BPM Think Tank Day 2: Business Process Frameworks

Next was a panel on business process frameworks with representative from various framework standards

Tom Mercer (VRM from the Value Chain Group), Lloyd Chumbley (ACORD), Philippe de Smedt (OMG Finance Domain) and Paul Harmon (covering SCOR and eTOM, and also moderating).

Each panelist spoke briefly about the mission of their organization and framework:

  • VRM (Value Reference Model) is an analytical framework that establishes a classification scheme for business processes using a hierarchy of levels and relationships through inputs/outputs. Unlike many other frameworks, it doesn’t appear to be specific to any industry vertical, which makes it more like a methodology than a framework. Mercer said that they’re working on a relationship/mapping between VRM and BPMM. With 38 slides for a 10-minute presentation, I’m sure that I missed something along the way…
  • ACORD is an insurance standards organization, and all of their standards are focussed on that vertical. They started with (paper) insurance forms, then moved on to EDI and XML for exchanging data. More recently, they’ve started standardizing terminology/vocabulary and high-level process components (e.g., “determine coverage”, “indicate beneficiary”), which has some pretty exciting potential both for improving insurance companies internally as well as the cross-organization processes. Chumbley gave the benefits of a framework: save time, reduce risks, enable business agility, reduce costs, and enable incremental development. Many insurance companies were already using their own proprietary frameworks, and ACORD is working to have them come together in an industry-standard framework in order to facilitate the integration of third parties — reinsurers, contractors, geographically-diverse divisions, outsourcers, agencies, etc. — into a company’s process. They identify the three key components of the framework as a common glossary and data structures (standardized terms and relationships); business capabilities and process definitions (library of standard process building blocks); and a business messaging library. Their goal is consumability of those standards, and they see the necessity of working with OMG, OASIS and W3C to come into line on these.
  • OMG creates domain-specific specifications and standards like reference models of business processes for financial services, which has been issued in RFP format. They focus on two key use cases — funds transfer (including payment authorization, clearing and settlement) and account opening (including loan origination, subscription, applications and enrollment) — with a goal to reduce the risk of sensitive data exposure by reducing the amount of data that has to be transmitted in order to execute a specific type of process. The reference models will include data models, service models, process models and trust models, and it’s their goal to create a metamodel that can be applied to a wide range of financial services.
  • SCOR was developed in order to facilitate supply chains that cross company boundaries, as well as to standardize and improve supply chain internal processes. This started as a common vocabulary, then a standard set of measures for the purpose of establishing industry benchmarks. Harmon gave an example of what happened during the HP-Compaq merger, where the supply chain groups (both using SCOR) were able to model their processes and select the software that supported the more efficient version of process — no arguments over whose process or software was better, since they had industry-standard benchmarks against which to measure.
  • eTOM is a framework specifically for telecommunications organizations, and models the value chains and processes across the company. They take these down to explicit process models in UML, and show where ITIL fits in.

In general, the domain-specific frameworks tend to drill down to deeper levels of detail, which appears to me to have the potential to provide greater value.

BPM Think Tank Day 2: John Alden

Replacing the scheduled Bill Curtis (who had to cancel due to a family emergency), Chief Process Officer at McAfee, John Alden of Capability Measurement (which he co-founded with Curtis) gave the second day keynote on the role of the Chief Process Officer in business process improvement.

Responsibilities of the CPO:

