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The Business Process Definition Metamodel (BPDM), is an XML-based proposal for business processes being developed by the Object Management Group (OMG). Pursuant to the OMG's policies, the metamodel is the result of an open process involving submissions by member organizations, following a Request for Proposals issued on January 31, 2003. Adoption of a metamodel specification is expected to happen some time in 2007.

According to the text of the RFP [1], BPDM "will define a set of abstract business process definition elements for specification of executable business processes that execute within an enterprise, and may collaborate between otherwise-independent business processes executing in different business units or enterprises."

"The specification developed in response to this RFP is expected to achieve the following:

  • A common metamodel to unify the diverse business process definition notations that exist in the industry containing semantics compatible with leading business process modeling notations.
  • A metamodel that complements existing UML metamodels so that business processes specifications can be part of complete system specifications to assure consistency and completenes.
  • The ability to integrate process models for workflow management processes, automated business processes, and collaborations between business units.
  • Support for the specification of web services choreography, describing the collaboration between participating entities and the ability to reconcile the choreography with supporting internal business processes.
  • The ability to exchange business process specifications between modeling tools, and between tools and execution environments using XMI.

Adoption of this specification will improve communication between modelers, including between business and software modelers, provide flexible selection of tools and execution environments, and promote the development of more specialized tools for the analysis and design of processes."

BPDM is often compared to the existing process interchange format XPDL. The two efforts are similar in that they could be used by process design tools to exchange business process definitions. There are two key differences: while both efforts use XML, BPDM is based on XMI, a format for exchange of programming models from the OMG. The second is that BPDM has not yet been ratified nor implemented at this time.

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