Business Process Definition Metamodel

Business Process Definition Metamodel

The Business Process Definition Metamodel (BPDM) is astandard definition of concepts used to express business processmodels (a metamodel), adopted by the OMG(Object Management Group). Metamodels define concepts,relationships, and semantics for exchange of user models betweendifferent modeling tools. The exchange format is defined by XSD(XML Schema) and XMI (XML for Metadata Interchange), a specificationfor transformation of OMG metamodels to XML. Pursuant to the OMG'spolicies, the metamodel is the result of an open process involvingsubmissions by member organizations, following a [http://www.omg.org/cgi-bin/doc?bei/03-01-06 Request for Proposal] (RFP)issued in 2003. BPDM was adopted in initial form in July 2007, andfinalized in July 2008.

BPDM provides abstract concepts as the basis for consistentinterpretation of specialized concepts used by business processmodelers. For example, the ordering of many of the graphical elements ina BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) diagram is depicted byarrows between those elements, but the specific elements can have avariety of characteristics. For example, all BPMN events have somecommon characteristics, and a variety of specific events are designatedby the type of circle and the icon in the circle. The abstract BPDMconcepts ensure implementers of different modeling tools will associatethe same characteristics and semantics with the modeling elements toensure models are interpreted the same way when moved to a differenttool. Users of the modeling tools do not need to be concerned with theabstractions-they only see the specialized elements.

BPDM extends business process modeling beyond the elements defined byBPMN and BPEL to include interactions between otherwise-independentbusiness processes executing in different business units or enterprises(choreography). A choreography can be specified independently of itsparticipants, and used as a requirement for the specification of theorchestration implemented by a participant. BPDM provides for thebinding of orchestration to choreography to ensure compatibility. Manycurrent business process models focus on specification of executablebusiness processes that execute within an enterprise (orchestration).

The BPDM specification addresses the objectives of the OMG [http://www.omg.org/cgi-bin/doc?bei/03-01-06 RFP] on which it is based:

*BPDM "will define a set of abstract business process definition elements for specification of executable business processes that execute within an enterprise, and may collaborate between otherwise-independent business processes executing in different business units or enterprises."
*common metamodel to unify the diverse business process definition notations that exist in the industry containing semantics compatible with leading business process modeling notations.
*A metamodel that complements existing UML metamodels so that business processes specifications can be part of complete system specifications to assure consistency and completenes.
*The ability to integrate process models for workflow management processes, automated business processes, and collaborations between business units.
*Support for the specification of web services choreography, describing the collaboration between participating entities and the ability to reconcile the choreography with supporting internal business processes.
*The ability to exchange business process specifications between modeling tools, and between tools and execution environments using XMI.

The RFP seeks to "improve communication between modelers, includingbetween business and software modelers, provide flexible selection oftools and execution environments, and promote the development of morespecialized tools for the analysis and design of processes."

For exchange of business process models, BPDM is an alternative to theexisting process interchange format XPDL (XML Process DefinitionLanguage) from the WfMC (WorkflowManagement Coalition). The two specifications are similar in that theycan be used by process design tools to exchange business processdefinitions. They are different in that BPDM provides a specificationof semantics integrated in a metamodel, and it includes additionalmodeling capabilities such as choreography, discussed above. Inaddition, XPDL has many implementations, though only some support forXPDL 2.x, needed for interchanging BPMN. BPDM implementations are inpreparation, including support for BPMN, and translation to XPDL.

External links

* [http://doc.omg.org/omg/08-06-32 BPDM Tutorial]
* [http://doc.omg.org/bmi/08-09-07 Design Rationale] (see Section 4, also Sections 7.6 and 7.9).
* [http://www.conradbock.org/#BPDM Other introductory presentations]
* [ftp://ftp.omg.org/pub/docs/dtc/08-05-11/pages/188c21b53f42002f.htm Web pages showing metamodels] in UML notation
*Specification documents, in two parts:
** [http://doc.omg.org/dtc/08-05-07 Common Infrastructure] (see Section 4.4.1.1 for an overview of metamodeling).
** [http://doc.omg.org/dtc/08-05-10 Process Definition] .


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