  • Champion enterprise process discipline: quantify the need, articulate the vision, and infiltrate the mindset. It’s important for the CPO to be an internal evangelist for process improvement. Low process maturity organizations are spending 30-40% of their total time doing rework due to errors earlier in the process. In mid-maturity organizations, processes are stabilized but not standardized. In mature organizations, processes are standardized to reduce variability.
  • Drive process measurement: quantify business cases, support local management needs first, and mature the measures with the process over time. Derive the measurements, or KPIs, from strategic goals. Measures in immature organizations are unreliable, inconsistent and inaccurate; in mid-level maturity organizations, they become more standardized; and in mature organizations, they become strategic.
  • Coordinate enterprise process integration: represent cross-functional interests, establish enterprise process capability, and coordinate enterprise improvement projects. This requires optimizing the workflow rather than the functional performance of any given group, that is, focussing on the end-to-end process rather than silos: moving from siloed improvements, to coordinating functions through cross-functional processes, to enterprise processes that draw on functions as roles. There needs to be some sort of enterprise infrastructure to support these efforts, possibly through a centre of excellence.
  • Develop local process improvement capabilities: build business unit BPI capability, support local BPI activities, and establish enterprise improvement assets.

Alden talked a bit about BPMM, and how it needs to start at the local level and have the right type of leadership from the local managers, and finished up with a brief look at the CPO function and the related process improvement structures that are in place at McAfee.

I would have love to hear Curtis talk about this himself, since I’m sure that he’d bring more passion and hands-on knowledge about his role at McAfee to it, but Alden is very knowledgeable in this area and was a reasonable substitute.

BPM Think Tank Day 1: BPM Standards Panel

The final session of the day was a panel with representatives from four standards organizations: Fred Cummins of OMG (BPMN, BPDM), Charlton Barreto of W3C, Keith Swenson of WfMC (XPDL) and John Evdemon of OASIS (BPEL), moderated by Fred Waskiewicz of OMG.

The first question was on the focus or mission of each organization:

  • OMG has a focus on modelling business processes by business people through specifications such as BPMN and BPDM.
  • The W3C’s focus is on “keeping the web from fragmenting”, which seems a somewhat lofty goal. Relative to BPM, it’s about providing a testable architecture.
  • WfMC’s mission is to help the process design ecosystem work together better by providing process-specific standards such as XPDL. XPDL stills reigns as the de facto interchange standard for process models, with over 60 different systems and open source projects supporting it, and I can’t imagine that WfMC is going to back away from that for quite a while.
  • OASIS is involved in both orchestration, through BPEL, and choreography, through BPSS. Evdemon acknowledged some of the shortcomings with BPEL, such as the lack of support for human-facing tasks, looping and subprocesses, and discussed how they are addressing those with upcoming extensions.

So far, so polite. Everyone seems to be acknowledging everyone else’s position, and it seems like one big happy standards family. The question is, of course, is there room in the landscape for all of these? If so, how do they fit together? Is there One Language To Rule Them All?

Barroto called for more workshops to bring together the standards bodies to work out the issues of overlap and compatibility, and Evdemon agreed; I understood that that was part of the reason for the BPM Think Tanks in the first place, but they seem to be suggesting something different, like a technical skunkworks of some sort where the engineers just get together and hack it out. Since they come from the two organizations that produce much more technical standards, that’s not a surprising view, but I’m not sure that it is sufficiently sensitive to the nature of all of the types of people (including business people) who might need to be involved in the development of BPM standards.

Great question from Phil Larson of Appian: since BPMN is the only thing that everyone can agree on, why is OMG messing things up by including BPDM into BPMN, when there is still an active competition (on some level) between BPDM, XPDL and BPEL (when it’s used as an interchange standard rather than an execution language)? Phil Gilbert responded that BPMN wasn’t right in the first place since it was missing the representation part, and the inclusion of BPDM fixes that somehow. I’m not sure that answers Larson’s question, and he came back to ask if WfMC and OASIS see BPDM as a threat, and if not, why not? Swenson reinforced the big happy standards family idea that all of these can exist together, but mentioned something about migrating from XPDL to BPDM; Evdemon also said that if something better than BPEL comes along, then you should be looking at it. To me, it sounds like both WfMC and OASIS are in a wait-and-see mode to see what BPDM will turn out to be in reality, and both seem to be making noises about how if a superior standard emerges that handles all the use cases, then it would make sense to consider moving in that direction. As if they could say anything else.

That’s it for day 1. We’re all headed for the bar to see which vendors buys the first round.

