Coming to Terms With BPM

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 03-01-2004
With business process management, figuring out what all the acronyms mean can be a real challenge. Here's a quick reference:

Business Process Management (BPM):
The definition, analysis and administration of business processes. BPM encompasses workflow, collaborative tools, application servers, development tools, rules engines and commerce applications. It is distinct from business process modeling, the subject of this month's Strategic Technology section. Think of business process modeling as lower-case bpm, and as one tool for improving BPM.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR):
A catchphrase made famous by Michael Hammer and James Champy in their 1993 book, Reengineering the Corporation, BPR refers to the radical redesign of an organization's processes to achieve massive measurable performance improvement. BPR should be "brought in," the authors caution, "only when a need exists for heavy blasting."

Business Activity Monitoring (BAM):
BAM tools let executives monitor business operations across the enterprise in real time.

Business Process Analysis (BPA):
The evaluation of business processes in order to improve them—to lower costs, speed time to market, mitigate risk and create greater efficiencies. BPA is what you do with data from BAM.

Business Process Modeling Language (BPML):
A metalanguage for the modeling of business processes, just as XML is a metalanguage for the modeling of business data.

Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN):
A standard graphical notation endorsed by the Business Process Management Initiative for modeling business processes. Currently, BPMN maps to BPML and BPEL4WS.

Business Process Management System (BPMS):
Endorsed by the Business Process Management Initiative, a BPMS serves the same purpose for process as a relational database management system does for data.

Business Process Query Language (BPQL):
BPQL is the standard interface for business process management systems. It allows system administrators to manage the BPMS and analyze the business processes it executes.

Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS):
BPEL4WS is another metalanguage, like BPML, but lends itself better to Web services, so a potentially greater number of parties can participate in implementing a newly modeled business process.

Source: Meta Group Inc.,, IBM Corp., Gartner Inc.