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I am currently at the 11th Business Information Systems (BIS) conference in Innsbruck, Austria. Innsbruck is a small town in the middle of the European Alps surrounded by massive mountains of more than 2.500m. It is a nice scenery for such a conference. The BIS conference is one of the leading international events for scientific work on business process management (BPM), enterprise modelling and architecture (EA), and service oriented architectures (SOA).

The conference is hosted by the University of Innsbruck, Austria and organised by Poznan University of Economics, Poland. Each conference day is introduced by different keynote speakers. For example, on the first day Prof. Buhl of University of Augsburg, Germany presented an interesting overview of the current state of service science in Europe and the US. Both research communities are not integrated, so he intends to provide an international platform for exchanging research and practical insights. This platform will arise from the very successful German magazine Wirtschaftsinformatik.

Prof. Ciravegna of University of Sheffield, UK presented a new approach to boost knowledge management. In the background, he uses semantic technologies to help engineering companies like Fiat and Airbus to handle all artefacts created during the product lifecycle. However, the background technologies are not exposed to the end users, but instead hidden. Such pragmatic approaches will help to speed up the adoption of advanced technologies while helping business people to make sense of the ever growing pile of information.

Prof. Leymann of University of Stuttgart, Germany gave a visionary outlook on cloud computing and software as a service. He is one of the fathers of the BPEL language and he showed in his keynote how the different standards of the so called WS-* stack build on each other to finally enable cloud computing. Even if only a small part of his vision comes true, we are heading into amazing times with unbelievable possibilities for business process automation.

Several research papers and best practices reports were presented besides the keynotes. There are too many to report on them. Many works are focusing on simplifying the implementation of business processes by adding flexibility and having more intelligent execution environments. Also, work on acquiring knowledge from executed business processes but also from enterprise models were presented. Some of the works presented originated from the European research project SUPER, which is investigating the use of semantic technologies in context of business process management. IDS also presented work towards this vision of having more flexible and meaningful enterprise models.

Judging from the conference, we can say that business process management and related fields is a very hot research area. We are seeing many new ideas coming up, which will help to make business process management more efficient in the long run. It will be interesting to see if all the different ideas can be really implemented in real-world projects and tools. So we at IDS will follow the developments closely.

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Tags: soa BPM