BPEL will not survive, long live BPMN

Note: the article depicts my personal view on role of BPEL in evolution of SOA and BPM. 

BPEL is for Business Process Execution Language, one of approved OASIS standards almost 10 years ago. It was promising standard for executable business processes in process automation at that time. Now future of BPEL is under question.

BPEL is applicable for 2 areas: services composition (ESB) and process orchestration (BPM). For ESB, it is usualy easier to use either 3rd gen languages like Java or C#, or, use ESB capabilities which usually are not BPEL based. For instance, TIBCO ESB – BusinessWorks use proprietary modeling notation for ESB/SOA, and BPEL support is optional plugin. Oracle ESB supports BPEL, though it also may be implemented w/o BPEL. Read the rest of this entry »

IBM Impact 2012 – Final 2 days

This year I visit one of most promised enterprise IT conferences in Las Vegas – IBM Impact. There are my impressions and take-aways from world-wide IT industry hardware, software and IT consulting monster – IBM.

This is wrap up of final 2 days.

Business Process Optimization. Is always possible if you know your goals. The ways include task flow optimization (reduce round trips, cycles, collect more information from one task), task time optimization, end-to-end scenario optimization, optimization for throughput. The human services and automated services interfaces have huge difference and should be designed in different ways. For example, human service requires a lot of denormalized information to be passed, while automated activity need only valuable information for algorithm-based decisions. Big difference in error handling (for human service errors are passed to user, for automated should be handled via policy, with retries and recovering). Optimistic (human) vs. pessimistic locking (automated).  Response time – for human interfaces is critical for UX, for automated activities response may be longer, but throughput is more important.

Optimization could take place w/o automation, though automation enable new horizons such as better visibility onto task progress, no chance for task to be lost, process intelligence and activity monitoring. Without optimization measurement are very difficult if not impossible. Finally, 20% of optimization should be applied in green-field (before-production) and 80% using production process analytics (“brown field” optimization).

ECM and BPM integration. So far it works one-way: BPM interfaces may display list of documents or document internals as well as manipulate those documents via automated activities. Great news that common interfaces to ECM are standardized via CMIS standard, approved at May 2011 and currently supported by major vendors (Microsoft, Alfresco, IBM, Oracle). No process triggering from ECM (though it’s possible via just web service call).

BPM in Healthcare. Sample case study from Ottawa Hospital proved that healthcare processes could be dramatically optimized with  use of BPM and mobile iPad interfaces. But this require not just one project, but several-years mobility strategy. iPad is now one of the way to better engage doctor and patient via sharing info on the screen, but initially it got a lot of resistance from doctors who did not want to carry such bulk devices in their pockets (now pockets are bigger).

Oracle vs IBM – series of talks, on how IBM outperforms Oracle dramatically (Oracle claims same but vice versa). I personally believe that WLS vs. WAS is question of company expertise in any of these and available other products from one of companies. Regarding Exalogic and PureSystem – IBM PureSystem is just released, and Oracle will add same features soon, I believe. For BPM portfolio IBM outperforms Oracle, especially with new IBPM 8.5. But in DB space Oracle definitely rocks over DB2.

Mobile security – again confirmed that this is strong trend, much stronger than development of mobile apps (which is comodized already).

And generally, the event was great chance to network with tons of experts and IBM customers.

IBM Impact 2012 – Day 3

This year I visit one of most promised enterprise IT conferences in Las Vegas – IBM Impact. There are my impressions and take-aways from world-wide IT industry hardware, software and IT consulting monster – IBM.

Day 3 is more impacting then previous.

Keynote – social, extended enterprise, gamefication. From keynote interesting talks about bigsheets application, analysis of 900,000 tweets by student in 1 night, and awesome talk by Jane McGonigal about Gamefication – one of emerging trends of this century. 1.3 billion players of angry birds – what if this power could do something more than just kicking birds? Gaming produce positive emotions. Kids that play video games are 40% smarter (but are there side effects?). Mass thumb wrestling proves the point about positive emotions.

