the event on his blog. He accurately points out that WfMC needs to do better in public relations (I would have sayed HYPE) than contenders such as BPEL. So true. But at least WfMC has maintained credibility over the long haul.

WfMC now has a new executive director: Nathaniel Palmer. Founder and President at Transformation+Innovation, and a long time analyst in the BPM space. He has some great new ideas for increasing the effectiveness of the coalition at getting the message out. Of course, it would be hard to completely replace the excellent service that Layna Fisher was bringing to the coalition for the past 5 years, we were glad to hear that Layna will continue to organize and run the Workflow Handbook part of the WfMC.
This day also represent a trial run for a series of tutorial days planned end of October beginning November in three cities in Asia. Information is now becoming available for this:

Oct 30, Tokyo:
http://www.gmacjapan.com/bpm/

Nov 1, Taipei:
http://www.flowring.com/pagelogic/en_index.jsp?pl=in000000000000en

Nov 3, Singapore:
http://www.bizmann.com/wfmc_fareast_tour.htm

More information coming soon.

BPM Standards Tutorials, Sept 29, Germany

Key members of the BPM standards community are coming together in Mainz Germany on September 29 to present six hour-long tutorials on subjects relevant to getting BPM system to work together. The tutorials range from general overview of the BPM market, to specific detailed presentations on standards. For those vendors who are already familiar with BPM there is an interactive XPDL design strategy session to discuss specific implementation approaches.

This is presented as part of Business Process Management 2006 which is a four day event, the BPM Standards will be presented on the last day, Friday. While the first three days are primarily in German, the BPM Standards day will be presented exclusively in English.

The schedule is:

  • 09:00 Welcome and Introduction
  • 09:10-10:00 BPMN/XPDL overview
  • 10:00-10:45 BPMN/XPDL details
  • 11:15-12:00 Human BPM (workflow) vs. EAI BPM (Service Orchestration)
  • 12:00-13:00 Lunch
  • 13:00-13:45 What is BPM? What is Workflow? The Business Value of BPM & Workflow.
  • 14:00-14:45 Relationship between BPM and SOA – How to leverage what you have.
  • 15:15-16:00 XPDL vs. BPEL
  • 16:00-16:30 Panel Session, Q&A, Roundup, Feedback

The presenters include Jon Pyke (WfMC Chair), Robert Shapiro (Global360), Keith Swenson (Fujitsu), Saša Bojanic (ProZone), Justin Brunt (TIBCO), Ken Mei (Global 360), Philippe Betschart (W4 Global), Philip Larson (Appian Corp), Thomas Olbrich (Chair Business Process Management 2006), and draws upon work created and helped along by the Workflow Management Coalition.

Here is a detailed schedule of the presentations. Hope to see you there!