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Oracle BPM Roadmap Revealed

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As reported several weeks ago, Oracle is actively working on creating a unified BPM offering combining the strengths of its original BPM products, including Oracle BPM solution comprised of SOA Suite (in particular BPEL Process Manager) and BPA Suite (rebranded ARIS with a BPEL round tripping extension), and BEA’s AquaLogic BPM. Last month, at Oracle Open World, Oracle has solidified their BPM strategy and roadmap in the wake of the BEA acquisition aimed at unification the BPMS platform for releasing of its 11g application server next year :

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.

These solutions could be compared with IBM’s BPMS suite , which after more than a year from FileNet acquisition still has not completely integrate them together :

IBM BPM Suite ... includes both WebSphere and FileNet (with some Rational and Lotus, as well). Does that mean they’ve finally integrated the components? Not really. The new suite includes a choice of two foundational ‘Starter Sets’ that make it easier for customers to get started with BPM. One of those starter sets is WebSphere Modeler, Monitor, and Fabric (which includes parts of WID and Process Server). The other is FileNet. Other suite components, including the model repository (Rational Asset Manager), some Lotus collaboration stuff, a new Business Event Processing tool based on another recent acquisition, are labeled "extended value offerings".

Clearly IBM is interpreting the word "suite" to mean a portfolio rather than an integrated platform... One of my biggest complaints about the WebSphere BPM story has been the jarring discontinuity between Modeler and WID - different process metamodels, different data models, different programming models, no roundtripping

The analyst’s response to Oracle's announcement is that:

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.

With this plan Oracle is showing the right approach to the software acquisitions. BPM is progressing along the path of "interoperate, integrate, unify" which, according to Oracle, is its strategy with all of the acquisitions.

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