Read the rest of this entry »

IBM Impact 2012 – Day 2

This year I visit one of most promised enterprise IT conferences in Las Vegas – IBM Impact. There are my impressions and take-aways from world-wide IT industry hardware, software and IT consulting monster – IBM.

Day 2 impressed by MasterCard keynote, 130 msec average transaction time and other big numbers. Also cool video from MC about future of retail payments. Healthcare moving to mobility, as we all already know. Again, for BPM, Phil Gilbert performed excellent demo of new IBPM v8, and mentioned 700 people in R&D for IBPM and BPM as future for next 30-40 years (I guess, 20, then something new). What is good – that IBM takes care about UX and new UI looks much better. No long trees – instead stream, timeline and search. No awkward tables – instead lists and inline completion. Mobile App for generic purpose BPM and REST API for the rest (when you need custom UI and mobile features).

I took hands-on lab session for BPM and was surprised – it seem to be well designed. Simulation and debugging capabilities – what I miss a lot with Oracle.

Discovered that a lot of stuff is already published in redbook From Project to Program with IBM Business Process Manager. And a lot of presenters even used images from the book as slides. There is also 4-hours trial sandbox access for exercising.

Human interface development in IBPM reminded me lectures about ASP.NET, MVC and other stuff… Data objects, data binding, events, methods, variables – everything this remains, but with process orientation and enterprise scale. Good abstraction and multiple views to same model could really allow IT and business communicate via BPMN models.

BPM dream team – BPM Solution Architect, BA and developers (plus part-time PM and admin). Analytic role is lowered, and  good BPM software is produced in pairs of BA+DEV, facilitated by Solution Architect. Regarding if same people who do traditional software could do BPM project – they need to be business focused. Techie (deep technology geek), loner (works alone) or “yes man” are bad candidates for dream team (though could do further routine work).

There are 2.5 more days. Stay tuned.

IBM Impact 2012 – Day 1

This year I visit one of most promised enterprise IT conferences in Las Vegas – IBM Impact. There are my impressions and take-aways from world-wide IT industry hardware, software and IT consulting monster – IBM.

The Awesomes. 8,500 people around, one of most fabulous places in the world – The Venetian hotel & casino, and what is most important – majority (85%) of sessions are held by IBM customers – in form of case studies and best practices. Not many companies can do such format. Also good news are that there are no surprises – my experience with current IT trends and technologies was just confirmed and deeped.

The so-so good. Logistics could be better – for first time visitors simple hotel name is not enough. It took me almost 30 minutes to find conference registration in such a huge area. Second thing – visualization of presentation materials could be better – slides with tons of text remind me famous “death by powerpoint”.

Highlights and Take-aways. 

The major tagline that I like is “IT used to support business, now IT drives the business”. The keynote start by Walter Isaacson was impressive. Steve’s message “don’t be afraid, you can do it”. Einstein curiosity to compass and magnetic fields. Franklin and his passion in investigating Golfstream.

Next series of “case studies” was a little too-marketing. Whirlpool, Ireland Marine, Huntington National Bank, all speakers presented good stuff, but nothing to remember in particular. I respect 100-years old company Whirlpool and use their devices at home, but “made in US for americans” seem to be just to bring more customers. Interesting story from Bank about moving from Oracle WebLogic to IBM WebSphere on zLinux as 70% faster and more reliable. And new WebSphere uptime in 5 seconds and 50 mbytes footprint sounds awesome.

Then hardware 0- IBM PureSystem – reminds me of mainframe and “small people and big computer” times. The competitive solution to Oracle Exalogic and similar. Have SDK to develop “pure apps” and is more PaaS than pure IaaS. 4 hours to set up and run sounds great, but what is the chance that pre-configured apps fit enterprise needs? Read the rest of this entry »