Born in the beginning of this millennium BPMN – Business Process Modeling and Notation – became the world wide standard for graphical process modeling in the last two years. The new Version 2.0 which will be released in near time begins to close the gap in the BPM Round-Trip Engineering. What has been missed so far? And why is it only the beginning?Let´s see.
BPMN has specified only the look & feel of all the elements to be used to document structured processes with pools, lanes, activities, events, sequence and message flows and such stuff, but not how to store them for interchange the models between applications of different vendors and different goals as there are modeling, analyses, simulation or execution.
Yes, there was an alternative to store the graphical models via XPDL – XML Process Definition Language – specified by the WfMC – Workflow Management Coalition. But sinc 2005 the OMG – Object Management Group – is the host of the BPMN specification (also hosting UML – Unified Modeling Language) and as one can be imagined there were some “friction loss”. And while XPDL is specified from the standpoint of human-centric workflows the group of the web-service orchestrationer, specifying the alternative BPEL – Busines Process Execution Language – to interchange – under the host-ship of OASIS, have missed necessary executions parts in the XPDL.
Now the new BPMN 2.0 comes with an own XML-based so named serialisation for storying the graphical model as well al of the executional attributes which are needid to a workflow or process engine during runtime. With this we have both aspects under one host: the organisational one to document processes in a professional way and the engineering one to let the process been executed. And all could be happy?
Not completely yet. When we saw that OMG was starting to specify an own serialisation (at that time based on the oversized BPDM) in the beginning of 2009, we decided to go for BPMN. We found Signavio as vendor of the BPMN 1.2 modeling tool who told us that they have started to implent the version 2.0 specification in that early stage. And now we are both ready to interchange the process models from Signavio Process Editor to SAPERION Workflow whithout enhancing the model for execution within SAPERION.
Now having the experience we see some missing attributes to reach all the necessary and helpful use cases. Therefore we had to enhance some element attributes within the Signavio Process Editor to support our workflow users with these helpful functionality. After all we see the need that some more human-centric workflow vendors should be part of OMG´s specification task. On the other hand the web service orchestration functionality seems to fit well.
Nevertheless, we showed our integration with the Signavio Editor to the participants during a workshop of our Workflow Community yesterday. All participants were happy about the new possibilites and are sure that this is the right way. Having a professional tool for process documentation and analyses which offers a powerful way to collaboratively model processes and to execute it with a mature workflow environment.
I have written the first requests for BPMN 2.1 and further ones will follow soon.
Addition from 24th Nov 2010:
With today we are listed on the OMG web-site showing the current supporters of BPMN. We are the only ECM vendor besides vendors of modeling tools or BPM Suites.
The list: OMG – BPMN Implementors And Quotes