BPMN, which stands for Business Process Model and Notation, is a standard for creating process models and was created in the first decade of the 21st century by a consortium of industry-leading companies such as SAP, Oracle or IDS Scheer. The standard is currently managed by the Object Management Group (OMG) and the latest version of the standard (2.0) is in its final review phases to be published later this year/in early 2011.
When you follow the discussion in the blogosphere about this standard nowadays, it seems that BPMN is the cure for all diseases that the other competing standards seem to have, most notably the Value-Added Chain Diagramming (with its flavor of Value Stream Mapping), EPC (Event Driven Process Chain), SIPOC (Supplier Input Process Output Customer; a popular 6 Sigma model), IDEF (Integration DEFinition), or UML (Unified Modeling Language, also a standard maintained by OMG) and others. In addition to that – if you believe the hype around the notation that is published by pure-BPMN start-ups, BPM Suite vendors, training providers and others – it also allows you to seamlessly exchange models between different modeling tools and execute (read: orchestrate a work flow) in different BPM Suites without the need to modify anything in a process model or to write code. A beautiful world, isn’t it?
Unfortunately that is not the reality and -IMHO- will not be the reality in the near future. It is time to have a deeper look into the BPMN standard and what it aims to be and how this will be realized in a modeling and execution environment using Software AG’s ARIS and webMethods stack.
This is the first article of a loose series that covers the scope of BPMN and its history, the different elements of the notation and how to use them, as well as a short look at how this is implemented in ARIS and is used in a ”Model to Execution” scenario. This series it complimentary to other articles on ARIS Community, most notably Sascha Schneider‘s excellent posts and screencasts about the BPMN 2.0 implementation in ARIS 7.1.