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03/08/2005

Software's Top 10 2005 Trends: #7 BPEL

Business Process Workflow Execution Language for Web Services (or BPEL for short) is hot.  BPEL is a XML-based standard for orchestrating business processes within and between enterprises.  BPEL is hot because companies increasingly realize that in order to take advantage of their emerging web services they must find a way to integrate a number of services into a cohesive business process flow.

Last year saw some significant activity on the BPEL front with Oracle acquiring BPEL pioneer Collaxa and with other companies such as IBM and BEA announcing deep integration of BPEL into their core Application server platforms.  There were even several open source BPEL servers announced such as ActiveBPEL and Twister.  Now that the infrastructure is in place, this year should start to see some major BPEL deployments and greater use of BPEL to orchestrate business processes between enterprises.

As BPEL matures there’s a real possibility that more and more of its functionality will be embedded directly into the actual BPEL messages making it possible for trading partners to amend workflows “on the fly” and bringing greater transparency to inter-enterprise process flows in general.  In this way a BPEL message becomes a self-contained executable business process thus turning a message into software.

For VCs, BPEL presents some interesting challenges and opportunities.  In terms of challenges, standards-based BPEL servers threaten to overwhelm proprietary business-process EAI platforms.   On the opportunity front, while the opportunity to fund core BPEL servers has passed, there may be opportunities to fund both high level and low level BPEL deals.  At a high level, BPEL servers that are customized to meet the needs of a particular industry, such as insurance or manufacturing, may present interesting investment opportunities, while at a low level BPEL gateways or routers that quickly process and transform messages may also be attractive.

For a complete list of Software's Top 10 2005 trends click here.

March 8, 2005 in EAI | Permalink

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