BPMN-XPDL-BPEL value chain revisited

Right after I dissed the new for-pay incarnation of Business Integration Journal Business Transformation and Innovation, it turns out that I’m mentioned in an article in the November/December issue.

For the past 12 to 18 months, there has been growing interest and discussion surrounding BPMN, XPDL and BPEL. What has begun to take form is the recognition of the BPMN-XPDL-BPEL Value Chain, a concept first credited to analyst Sandy Kemsley by XPDL expert Keith Swenson.

I normally don’t read this publication cover to cover, but I was checking my email subscriptions folder and saw a message with the title “The BPMN-XPDL-BPEL Value Chain”. Having coined the phrase “BPMN-XPDL-BPEL value chain” in a blog post covering the BPM Think Tank last May, I tend to notice when it crops up elsewhere 🙂

The BIJ article, written by Nathaniel Palmer of WfMC, discusses the three process standards and their interrelationship, particularly around how XPDL and BPEL are complementary, not competitive. Nothing here that I haven’t written before, but it’s a good overview/summary article on the subject.

Of course, being from WfMC, which authors the XPDL standard, he doesn’t mention OMG’s BPDM, which could prove eventually to be XPDL’s nemesis.

4 thoughts on “BPMN-XPDL-BPEL value chain revisited

  1. Thanks for the pickup and original turn-of-phrase. To clarify, however, the omission of BPDM from the article is not because I am from the WfMC. BPEL, BPMN, XDPL all exist. BPDM does not (I assume the same reason you did not write “the XPDL-BPEL-BPMN-BPDM value chain” though someday we all might.) As BPDM moves closers to being a reality, there is no indication it would by any means be the ‘nemesis’ of XPDL. The common members of OMG and WfMC are collaborating on BPDM just as they did XPEL, BPMN, and BPEL — as well as BPRI and other sibling standards. I will write about BPDM as soon as there is something to write about.

  2. Sandy,

    “Nemesis” is a strong word, even in the future tense. There seems to be a strong desire for people to pit XPDL against BPDM. As I have pointed out, the goals of BPDM are somewhat different from the goals of XPDL, and it is quite likely that once BPDM becomes available it plays a different role. To draw an analogy from graphics standards, it is a little like saying that “JPG” format is the nemesis of “GIF” format.

    I hope you can forgive Nathanial for not talking a great deal about BPDM, because it is really hard to talk about something that does not exist yet. It constantly amazes me how much the media likes to hype the promise of the “next great thing”, full of inflated expectations set by goals not yet realized, while at the same time disparaging the lackluster appearance of things that exist today. This reminds me so much of BPEL, which for three years has been the answer to every process oriented question even though it is was not finished. Now that it is in final form (almost ratified!) people realize that while it is important, it does not do a fraction of what the hypsters claimed it would.

    To avoid this with BPDM we should wait until it is ratified and agreed upon before claiming what it will or will not do. I know the people involved, and they are good people, and might come up with something interesting, so let them do their job. It is amazing how much politics is behind all the hype in lobbying who is going to support whatever standards. As a vendor, if BPDM is good, I know it is a couple programmer-weeks to write a transform to support it, which is no big deal. Similarly, any of the current vendors should be able to support XPDL for a similar effort. Let’s hear less arguing about what is or is not the best, and simple see more product that support existing standards. The public/marketplace is best served by more options in the support of standards.

    One thing I can point out, is that WfMC has never been a “Not Invented Here” kind of organization. We have endorsed BPMN, and we extended XPDL to support it completely. We have worked in the past with Microsoft on a MAPI interface and with OMG to define a standard workflow interface in IDL. The next WfMC meeting will have a special session on BPRI, another promising OMG initiative. WfMC is not out to kill BPDM. If it is good, we will give an honest evaluation of it that will be helpful, and we hope we can guide those in the workflow industry in the best ways of using it, especially in relationship to XPDL. WfMC is credible because we are not closed to the idea of picking the best standard, even if it is developed by someone else.

    BPDM does not exist yet, so it is not really our place to comment on it.

  3. Nathaniel, thanks for your comments. Some of the committee members working on BPDM seemed to indicate that BPDM will indeed replace XPDL at some point; I <a href=”http://www.column2.com/2006/05/bpm-think-tank-day-3-bpdm-technology-roundtable/” rel=”nofollow”>blogged about this issue</a> from the BPM Think Tank last year because I was trying to get the answer to exactly the question of how XPDL and BPDM would coexist.

  4. Keith, great points. Personally, I think that XPDL has a huge head start in the process interchange space that it will take quite some time for anything to replace it, even if something appropriate appears. BPDM may or may not be a direct replacement (or superset), and will definitely take a while for market acceptance.

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