As a management philosophy, BPM is about documenting, analyzing and measuring business activities as end-to-end processes that spread over several operational units. As software, BPM technology models recurring processes -- wherever they might lead within an organization -- and then automates their flow and execution.
I understand the confusion. It doesn't help that the acronym "BPM" happens to stand for another, entirely separate technological and business discipline -- business performance management. But fear not. We can also help you clear up that distinction as well.
Finally, one last bit of news for everyone whose curiosity was piqued by our recent Visual Tour of the December pre-beta 2 release of the Windows Vista operating system: Microsoft debuted a test version of its GUI-design tool for apps built to run on the OS. You can go here for more information, including a link for getting a download of the preview version.