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Peter Harrison
Peter Harrison

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BPEL not for People

In this video I examine the current approach to business process automation using BPEL, including it's variants. There are a number of issues.

Linear processes

Process instances once started follow a predetermined path, following a process diagram much the same way software follows a program. While this might make sense for predictable processes which have very little variability it does not suit real world processes which are unpredictable. In the real world data may be corrected and tasks that were completed run again. Human Tasks are limited to being treated like any other automated process. In my experience this results in aborted processes which cannot proceed.

Invariant process for a instance

In BPM systems once a process instance has begun with a specific process design there is no easy way to have the process instance begin to follow an updated design. For long running processes this might mean taking weeks to flush out old process instances or ending them in order to load them again.

Poor visibility

Process designs and diagrams are difficult to understand. They are useless for giving staff visibility of the process. BPM processes require developers to write their own user interfaces using BPM API rather than being able to be used out of the box.

Top comments (2)

banq profile image

BPEL is different with BPM, BPM is fit for human task

cheetah100 profile image
Peter Harrison

BPM is perhaps the more general term, but it no more a solution for seamless integration of humans and automation. Any time you pigeonhole humans into a specific narrow task you eliminate the primary strength of human beings, which is their ability to adapt to new circumstances.