Last month, a group of large software technology companies produced the specification of how to better reflect human interaction in business software.
This move had been prompted by a white paper, produced jointly by IBM and SAP in 2005, which recognised that the existing enabling technology, called Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), was unable to deliver the human interaction requirements of the relationship. The new specification is an extension of BPEL - known as BPEL4People.
Commenting on this development, David Chassels, CEO of Procession, the developer of people/ task driven and goal directed software, said: “This is a step in the right direction but the core design of BPEL does not reflect well how people interact and how processes work in real life.”
In Chassels’ view, BPEL4People recognises that business process management (BPM) is a ‘production line’ for service delivery but that service is driven by human interaction and, at certain points, possibilities exist for such eventualities as:
• End users’ personal preferences on how to achieve the goal
• The multi-branching and asynchronous capability of the business process, with both tributaries and distributaries to and from the process
• Errors and exceptions arising at unknown points in the process
”According to convention, whatever their people do in their work should adhere to some rules and, today, proof that these rules are adhered to,” Chassels continued. ”The integrity of that data needs to be maintained although it is created in an unstructured arena.
“These may seem like conflicting requirements but, if software is to truly support business, this apparent conflict needs to be addressed,” Chassels added.
“The other major issue is to close the divide between ‘business’ and ‘IT’. The BPEL4People specification does little to give comfort in this respect.
“I believe that a complete rethink is required,” he said. “Trying to adapt old technology-driven thinking will just not deliver.
“This idea has driven Procession to pioneer focusing on putting people first and removing technology complexity to allow the business to regain control over its people and processes.
“It has taken over ten years R&D and working with early adopters to produce the key to how to achieve the seemingly impossible,” he revealed. “This has helped us to recognise that there are few task types that can handle any eventuality in business.
“By separating business logic from technology driven delivery mechanisms – the internet being the latest – we can deliver on all the required attributes as described. We build applications using a graphical interface that does not require an interpretation language such as BPEL or the compilation of code.
“There are a number of core design principles that have allowed us to achieve our objectives,” Chassels explained. “These include being data centric; developing a dynamically created user form recognising people roles task and data; having flexible linking capability that also allows time and rules to be recognised, and producing a simple intuitive graphical designer that allows business professionals to control the building of an application from ‘end to end’.
“Procession represents a challenging alternative to the mindset of the established giants of our industry,” claimed Chassels, “although Microsoft now appears to be following the core design philosophy and trying to patent it in the US. This could be a real ‘David and Goliath’ confrontation!”
Copies of Procession’s White Paper, ‘Is BPEL4People fit for purpose?’, are available on request from Procession on 00 44 (0) 1494 781444 or from david.chassels[.]procession.com
Procession is a UK-based and owned company that has developed original and innovative software in Task Orientated Applications (TOA). This TOA approach represents a dynamic alternative to pre-built and/or custom hard-coded applications. The unique approach, which recognises that there are less than 15 task types in any business activity, represents a paradigm shift in Business Software Development.
Procession has created an Integrated Application Development Environment with, at core, a process engine in a data centric and task oriented architecture, linked to a best in class database and forms development package. Where it differentiates is in the build process which focuses on people and their interaction with in its TOA applications to ensure efficiency, data integrity and quality. It is entirely function independent and can therefore be deployed in any business environment and can allow business analysts to build both simple or complex applications with IT in support.
In the words of market analysts the Butler Group, Procession's unique, user-friendly technology “removes the disconnect between requirement and implementation.” These TOA systems can be added to or modified easily, giving unrivalled ‘agility’. They can also provide management information in real-time to support dynamic Performance Management with guaranteed compliance, as required.
Further information from:
David Chassels, Procession: +44(0)1494 781 444; +44(0)7774 681773 (mobile)