BPM Think Tank Day 1: Organizational Modelling

I switched over to the business stream for the discussion on OSM and BMM by Lance Gibbs of BP-3.

BMM (Business Motivational Metamodel) establishes a common structure for business planning, including business strategy and execution. It aligns the defined goals to the influencers that help or hinder achieving these goals, and considers business rules to be a major governance instrument that needs to be employed. The last point was a bit surprising, until Gibbs pointed out that this specification comes from the Business Rules Group to OMG. In retrospect, however, I can see that BMM is addressing some essential bits of enterprise architecture that have long been ignored: In Zachman terms, the top 2 or 3 rows of column 6 (remember, I’m Column 2, so rarely go this far to the right) covering business goals/strategies, business objectives, and business rules. It’s all about the ends and the means, terms that repeat in each cell of that Motivation column in EA models. It’s interesting to point out, however, that this upper right corner of the Zachman framework are often ignored because the concepts of motivation are a bit fuzzy; since EA is often owned by IT (even though it should be more cross-functional), it would be their natural preference to deal with the left-most columns and the lower rows.

OSM (Organizational Structure Metamodel) helps to manage work resources that don’t fall into the old hierarchical models. This includes business rules, roles and responsibilities, formal organizational relationships, effective dates, authority chains, qualification definitions and all of the concepts around the extended enterprise in this highly-distributed world. As I mentioned in one of today’s earlier posts, OSM ties into business processes as the resources that service those processes.

I’m completely new to BMM and OSM, having never heard of the specific acronyms before this morning, but the value is immediately apparent. These two are covered together because they represent part of the spectrum from strategy to the operational processes that can help to achieve that strategy. This directly addresses the issue of becoming a process-centric organization, since both of these span functional areas to manage processes end to end, and more importantly, decouple work management from the organizational hierarchy.

Lombardi is one of the contributor to OSM, and they’ve started to introduce some of these concepts into the resources definition functionality within their TeamWorks product: Gibbs showed a few screenshots from this to illustrate concepts such as task routing relative to the current organization chart (parent/child) rather than to a specific role or person, and dynamic task assignment based on business rules. Consider also the impact of including organizational models like this on simulation and what-if analysis, such as the ability to find weaknesses and bottlenecks in the organizational structure as well as the business processes.

BPM Think Tank Day 1: Modeling Notations/Metamodels

For the next two sessions, we’ve split into two tracks, business and technical, and I’m in the technical track where Stephen White of IBM (the “father of BPMN”) is talking about modeling notations and metamodels, namely, BPMN, BPDM and UML.

White started out by listing all of the process-related standards both within OMG, and those external to OMG, such as BPEL, XDL, ebXML BPSS (ebBP) and WS-CDL. I’m starting to think that they missed a great opportunity at lunch with the vegetable soup: a few letter-shaped noodles and we would have had alphabet soup for lunch as well as the dose of it that we’re having now. 🙂

He then focussed specifically on the three key process standards within OMG: UML, BPMN and BPDM.

UML’s been around quite a while; I know it primarily as a way to model software development concepts, and have never been happy with the attempts to shoehorn it into business analyst usages since it is difficult to explain the visual syntax of some UML diagrams to business users when they need to review them. UML activity models were added as a variation of state diagrams, and were beefed up with some business semantics to allow for use by business analysis to model business processes, but they’re not as functional as BPMN diagrams for business process models and have pretty much been replaced in that area by BPMN; I expect that they’re used mostly for modelling flows within software (by developers) than for business processes these days.

BPMI first developed BPML (an XML process execution language) which was later replaced by BPEL, and realized that a graphical notation standard was required, leading to the development of BPMN. BPMN was developed to be usable by the business community, and to be able to generate executable processes (through mapping to a language such as BPEL) by providing not just graphical elements, but the attributes for those elements. BPMN is intended to be methodology-agnostic, and to allow a business analyst to model a process in as simple or as complex an amount of detail that they deem suitable for the application.

