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A look at the newest and best business process management tools

Business process management is a way to use software and other tools to document, map, execute, and monitor all the processes of a business or organization. Using Business process management software helps a business cope with changes in its processes, and also changes in personnel.

Business software has been evolving since the computer was first invented. Businesses have been able to use the computer and software to make manual processes automated and more accurate. The internet and browser technologies have changed the way everyone does business. Because new technologies have changed business processes so dramatically in recent years, it has become challenging for businesses to keep a grip on their processes and software applications. In order to manage the processes, software applications, and to measure the performance of these applications, business process management tools were created to help a business keep current with its processes and software without having to start over every time a software application becomes obsolete, or a piece of the process is no longer needed.

Business process management tools have not been around for very long. They require a significant investment in time and money before they begin paying dividends. Business processes are often very complex. The model for these processes sometimes doesn't exist anywhere but in the brains of the employees. But if a company is willing to invest the money in business process management software, model its processes, and build its applications around those models, it will find itself in a better position to compete in the marketplace and adapt to change.

What are some of the latest and most beneficial tools in the business process management industry?

- Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
This is a methodology of application development which uses the "black box" approach to applications. Each black box does not need to know what is inside the other black box. Each black box, or module, performs a service. There is a standardized for these service oriented modules to speak to each other. This type of application development is probably one of the main reasons why business process management has become as popular as it has.

- Business Process Execution Language (BPEL)
This is a high level programming language that is used to create a model of a business process. Once the model is in place, it can actually run as the application also! Instead of programming low level instructions such as creating a new record in the accounts table of a database, or looping through a file and sorting one of the columns, it works at a much higher process oriented level. The services provided by BPEL are rooted in web technologies.

- BPEL4People
This is an extension of the BPEL language. People, and not just software applications, are part of the process. This extension includes the human being as part of the process.

- XML Process Definition Language (XPDL)
This is a language used so that the black boxes described earlier can speak to each other. XML stands for Extended Markup Language, which is a language used to transmit data and data definitions in a single file. XPDL takes this to the next level, and standardizes the XML files for use in process management modeling modules. This language also has the ability to include graphics for visual representations.

These are just a few of the newest tools in business process management. There are several different products and vendors on the market who use these tools, and who would be more than willing to give you a demo.

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