IBM's 'Dynamic' BPM Edition

In IBM's BPM Suite, the default or foundational offering on the WebSphere side is something called WebSphere Dynamic Process Edition. Here the term 'dynamic process' isn't just the usual marketing doublespeak, but a fundamentally different way of modeling and executing processes, particularly customer-facing ones. It refers to the myriad of process variations that result from differences in the type of customer, channel of contact, date, time, and location, as well as details of the instance itself, such as the total value of an order, or special items in it. Pega talks about this a lot, and TIBCO does as well, but IBM is taking the dynamic process idea to another level.

The conventional BPM approach is to encapsulate the rules governing that variation in the process model itself, perhaps assisted by a business rule engine. IBM instead leverages a bit of core middleware called the WebSphere Business Services Fabric, formerly known as Webify. Fabric encapsulates all the variation in policies that specify the particular implementation, or endpoint, of an invoked business service, given the specific context and content of the particular process instance.

Instead of a tangle of diamonds and arrows, the process models are more like simple linear flows. Much of the process logic is invisible in the diagram, but whether you consider that an advantage or a drawback depends on the type of process you are modeling. WDPE is really oriented to core processes where the degree of variation makes conventional models unmaintainable. In fact, it works best with canonical industry processes where many of the building blocks of solution content can be prepackaged. Not surprisingly, IBM has done that in its key verticals.

If you want to find out more, check out my white paper on it, which registered BPMS Watch users can download for free.