White covered the basics of BPMN: the four core elements of activities, events, gateways and connectors represented as shapes, then variations on each of those such as the border type and thickness of an event to indicate if it is a start, intermediate or end event. I covered some of this in my recent webinar on business process modelling, or there’s tons of more detailed BPMN references around the web including Bruce Silver’s BPMN course.

This is turning into a bit too much of a BPMN primer, but I’m hanging on for the BPDM part. Also, I’m in the middle of the second row and can’t exactly sneak out unnoticed.

There seems to be a huge point of confusion with some of the audience members over pools and lanes in the swimlane elements of BPMN, and when to use a pool versus a lane; this seems like one of the most obvious things in the standard, so I’m not sure why this is a problem. Pools, in general, represent separate spheres of control; a business process starts, ends and has all of its elements within a single pool. Pools are often used to represent separate organizations in a B2B process representation. Lanes are sub-partitions of pools, usually used to indicate an organizational role or department, or even specific systems that participate in the process in some way; elements of a business process will be in different lanes of the same pools to indicate where (or by whom) that element is executed. Only message flows pass between elements in different pools, which implies a level of asynchronicity; whereas sequence flows are used to connect activities, gateways and events within the same pool, whether in the same lane or not.

BPMN 1.1 was just completed, with a few notational changes:

  • Signal, a new event type, denoted by a black triangle within the event circle shape. A signal is used to broadcast a specific state to other processes outside the immediate scope.
  • Reduction in scope for link events, because of the inclusion of the signal event; these are now basically goto events within a process.
  • Visual distinction between events that throw and catch, indicated by whether the internal icon is filled or an outline.
  • Rule event is now called “conditional”.
  • Icon for multiple events is a pentagon rather than a 6-pointed star.

Nine minutes after the session was supposed to end, we finally start on BPDM, so I think that this is going to be quick. I’m starting to understand by standards are never released on schedule…

BPDM was started in 2003 as a metamodel of business processes, initially without a notation and later aligned with BPMN. It’s intended to support the specification of multi-party choreography (think of message flows between pools) as well as process orchestration: basically, orchestration is what goes on inside a pool, that is, internal business processes; choreography is what happens between pools, that is, B2B interactions. BPMN 2.0, which will include BPDM, will update how choreography processes are modelled.

BPDM, as the metamodel, defines the meaning of the notation and provides the standardized structure behind it that allows for translation between different modelling languages. In BPMN 2.0, the meaning of BPMN will be changed to Business Process Model and Notation to indicate the inclusion of the BPDM metamodel into BPMN 2.0.

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.

BPM Think Tank Day 1: Mike Amend

Mike Amend, deputy CTO of BEA, gave the first sponsor presentation of the day (if you don’t count the Accenture talk, which probably came about due to their sponsorship). They’re still using the “secret sauce” catchphrase that Fuego used to use, and use the same chef/cooking analogy that I saw at another conference (maybe theirs) that I attended earlier this year, although he’s toned down the analogies since he only has a 20-minute time slot.

Key points:

  • Standardize on a common set of tools: modelling for business users, development tools with shared models, and web applications for human interaction and metrics dashboard.
  • Identify suitable first targets: low maturity level that are easy to improve, low complexity that are easy to automate, and high impact with customer/partner touchpoints that can be a competitive differentiator.
  • Plan for scale: select scalable tools, and put the right processes and methodologies in place for continuous improvement and the ability to move beyond a departmental project.
  • Move past the division/department boundary to create cross-divisional and enterprise-level services (and presumably processes, although he’s talking mostly about SOA here).
  • Simulate and test processes with real-world assumptions about staffing, system performance, costs and throughput.
  • Monitor and measure processes: establish key metrics for processing time, activity time, workload distribution and current state.
  • Establish a process centre of excellence: COO, executive IT, BPM technology owner, business analyst and business operations staff.
  • Follow a methodology: implement and follow guidelines from centre of excellence, leverage best practices from the vendors and peer communities.

