Part 1 of this series introduces the concept of business entities as a means of representing the business view of data. It proposes two new standards, the Business Entity Definition Language (BEDL) and BPEL4Data for the holistic design and execution of process with Business Entities.
The specification and deployment of business processes and operations is crucial to the successful management of medium or large-scale enterprises. In most business process management tool suites, data is treated mostly as an afterthought. Activities and their flows are the main abstractions and the data manipulated by the processes is essentially hidden in process variables. The presentation and aggregation of data is handled outside of the process definition, and implemented through generic service calls. This process-only approach ignores the important data perspective during business operation analysis, often obscures key aspects of the operations, and can lead to costly re-factoring throughout the solution lifecycle.
In this article series, experts from IBM lay out a technical vision and approach for how data can be represented and specified in a first-class way for BPM applications. In this series, to be published over the next several months, the authors will present various facets of this vision, including:
- Proposing new specification standards and positioning them with existing standards like WS-BPEL and BPMN.
- Presenting process modeling use cases and scenarios enabled by this new architecture.
- Providing ideas for implementing the architecture with the IBM BPM stack.
Part 1 of this series introduces the concept of Business Entities as a means of representing the business view of data. It proposes two new standards, the Business Entity Definition Language (BEDL) and BPEL4Data, an extension to WS-BPEL for the holistic design and execution of process with Business Entities. Part 1 covers BEDL in detail.
Part 2 will cover the BPEL4Data language elements in depth, and discuss the architecture that brings together the BPEL family of languages (WS-BPEL, WS-HumanTask) with BEDL in execution scenarios.
Part 3 will cover process modeling scenarios and patterns with Business Entities using Websphere Business Modeler notations and semantics, and will use a complex scenario to demonstrate the modeling patterns.
In Part 4 we'll turn to the execution side and cover how the holistic model of processes and Business Entities extends design-to-deploy with additional semantics for a richer interactive process design experience.
Overview of Part 1, Introducing Business Entities and the Business Entity Definition Language (BEDL)
Over the past decade, a new approach to business process and operations modeling has emerged that is based on business entities. Business Entities (BEs) are key business-relevant dynamic conceptual objects that are created, evolved, and (typically) archived as they pass through the operations of an enterprise. A Business Entity includes both an information model for data about the business objects during their lifetime, and a lifecycle model, which describes the possible ways and timings that tasks can be invoked and performed on these objects.
Business Entities provide a new basis for specifying business operations that combines data and process at a fundamental level. While the approach has proven successful in several contexts, its application has taken the approach of creating a business entity layer on top of existing SOA and middleware tools. In contrast, this article introduces a way to take advantage of the business entity approach while still using and building upon standards such as WS-BPEL and BPMN. This enables the use of business entities in conjunction with the large industrial investment in, and vast embedded base of, tooling for these process-centric approaches.
Get the complete article in PDF format in the Downloads section.
|Article in PDF format||1004_nandi.pdf||866KB|
|Sample schema files and BEDL||sample.zip||3KB|