Is Oracle Discovering BPM?

[Originally posted on IT|Redux]

Edwin Khodabakchian, the brains behind Oracle BPEL Process Manager, posts on a set of possible ?BPEL enhancements? suggested to him by Oracle?s application groups ? eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel? They include:

1. Business Process Outline ? ?Enable business analysts to build the skeleton of a business process, skeleton which can be then implemented by an application composer. The outline view also offers a foundation for self-documenting business process and audit trails.? Imagine that!

2. Business Events ? Allow the process to raise events processed by external apps and to subscribe to events raised by apps, providing ?the glue between business activities and the foundation for realtime analytics.? He proposes a new event language standard, not mentioning the fact that IBM has proposed one already (apparently without unanimous support) and uses it in its own BPM/BAM integration.

3. Variable Entity Binding ? When BPEL is used not in an integration context but within an enterprise app, persist BPEL variables automatically in that application.

To my mind, those innovations sound suspiciously like what BPM calls process modeling, BAM, and embedded application workflow ? assumed ?must-haves? in the BPM world but exotic enhancements to the BPEL mainstream. But unlike IBM (and now BEA), Oracle is not trying to appeal to BPM buyers or industry analysts, just better support Oracle?s own apps. They?ll figure it out eventually.