Just found this excellent article by Phil Gilbert.
Key insight: "BPEL is orthogonal to the problem-space of managing business processes, and of becoming more process-centric as a business."
Can't argue with that.
I think the IBM toolset fits quite nicely into the world Phil describes. I'm often asked why we have a tool called WebSphere Business Modeler, which can generate BPEL and a separate tool called WebSphere Integration Developer, which can also generate BPEL.
Phil's article is probably the best explanation I've seen to date: BPM is not the same as BPEL. You can do a business process modeling exercise or implement a business process management project (or programme) without touching a single piece of runtime software. A tool (such as WebSphere Business Modeler) provides huge value in such situations (simple modeling environment, simulations, reports, team support, etc, etc).
But... if your analysis determines that some sort of automation is required then we do have a piece of runtime software for process automation (WebSphere Process Server) and yes... it executes BPEL. The tooling for this middleware is WebSphere Integration Developer.
Rather nicely, in Modeler you can identify the portions of a process that needs to be automated and push that down into Integration Developer, where the techies can wire it into the fabric of your enterprise. But, as Phil ably points out, BPM is far bigger than BPEL.