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May 16, 2011

BPM vendors respond to “disappointing” standards adoption claim

Some claim to support BPMN 2.0 today; OMG declines to comment

By Jason Stamper

Following CBR‘s story last week in which business process management guru and chair of standards group the Workflow Management Coalition, Jon Pyke said that support and take-up of the BPMN 2.0 standard has been "disappointing", a number of vendors replied to our request for comment. Some vendors claim to support BPMN version 2.0 today, while major vendors including IBM and Tibco say it is in their plans.

Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) is a graphical representation for specifying business processes in a business process model. It’s meant to provide a simple means of communicating process information to business users, process implementers, customers, and suppliers. It was developed by the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI), and is now maintained by the Object Management Group since the two organisations merged in 2005.

The beta specification of BPMN 2.0 was approved by OMG’s board in September 2009. It was ratified as a standard by OMG in January this year.

"There are lots of people pontificating about BPMN 2.0 but full support and take up has to be a big disappointment," Jon Pyke told CBR.

Standards body the OMG has since refuted the claim that adoption of BPMN has been disappointing.

Rourke McNamara, senior director of product marketing at Tibco conceded that while the firm does not yet support BPMN 2.0, "Currently Tibco Software supports BPMN 1.2 with full support for BPMN 2.0 in our statement of direction."

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A spokesperson for IBM meanwhile told CBR: "We currently provide full support for BPMN 1.1 (in Blueworks Live and IBM BPM 7.5). As far as BPMN 2.0, the standard is new and IBM helped to write the spec that became the standard. We will support it in the near future."

According to a Metastorm spokesperson, the BPM firm’s ProVision Software (enterprise modelling, business architecture, business process analysis suite) supports BPMN 2.0. They pointed us to the website which states: "Metastorm ProVision 6.2 includes support for recently updated standards including BPMN 2.0, XPDL 2.1, UML 2.1, and DoDAF 2.0. Metastorm’s ability to support multiple standard modelling notations and frameworks improves usability, interoperability and consistency."

Susan Ganeshan, Software AG chief portfolio officer, told us that the firm has, "Bet on BPMN as the standard way to communicate between business people and technologists about business process and the implementation of process oriented solutions." She said the firm has support for BPMN 2.0 in its BPA (ARIS) design products and in its BPMS (webMethods) products.

Ganesham added:

"I think its unfair to say the adoption is slow of BPMN 2 on the part of vendors. Customers are just now ready to use it, so vendors try to time their support when the market is ready to adopt it. Also keep in mind, going from BPMN 1.1 to BPMN 2.0 added significant changes. BPMN 2 added standardized orchestration and serialization making process models implementable with the consistent behaviour. Meaning the process behaviour intended by the business people is more sure to be implemented by IT. We are focused on keeping this collaboration between business experts and IT solutions. BPMN 2 is critical to that mission."

Finally John Everhard, technical director at Pegasystems, said: "PegaRules Process Commander includes a BPMN 2.0 process modelling Stencil that covers more than what is considered ‘core’ to BPMN. You can also design your own stencil and associate shapes to PRPC process functions." But he added: "Nobody has BPMN 100% covered, everyone has customized interpretations of BPMN 2.0."

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