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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

BPMN for Businesspeople, BPEL for Techs

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I usually don't delve too deeply into specific product reviews here at SOA in Action, but it's worth pointing to a post by Mark Nelson on the interplay between BPM and SOA methodologies and features that is supported in Oracle's most recent releases of SOA Suite/BPM Suite. 

Oracle has long been an enabler of BPM within SOA environments, and, in fact, Nelson points out that "Oracle BPM Suite sits right on top of the solid foundation provided by Oracle SOA Suite." Nelson cuts right to the heart of the matter:

"The strong BPM capabilities really complement the SOA foundation. It's hard to 'do BPM' well without SOA, and you could argue that SOA lacks a real purpose without BPM.  A lot of people who have tried to justify an investment in SOA have found it very difficult to build a successful business case without tying SOA to business driven BPM initiatives."

Nelson also helps clarify the roles of Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) and Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), both supported equally in the Oracle release. "You can freely mix and match, even within a single composite. (A composite is the deployment unit in an SCA environment.)"

BPEL is good for some process modeling projects, BPMN for others. Nelson provides some thoughts on where each fits best.


  • For process models coming from an IT background, e.g. developers or  architects
  • For processes that are really an 'integration' or a 'service,'
  • For lower level, more 'system'-oriented processes,


  • For process models to be shared with businesspeople, e.g. process participants, process owners or sponsors.
  • For process modelers coming from a business background, e.g. process analysts or business analysts.
  • For higher level,  more 'business'-oriented processes

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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