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Subject: Defining Business Process Fusion

JC asked:

>Gartner is pushing "Business Process Fusion (BPF)" buzz, which I view as very synonymous to BPM. 
>What are the significant differences, if there are any? Or is BPF so vague that it is hard to figure out 
>what it really is about? Please comment. Thanks, 

Analysts justify their existence by creating new acronyms to a large degree. There is no law to
stop them doing this, but introducing BPF just as the industry had settled on BPM seems bizarre
to me. 

Business Process Fusion is one of three Gartner "BPM" themes:

Jim Sinur (a guy with rules background) has been most vocal about BPM, done serious research and 
defines BPM as a convergence of technologies such as workflow, rules, portal, EAI etc. 

David McCoy (a guy with integration background) was the BPM guy until Jim took over. David continued
to focus on integration/EAI solutions, and their evolution towards BPM. Jim's MQ (magic quadrant) and 
David's MQ have different vendors on them as a result. To distinguish, Jim called his "pure play BPM". 
In fact, on Jim's chart, many vendors there are far from pure play. Many are re-badged workflow or rules 
products for example. But all the vendor use the term BPM to varying degrees.

Simon Heyward is the process fusion guy. He's into ERP. So, SAP Netweaver, xapps, Oracle process
connect, Siebel UAN, etc, are, for him, attempts to go beyond current processes and digtize more and
more business. He uses the word fusion, I use the word consolidation. PLM is part of that, or any
large scale cross enterprise process. It's all about making more and more business digital, explicit,
not necessarily just to automate, but to manage, and improve, and learn. 

At the heart of this, and influencing all these different strategies, is BPMS. You can see the influence
of BPMS on the ERP guys, and on the EAI to BPM transition, and on the workflow to BPM transition. 
Each vendor is increasingly focussed on processes, with a different emphasis on different aspects of
the process lifecycle. BPMS is defined (by me at least) as a native and new technology that puts
process at the heart. Processes are as new as Objects were when we first heard about them. But
they work better than objects in my view in most respects. The significance is that without an abstract
data type to capture processes (in all their glory) and based on a firm foundation in theory, process
digitization, or fusion, or whatever we call it, cannot happen. This would be like different RDBMS vendors
having a different view of the relational model.

BPMI.org was established to define a model for BPM, process fusion, digitization, representation,
management, call it what you like. BPEL has got wrapped up in that work which BPMI was doing
under the BPML moniker. The BPML spec was the first part of our work to define that model. 



New Book - Business Process Management: The Third Wave

Howard Smith/CSC/BPMI.org
cell +44 7711 594 494 (operates worldwide, dial UK)
office +44 20 8660 1963 

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