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Oracle 'Interoperates, Integrates and Unifies' Business Process Management

At Oracle Open World last week, industry analysts got a good look at Oracle's BPM strategy and roadmap in the wake of the BEA acquisition. Overall, my conclusion is Oracle is showing the rest of the world the right way to do software acquisitions. BPM is progressing along the path of "interoperate, integrate, unify" that Oracle claims it tries to follow with all of its acquisitions.
At Oracle Open World last week, industry analysts got a good look at Oracle's BPM strategy and roadmap in the wake of the BEA acquisition. Overall, my conclusion is Oracle is showing the rest of the world the right way to do software acquisitions. BPM is progressing along the path of "interoperate, integrate, unify" that Oracle claims it tries to follow with all of its acquisitions.

Before the BEA deal there was the Oracle BPM solution comprised of SOA Suite (in particular BPEL Process Manager) and BPA Suite (rebranded ARIS with a BPEL roundtripping extension), and there was BEA's AquaLogic BPM. For details on those, see my BPMS Report series on BPMInstitute.org. Now there is the Oracle BPM Suite, which includes both Oracle BPM (rebranded from ALBPM) and BPEL PM. They "interoperate" in the sense that each can call the other as a subprocess. (Not a big deal, but Oracle did this in 100 days whereas WebSphere-FileNet took a year.) BPA Suite is still there, but more off to the side where it belongs; Oracle now calls it "enterprise modeling."More interesting is the plan for release 11g next year: unification of the BPMS platform. The BPM Suite offering gives you both BPEL PM and Oracle BPM. They have different design environments but common runtime engine. The executable design language for one is BPEL 2.0 and for the other is BPMN 2.0 (ported from XPDL). BPM Studio (i.e. the ALBPM design environment, fully BPMN-based) will run in JDeveloper (along with BPEL Process Designer), and JDev will be extended to support separate business and IT perspectives. Both BPM and BPEL PM will use the same human task service, based on WS-HumanTask and BPEL4People, and the same rule designer and engine (from SOA Suite). **** At this point the two offerings become alternative design styles for a single BPM platform. Besides human tasks and rules, they will also share a common process portal, which adds ALBPM Collaboration Edition Components to a Web 2.0 framework built on Oracle WebCenter; common BAM/BI layer; common BPM Server built on SCA, WebLogic Server, JRockit JVM, Oracle Application Grid, and Coherence distributed caching; and Enterprise Manager, a unified management console for all runtime components. One more thing we can't forget is BPM Studio integration with an Enterprise Repository, which automatically creates dependency maps for all modeling/design components checked in. All of this is promised (subject to the usual lawyered-up safe harbor disclaimers) for this time next year.

And I forgot to mention that, like all Oracle products, the design tools and development runtime are free. There is no license key; you just download the software and go.

Okay, it's still a year off. But while IBM and TIBCO have been making slow and steady progress in unifying their respective BPMS offerings, Oracle's plans leave them both in the dust from both a scope and speed standpoint.At Oracle Open World last week, industry analysts got a good look at Oracle's BPM strategy and roadmap in the wake of the BEA acquisition. Overall, my conclusion is Oracle is showing the rest of the world the right way to do software acquisitions. BPM is progressing along the path of "interoperate, integrate, unify" that Oracle claims it tries to follow with all of its acquisitions.

Editor's Choice
Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer