One of the surprising (and for me, interesting) sessions at DEBS 2011 was the edBPM section – where event processing collides with business process management (or business processes, anyway). While much of the BPM world concentrates on workflow-oriented BPM (supported with automated services), there are several interesting areas (or extensions) such as “dynamic BPM” (any type of business process not explicitly pre-defined as an orchestrated process) or “case management” (handling cases with processes as well as plans and rules), through to “adaptive case management” (some superset of the two).
At DEBS, IBM’s Rick Hull presented on “Business Entities with Guard-Stage-Milestone Lifecycles: Managing Entity Interactions with Conditions and Events” (a good attempt at summarising the contents of the paper within the title!). This was directly related to the OMG Case Management standard submission mentioned last month… and amazingly well-aligned with TIBCO’s current deployments of the Advanced Fulfillment Framework (using CEP, BPM and decision management). The only main difference was that IBM had reworked the concept of state models (which is where guard-stage-milestone lifecycles – GSMLs? – come into play) to allow for things like more dynamic state transitions; in reality state models can be extended to handle such requirements but nonetheless UML could well benefit from some attention here.
On reflection, the IBM models presented at DEBS would make ideal extensions to BPMN. Most vendors are no doubt still digesting BPMN2; but do not be surprised if something like TIBCO AFF or IBM GSMLs get absorbed into a future BPMN (notation) standard!