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Artificial Intelligence Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White

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BPMI TT 08: CEP augmenting BPMS for agility

… was the catchy snappy hip punchy title of our contribution to this year’s BPMI (aka OMG) Think Tank 2008’s RoundTable sessions. These are used to get feedback from end-users, consultants and indeed other vendors on a variety of issues - which in this case was the role of Complex Event Processing and business events in BPM (aka BPMN models).

For a warm-up, Jim Sinur (Gartner) gave a keynote covering “The Economics of Business Process”, explaining that businesses should expect to invest in BPM in a down-economy as they have even more to gain than in an up-economy. More to the point, he expanded on the need to augment conventional BPM with things like decision management, rule-driven processes, complex event processing, and maybe even “scenario management” (which could mean any of case management, case-based reasoning, or test case generation - it wasn’t clear). In particular Jim mentioned:

  • the role of complex events combined with AI techniques to improve decisions
  • rules will need to “surround” process, not just be invoked from decision tasks

Jim was a good segue into the CEP-BPMS roundtable, whose participants included a large insurance company, a DOD supplier, a government agency, the co-creator of the BPMN modeling standard, and some curious fellow (BPM and EA) vendors.

CEP-Human EP-Conventional EP

Firstly, and not surprisingly, none of the participants disputed the value of CEP to business processes.  There were a few different areas of CEP-BPM focus that were discussed:

  • CEP providing a generic business-logic container for cross-process / cross-BPMS / cross-abstraction-level, system+process monitoring (a bit like TIBCO SPM provides, but more general)
  • CEP was another reason for standardizing the enterprise view of events and event patterns alongside processes - as BPMN events provide a very process / task-oriented view of an event, which may have a totally different meaning in some other process (see also the OMG EMP effort for event metamodels, which hopefully EPTS will have an input to)
  • Agility was provided by the CEP elements (like state models, declarative inference rules) being “easier to maintain” than (some) large process flows, as well as the fact that event-driven decisions are more useful in real-time scenarios where high responsiveness is required
  • The use of rules, queries, states, alongside or augmenting process flows overlaps with “knowledge representation / management” (which is an interesting thought)
  • CEP also had a BAM-type role to play in business process control and oversight: one participant used the terms “issue prevention, detection and correction”, which is a neat description.

The slides for the session (roundtable intro and feedback) are available in the file BPMI_EPandPRoundtableResults1008.pdf .

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