He finished up discussing their lifecycle methodology, and the readiness assessment tool that you can find on BEA’s website.

Off to lunch, then we’ll have a full afternoon of BPM standards geekdom.

BPM Think Tank Day 1: Phil Gilbert on OMG & BPM

Phil Gilbert was up next for a brief talk on the role of OMG’s BPM steering committee, which he chairs, as a lead-in to the more detailed discussions of OMG’s BPM standards to come.

He discussed how the steering committee started as BPMI.org in 2001, which released the first BPMN specification prior to BPMI being merged into OMG in 2005. The steering committee provides a platform around which input to standards can be gathered — specifically BPMN, BPDM and SBVR — but doesn’t actually vote on passing the standards. Ever since I was involved in satellite image standards back in the 80’s, I’ve never really understood how standards bodies work in their entirety, but am thankful for people like Phil who get in there and do the heavy lifting.

He covered their roadmap:

  • BPMN 1.1 (available now)
  • BPDM 1.0 (just released)
  • Merging BPMN and BPDM into BPMN 2.0, so that if you support fully support BPMN, you will support BPDM as well
  • Working on the relationships between the OMG standards and UML, XPDL and BPEL
  • OSM 1.0 for organization modeling (later this year)
  • SBVR 1.0 for rules
  • BPRI 1.0 for the runtime interface to processes

He finished with a great point: as more of these standards become baked into process-related products, the idea that you have to work with a single vendor — much less a single product — will become obsolete.

BPM Think Tank Day 1: Jim Adamczyk

The second keynote of the day was Jim Adamczyk of Accenture on how standards play a critical role in creating value with BPM. He said that they have about 40 current projects that are focussed on BPM — the discipline of creating process-centric business and IT architectures — in addition to those doing “low-level workflow”, although it’s not completely clear where the distinction lies. They’re early enough with all of these projects that he couldn’t even list client names, which means to me that Accenture is a bit late to the game here.

He moved on to talk about the value of standards, both notational and serialization, covering much the same territory as I did in a webinar recently: notational standards like BPMN allows users to move between different modelling tools more easily, and serialization/interchange standards make is easier to move processes from one system to another.

He made some great points about how changes are specified: the tendency is for business to actually specify the system change (e.g., add this function to this screen) rather than focus on their business process and KPIs — I struggle with this constantly with my customers, and have to constantly remind the business side to state their requirements, not try to design the system. The problem is that IT has been letting them do this for years, either because it’s easier to not have to learn enough about the business to do the specifications and design based on actual requirements, or because it effectively passes the buck for any mismatch between requirements (what the business needs) and specifications (what the system does) to the business side. But I digress.

Adamczyk stated that a client’s need for standards depend on their entry point to BPM, although I’m not clear what he meant by this. He said that IT almost always drives standards and that business rarely wants to implement standards; I completely disagree with this in the case of BPMN, since there are significant tangible benefits to the business side from having everyone use the same modelling notation, and I have few business-side clients who don’t recognize this. I agree that the business side doesn’t explicitly care about XPDL or BPDM or BPEL or whatever is being used for serialization, but they will start caring if it means that they can’t do round-tripping between the modelling and execution environments. However, he’s deep in the weeds talking about WSDL and LU6.2, so I think that he and I have different views of BPM standards. Since he went on to talk about how Oracle Fusion is one of the most commonly used BPM platforms amongst their client base, I think that we have different views of BPM, too.

Then he made the comment that if you use of the BPM suites (like Lombardi or Appian) that you probably don’t care about BPM standards, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Many companies use a separate process modelling tool even though they use a BPMS, so both notational standards and interchange standards are critical. They’re even important between tools from the same vendor, such as Lombardi’s Blueprint process discovery tool and their TeamWorks BPM suite, which uses BPDM for process model interchange. And there’s the advantage hiring a new analyst who already knows BPMN, even if they don’t know the particular BPMS that you’re using, because that particular standard has become so widespread, and the reduced training requirements that result.

