Lombardi software

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  • Publicado : 20 de agosto de 2010
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What is the difference between Workflow Engines and BPM Suites?

Lombardi White Paper: What is the Difference between Workflow Engines and BPM Suites?

Table of Contents
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 3 The Workflow Solutions of the ’90’s................................................................................................ 3 Where Are We By the End of the ’90’s?.......................................................................................... 4 The Perfect Storm............................................................................................................................ 5 Enter BPM....................................................................................................................................... 6 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................... 8 About Lombardi ............................................................................................................................... 9

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LombardiWhite Paper: What is the Difference between Workflow Engines and BPM Suites?

Introduction
In the 1990’s, workflow vendors created quite a bit of confusion in the market when trying to define workflow and how it could best be utilized. Today, that situation is being replicated in the BPM industry. Ask 10 different vendors to define BPM or BPM suites, and you will likely get 10 variations of thedefinition, even though all vendors use the same basic terminology to explain it. Organizations need help sorting through this confusion in order to discover why a BPM suite is a different, and more important, application for process improvement.

The Workflow Solutions of the ’90’s
Let’s start with a little background. The workflow solutions introduced in the 90’s primarily consisted of an engineand a language. Many solutions also included some type of graphical modeling environment, albeit rudimentary. Only a few included a more robust, UML-based modeler; more likely it was a proprietary modeler. The modeler generated code, normally in the form of some proprietary workflow language, although there was some convergence around the main standards like WFML or XPDL. Both offer XML-basedprimitives in which process patterns are used to describe workflows. The engine interpreted the code and executed the workflows. Changes or de-bugging typically occurred in the code, as opposed to inside the modeler. At execution (run-time) many elements of managing tokens (representing tasks) were built into the engines, like queuing and prioritization. Therefore, the aspects of controlling aworkflow's behavior could be programmed more easily using these engines and tools, because the basic notions of what kinds of objects flow through a process — such as tasks, or tokens representing tasks — were built-in. These engines also looked at which resources were involved and consumed during the execution of these tasks. So concepts like organizations and/or systems were built-in and the enginekept track of things like ‘how many tasks are currently in user X’s inbox.’ Because these workflow systems primarily assisted the developer in areas where “tasks” were assigned, and “workflow patterns” defined the movement of those tasks, it made sense that most uses of these engines were in areas where other programming activities were minimized. That is, when developing automated solutions forprocesses where workflow and task handling were the primary requirements, workflow engines offered the highest leverage. For example, in imaging and document management systems, automating processes were not about

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Lombardi White Paper: What is the Difference between Workflow Engines and BPM Suites?

the business data flowing through the process because it was unstructured to begin with....
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