The held of Business Process Management (BPM) is marred by a seemingly end-
less sequence of (proposed) industry standards. Contrary to other fields (e.g.. civil
or electronic engineering), these standards are not the result of a v\ idelj supported
consolidation of well-understood and well-established concepts and practices. In the
BPM domain, it is frequently the case that BPM vendors opportunistically become
involved in the creation of proposed standards to exert or maintain their influence
and interests in the held. Despite the initial fervor associated with such standard iza-
tion activities, it is no less frequent that vendors either choose to drop their support
for standards that they earlier championed on an opportunistic basis or elect only to
partially support them in their commercial offerings.
Moreover, the results of the standardization processes themselves are a concern.
BPM standards tend to deal with complex concepts, yet they are never properly
defined and all-too-often not informed by established research. The result is a
plethora of languages and tools, with no consensus on concepts and their implemen-
tation. They also fail to provide clear direction in the way in which BPM standards
One can also observe a dichotomy between the "business" side of BPM and its
"technical" side. While it is clear that the application of BPM will fail if not placed
in a proper business context, it is equally clear that its application will go nowhere
if it remains merely a motivational exercise with schemas of business processes
hanging on the wall gathering dust.
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