He does have a future view for the perfect world enabled by standards that includes federated orchestration, consistent policy and governance, dynamic and predictive infrastructure, and consistent methodology/training/tools; ranging from consistency on one platform to coverage of all platforms.

Although an engaging speaker, Adamczyk seemed to spend a lot of time apologizing for things that might be missing or inaccurate in his presentation: according to him, he doesn’t really know a lot about BPM standards, nor about the utilities vertical (the industry of his unnamed client example). He also said that he’s here as a proxy for CIOs (this is billed as a “CIO keynote”) rather than as an actual CIO. Enough, already: tell us what you do know, not what you don’t know.

BPM Think Tank Day 1: Paul Harmon

Phil Gilbert kicked off morning with welcome and logistics before turning it over to Paul Harmon, who gave a keynote entitled “Does the OMG have any business getting involved in business process management?” I love a little controversy first thing in the morning.

He started out with a fairly standard view of the history of BPM and process improvement, from Rummler-Brache and TQM in the 80’s to BPR in the 90’s to BPM in the 00’s. He pointed out that BPM has become a somewhat meaningless term, since it means process improvement, the software used to automate processes, a management philosophy of organizing businesses around their processes (the most recent Gartner viewpoint) and a variety of other things.

He broke down BPM into enterprise level, process level and implementation level concerns (with a nice pyramid graphic), and gave some examples of each. For example, at the enterprise level, we have frameworks such as SCOR (for supply chain) and high-level organizational issues such as the Business Process Maturity Model (BPMM); Harmon questions whether OMG should be involved at this level since its primary focus is on technology standards. Process-level concerns are more about modelling, documenting and improving processes, and spreading that process culture throughout the organization. Implementation-level concerns includes the automation of processes, including execution and monitoring, plus the training required to support these new processes.

He made an interesting distinction between stable processes,which need to be efficient and productive, and dynamic processes, which need to be flexible. Processes that are newer or need to be changed frequently are in the dynamic range; in my opinion, these tend to be the processes that are competitive differentiators for an organization. IBM has recently thrown the concept of “value nets” into the mix as an alternative to value chains, but Harmon feels that both are valid concepts: possibly using value chains for stable processes, which might even be candidates for outsourcing, and value nets for more dynamic processes.

He also made a distinction between process improvement, process redesign and process reengineering, a division that I find a bit false since it’s more of a spectrum than he shows.

There was an interesting bit on model-driven architecture (MDA) and how it moves from platform-independent models (in BPMN) to platform-specific models (also in BPMN) to implementation (e.g., J2EE); for example, there may be parts of a process modelled at the platform-independent level that are never automated, hence aren’t directly mapped to the platform-specific level.

He put forward the idea that process is where business mangers and IT meet, and that different organizations may have the implementation level being driven by either the business side or the IT side, and that there’s often poor coordination at this level.

He then discussed BPMS and came up with yet another taxonomy: integration-centric, employee-centric, document-centric, decision-centric and monitoring-centric. Do we need another way to categorize BPMS? Are these divisions all that meaningful, since the vendors all keep jostling for space in the segment that they think that the analysts are presenting as most critical? More importantly, Harmon sees that also the BPM suites vendors (those that combined process execution/automation with modelling, BAM, rules and all the other shiny things) are leading the market now, the platform vendors (IBM, Microsoft, etc.) will grow to dominate the market in years to come. I’m not sure that I agree with that unless those platform vendors seriously improve their offerings, which are currently disjointed and much less functional than the BPM suites.

Harmon’s slides will be available under OMG-BPM on the BPTrends site. There’s definitely some good stuff in here, particularly in the standards and practices that fit into each level of the pyramid.

Good thing that I’m blogging offline in Windows Live Writer, since the T-mobile connectivity keeps dropping, and isn’t smart enough to keep a cookie to stay logged in, but requires a new login each time that its crappy service cuts out. Posting may come in chunks since it will likely require me to dash out to the lobby to get a decent signal.