April 27th marked the release of the Oracle BPM platform, which is, I believe, a bit more revolutionary than evolutionary for this space. I wanted to quickly copy some feedback from one of our partners (Hajo Normann - a SOA expert and ACE director - to give a feel for exactly what is differentiating about this product:
"“I just attended a preview workshop on BPM Studio, Oracle's BPMN 2.0 tool, held by Clemens Utschig Utschig from Oracle HQ. The usability and ease to get started are impressive. In the business view analysts can intuitively start modeling, then developers refine in their own, more technical view. The BPM Studio sets itself apart from pure play BPMN 2.0 tools by being seamlessly integrated inside a holistic SOA / BPM toolset: BPMN models are placed in SCA-Composites in SOA Suite 11g. This allows to abstract away the complexities of SOA integration aspects from business process aspects. For UIs in BPMN tasks, you have the richness of ADF 11g based Frontends. With BPM Studio we architects have a new modeling and development IDE that gives us interesting design challenges to grasp and elaborate, since many things BPMN 2.0 are different from good ol' BPEL. For example, for simple transformations, you don't use BPEL "assign" any more, but add the transformation directly to the service call. There is much less XPath involved. And, there is no translation from model to BPEL code anymore, so the awkward process model to BPEL roundtrip, which never really worked as well as it looked on marketing slides, is obsolete: With BPMN 2.0 "the model is the code". Now, these are great times to start the journey into BPM! Some tips: Start Projects smoothly, with initial processes being not overly complex and not using the more esoteric areas of BPMN, to manage the learning path and to stay successful with each iteration. Verify non functional requirements by conducting performance and load tests early. As mentioned above, separate all technical integration logic into SOA Suite or Oracle Service Bus. And - share your experience!” "
The eternal problem with BPM has been the disconnect between business-user ease of use and the technological bridge to interface with real systems. Oracle's new BPM release starts to remove this barrier and is in many ways the first product set in the market to provide a truly integrated system for automating core business processes across human-centered workflows and IT systems.