Call for Papers

Cutter IT Journal
Bartosz Kiepuszewski, Guest Editor
Abstract Submission Date: 23 August 2007
Articles Due: 25 September 2007

“Business Process Management: A Broken Promise or the Building Blocks of Modern Enterprise Architecture?”

Business process management (BPM) is a concept that has been alive in the IT world for many years under various names and labels. I will not even attempt to precisely define it, for — similar to many vague IT concepts belonging more in marketing than engineering — a clear and crisp definition is hard to come by. However, the ability to graphically define a business process and then automate it, or to use a computer to execute it with little or no extra programming required, has been with us for years.

In the client-server era of the 1990s, BPM tools were called workflow management systems. The main vendors from this era — FileNet, Staffware, IBM and many others — provided us with so-called workflow engines that, based on a process definition, routed work between process participants, be they human actors or computer machines. Back then, the Workflow Management Coalition was formed with the aim of standardizing the architecture and interfaces of typical workflow systems. The tide then shifted toward enterprise architectures, and problems related to enterprise architecture integration (EAI) in particular. As automatic management of business processes was seen as one of the cornerstones of advanced EAI solutions, we saw leading EAI vendors putting BPM engines on top of their EAI suites. One of the ways many EAI vendors attempted to fill the void in their EAI suite was actually to acquire the former workflow vendor.

Today’s advanced EA concepts revolve around the idea of service-oriented architecture (SOA). Not surprisingly, BPM again is seen as an important (or, perhaps fundamental) building block of SOA. Since SOA — much more than former EAI attempts — focuses on standards, we have witnessed a “BPM standards war” with Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) emerging as a clear winner.

Since I started working on BPM-related issues back in mid-1990s, one thing has not changed — the marketing hype. Business users are led to believe that they can effortlessly, without IT intervention, change business processes on the fly and that they will be able to quickly assemble new business processes from predefined “building blocks” as their business changes.

This however, is not the case. From a theoretical point of view, business process management is, to put it simply, tough. To name a few problems, we still don’t seem to agree on a theoretical foundation for BPM, there are very complex issues associated with transaction management of long-running processes, and modeling languages lack the formal semantics necessary for easy interoperability. Is the BPM hype justified, or have we not made much progress from its inception in the last decade?

The November 2007 Cutter IT Journal invites useful and thoughtful debate on the issues surrounding the current state of business process management and the challenges facing organizations in their attempts to implement BPM strategies.

TOPICS OF INTEREST MAY INCLUDE (but are certainly not limited to) one or a combination of the following:

  • Is BPM only marketing hype or can it realistically automate business processes?
  • What are the current challenges in implementing BPM and how can organizations overcome these challenges?
  • What are the different BPM tools available in the marketplace and what is their role in a modern IT infrastructure?
  • How does an enterprise determine what tool is appropriate and how it should be implemented?
  • How can organizations go about managing the process of process management?
  • Describe case studies of successful and/or failed BPM deployments.
  • What are the current best practices related to BPM in SOA projects?
  • Are there any roadmaps or guidelines for organizational deployment of BPM-related standards such as BPEL, XPDL, WS-CDL, and so on?
  • What can organizations realistically expect from a BPM solution?
  • What should IT’s role be in determining how a BPM strategy is selected, implemented, and maintained?
  • What role should business play in a BPM strategy, and how are differences that arise between IT and the business to be resolved?


Please respond to Bartosz Kiepuszewski, bkiepuszewski [at]cutter[dot]com, with a copy to itjournal[at]cutter[dot]com, no later than 23 August 2007, and include an extended abstract and a short article outline showing major discussion points.

Articles are due on 25 September 2007

Most Cutter IT Journal articles are approximately 2,500-3,500 words long, plus whatever graphics are appropriate. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact CITJ’s Group Publisher, Christine Generali, at cgenerali[at]cutter[dot]com or the Guest Editor, Bartosz Kiepuszewski, at bkiepuszewski [at]cutter[dot]com. Editorial guidelines are available here.

3 Responses to “CfP: Cutter IT Journal Special Issue on BPM”
  1. BPM Research » Management by Magazine says:

    [...] – broken promises or building blocks of modern EA, edited by Bartek Kiepuszewski, which I re-posted here. What piqued my interest was how the call was phrased. There are two items that I don’t [...]

  2. Hara says:

    I never ever post but this time I will,Thanks alot for the great blog.

  3. Usdating says:

    There’s some great tips there, just blogged about it too!

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