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Easy Exchange of Process Models Between Tools

Blog: Mark McGregor's Process Performance Blog

For years now one of the great challenges faced by those using a process modeling tool is how to exchange data. With the advent of BPEL and XPDL the sharing of model data with execution tools became easier. Although as many of those who have tried to use such an exchange will tell you, things are far from being “standard”

At the other end of the spectrum has been the issue of how can I share models between users of different modelling tools? Perhaps you want to upgrade from one toolset to another or maybe you use a number of different tools and want to try and synchronise data.

Some years ago a small UK based vendor called “Software One” created a product called “Exchange” to address the problem. They created a hub and spoke system that would allow you to exchange and share information between modelling tools. The company was bought by Oracle in the late 1990’s and the product seemed to disappear from view.

I am pleased to be able to share with you that there is now another similar solution. The product BPM-X has been developed by a small but growing German software vendor by the name of Transware.

BPM-X appears to be quite an elegant solution, and they have already demonstrated the sharing of information between major modelling tools such as Casewise, MEGA, IDS Scheer and Provision. Additionally the pattern based transformation engine will also help with the transformations required for execution tools such as Tibco.

The BPM-X solution does not just help with process models, it can be used for other data, for example one of the mappings they illustrate is between MEGA and Visual Studio for UML transformations.

“With many organisations making greater use of BPMN we were getting many requests from clients who wanted a way to move from vendor based notation to standard notation, having researched the market we established that while there were many point to point approaches, there was no common approach. Hence we created BPM-X to help address such conversions. By taking a pattern based approach we were able to create a toolset that has great flexibility, but can also handle the many customisations made by some of the specialist tool vendors.” Heinz-Jurgen Scherer, CEO of Transware told me. He went on to say “With the growth in interest around BPMN the situation of sharing and transforming data between and across tools is now critical and Transware believes that the ability to exchange information easily will help to drive increased adoption of BPMS tools, while potentially reducing costs and speeding the implementation time for solutions.

I certainly agree with Heinz-Jurgen that the ability to free themselves from any vendor lock down will appeal to many organisations. I also think that sometimes people under estimate how many different tools are in use in large organisations today. With increased focus on risk and governance, the ability to potentially share information and create a master version of the single source of truth has to be a good thing.

Transware has published a white paper that explains more about the method behind the product and details of how effective transformations can be achieved. The can access the paper by following the link http://bit.ly/mY80Pb

Personally I think that Transware are really on to something here, there has been a gap in the market for a good transformation tool for sometime. My understanding is that to date they have been generating a lot of interest.

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