BPM Think Tank Day 1: Derek Miers

Derek Miers started the afternoon with an overview of OMG’s BPM standards.

Adopted specifications

  • BPM (Business Motivation Metamodel)
  • BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation)
  • BPDM (Business Process Definition Metamodel)
  • SBVR (Semantics of Business Vocabulary & Rules)
  • BPMM (Business Process Maturity Model)

Specifications in progress:

  • OSM (Organizational Structure Metamodel)
  • BPRI (Business Process Runtime Interfaces)
  • BPMN 2.0 (Merged notation and metamodel)
  • PRR (Production Rules Representation)

BPMM is concerned with the evolutionary improvement path that organizations take from immature, inconsistent processes to a more mature set of business processes, and is targetted for use by the business side within organizations.

BMM is an integrated approach for deciding, documenting, communicating and managing key elements in business design, intended for use by business managers.

SVBR is more of a vendor-focussed standard for business rules: like other serialization and interchange standards, this is something that is built into products but isn’t much seen by business managers/analysts.

BPDM is an interchange format for moving between process model types: a metamodel that allows, for example, XPDL to be translated to BPDM and on to BPEL. Interesting to note that OMG puts XPDL in the same layer as BPEL, WS-CDL and ebBP, that is, execution models, with BPMN and BPDM being up in the business models layer. I’m not sure how much of this representation is political in nature, to allow BPEL and XPDL to be included in a BPDM world; since BPDM does serialization for the purposes of interchange, XPDL would only be used for interfacing with systems that don’t support BPDM, and BPEL would be used only when it was required as an execution language. This is a technical standard: business analysts won’t really care except that it provides them with interchange between tools as required.

BPMN we all pretty much know about: a graphical process notation standard, used by business analysts and others who need to create or understand process models. Version 1.1 will be released within the next few weeks, and 2.0 (which rolls in BPDM to provide notation, metamodel and interchange in a single standard) is targetted for the end of 2008.

OSM is a standard for modelling (essentially) the organizational chart: organizational units, position, authority, responsibility, relationships, contact information, organization rules, and matrix structures. A current de facto standard that covers part of this is LDAP, for example. OSM is targetted at business managers, but will need adoption by the modelling tools and BPMS vendors. There was a decision made to separate the process (BPMN/BPDM) and resource (OSM) architecture, although they are closely related: OSM will tie into BPMN concepts such as swimlanes.

BPRI is a standard providing an interface to process execution artifacts in order to extract information for monitoring and analysis. I think that this is a prime target for RSS feeds as a standard way of extracting runtime data from executing systems; that would at least provide a standard transport, leaving still the development of the standard for the payload. Derek indicated that this is one working group that is having trouble getting participation and traction in the industry, so if you’re interested in participating in this (or in any of the other OMG BPM standards), contact OMG.

On his summary slide, he has one line that says “Don’t leave it to the vendors to control your destiny”, yet the room is full of vendors with a sprinkling of independent like Bruce, Brenda and I, and I’m not sure that the end-user organizations that this is obviously targetted at are even in attendance.

OMG specification documents are freely available to the public, although I’ve always found it difficult to find them on their website. Apparently there’s a link from the OMG home page to the specifications catalog, and all of the specifications are linked from there.

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