BPM Think Tank Day 1: ebBP (aka BPSS)

I’m in the BPM Think Tank pre-conference workshop on ebXML BPSS (Business Process Specification Schema), relabelled no less cryptically as ebBP (eBusiness Business Process, with the “specification schema” implied), presented by Sally St. Amand of the OASIS ebBP Technical Committee. St. Amand is obviously very knowledgable on the subject matter, but is a less-than-engaging speaker — call it the bureaucratic style of presentation, full of long pauses and paper shuffling.

According to the TC’s site:

The ebBP is a technical business process specification. It defines a standard language so that business systems can be configured to support the execution of business collaborations between partners or collaborating parties rather than the processing accomplished from the perspective of one business partner. The formal designation has been eBusiness eXtensible Markup Language (ebXML) Business Process Specification Schema (BPSS). It is more commonly known as ebBP (after the OASIS ebXML Business Process Technical Committee).

In other words, ebBP is an execution language for business collaboration between peers, like most eBusiness (and EDI) specifications before it, although it also allows for non-first-class participants (such as others in the supply chain) who may wish to observe the state of the process at certain points. In its basic format, it’s very similar to other XML-based eBusiness specifications that I’ve seen, usually from vendors; these vendor-provided specifications will hopefully migrate towards the ebBP standard as V2.0.X is adopted. The benefit of including observer participants became really obvious in a diagram of an eBusiness exchange that includes an observer: the message flow can include messages to the observer at any time, rather than just between the two main participants, although only the first-class participants can initiate the signals.

ebBP specifies the XML format, but does not include any graphical representation or modelling. There is an open source ebBP editor, which I’ve downloaded but haven’t tried out yet.

Working this into the general standards landscapte, ebBP is a choreography language for collaboration between different organizations, whereas BPEL is an orchestration language for processes that are controlled by one organization (although may execute across organizations).

At BPM Think Tank

Yesterday was a holiday in Canada, and on this long weekend we headed for the cottage as many Canadians do. After a weekend of dealing with a tractor that wouldn’t start, a clogged septic tank and a phone line that wouldn’t work amid projects such as putting in the docks and launching the boat, it was almost a relief to get up at a ridiculous hour this morning and get on a plane for Washington.

Here in Washington (Arlington, actually), I’m about to head off to the BPM Think Tank — watch for posts under the BPMThinkTank category over the next three days while I’m here. I’m also trying to finish up the Short History of BPM series, since JC is fast translating the previous ones into French.

If you’re at the think tank, look me up or drop an email/comment to setup a meeting.

BPM Think Tank

I’ve just registered for the OMG‘s BPM Think Tank in Washington DC on May 23-25. The program is mostly about standards, which is a big focus for me right now. It will be a chance to see some people who I’ve met before, such as Phil Gilbert and Derek Miers, and meet a few others for the first time face-to-face, such as Bruce Silver, Keith Swenson (who I heard speak at the Gartner BPM Summit) and John Evdemon (who was referred to me by Harry Pierson when I met him at Mashup Camp).

If you’re going, look me up. If you haven’t signed up yet, discount registration fees for the BPM Think Tank are still available until May 1st.

OMG gets full marks for including bloggers when they’re handing out press passes; my thanks to Dana Morris and Stephanie Covert for their forward-thinking press relations policies. I’ll be blogging more about the event before, during and after.

BPM Think Tank

I couldn’t make it down to Philadelphia this week for the AIIM conference, but if you’re there, consider dropping in for the BPM Think Tank task group sessions organized by BPMI that form part of the WfMC meetings.

After an initial think tank meeting in Miami in March, three working groups were formed: Execution, Modeling, and Education, and the latter two of these will be meeting this week. If you want to see what happened at the meetings in March and keep up to date on these joint meetings, check out the Specifications section of the BPMI.org forum (no registration required unless you want to post a comment). You might also find out something about that rumour of BPMI and WfMC merging.