Thursday, January 08, 2004

Bruno: It's kind of odd, because my top concern is not technology. Symbol is involved in a very comprehensive business-transformation exercise that touches every part of our business, including the supply chain, the front-end systems, the back-end reporting. A transformation that is that deep and that wide, and that touches every process, provides many opportunities to align processes with technology.

Symbol Technologies CIO John Bruno Reveals Best-Kept Corporate Secret [source CIOToday]
What drives improvements in business process management? Don't look for corporate governance at the top of the list -- it's closer to the bottom. Despite that, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and its demand for fiscal accountability still has most executives concerned about tracking performance, according to a recent survey. In a survey of 230 members of the Business Process Management (BPM) Forum, 68% consider increasing revenue and optimizing profit to be the driving factors for performance accountability, while 61% consider challenging marketing conditions a driver. Only 22% consider corporate governance. Respondents were allowed to give multiple answers to each question. Despite the low ranking of compliance as a driver, 73% said they're concerned about processes, tools and methodologies used to track performance as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Study: Sarbanes-Oxley 'catalyst' for process management [source SearchCIO]

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Add AMR Research’s Eric Austvold to the growing list of industry experts advocating creation of a Chief Process Officer (CPO) position to help companies become agile, efficient, process-oriented enterprises. During the ebizQ webinar Extending BPI Beyond the Enterprise, part of the series A Manager's Guide to Enterprise Integration, sponsored by Sterling Commerce, the AMR Research Director showed how organizations could do just that: extend Business Process Improvement outside their corporate boundaries to their customers and trading partners, extend expensive but tough-to-integrate ERP systems, and generally reap the rewards of being process-oriented.

CPOs and Black Belts: Process Improvement Missing Links? [source]

Monday, January 05, 2004

Are you working on a BPM project? Chances are you'll be doing some form of BPM in the next 18 months, according to findings from a recent study by market researcher Meta Group. BPM, or business performance management, is the latest acronymic arrangement in the technology soup. Think of BPM as a kind of medical system that takes the pulse of a patient, in this case a specific area inside a company, and helps plan the treatment or enhance fitness. The term BPM describes methodologies, metrics and processes used to monitor and manage a company's performance across many facets. At least that's how the BPM Forum, a nonprofit organization in Palo Alto with more than 230 members, describes BPM (not to be confused with another 'BPM' in the tech arena, business process management). The BPM Forum released findings from its own survey this month. Both Meta and the BPM Forum point to a growing market. Meta says the market will grow up to 20 percent in 2004, up from $1.1 billion in 2003. Within the next 18 months, 85 percent of firms will be working on a BPM project. Meanwhile, the BPM Forum reported that 95 percent of respondents said they were 'sensitized' to the need for better BPM. "The whole notion of BPM is high on the radar screen of executives," says Jim Bramante, BPM Forum advisory board member and global leader of the financial management practice at IBM Business Consulting Services, which offers BPM services. "The root of all of this is to drive greater visibility."

BPM market poised to take off in new year [source Silicon Valley Biz]
In an effort to comply with new federal legislation governing accounting practices and securities law, businesses are turning to business process management (BPM) software to help with the transition. Because BPM applications shepherd work items through a multistep process where they are identified and tracked as they move through each step with either specified people or applications processing the information, many businesses are relying on these applications to help them comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX).

Legislation to Drive BPM Market Growth in 2004 [source DestinationCRM]
BANGALORE: Imagine if you could see a ’working’ blueprint of your new IT system architecture before you spend your money. Or even think of the convenience if you could qualitatively and quantitatively guage the impact a work-flow change would have on the business, well before it is actually implemented. Herein lies what the new concept of process-driven BPM (business process management) is promising and what Infosys Technologies Ltd is looking to take to market. This is part of the company’s gameplan to get into the global consulting game in a big way and also build value into customer deals.

Infosys Now Has Designs On Process-driven Frameworks [source FinancialExpress]
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Technology Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari Tuesday called for using IT as a tool in improving the business process management in the public and private sector organizations to increase efficiency and the quality of services. “If Pakistan is going to compete in the global markets, speed, efficiency and quality are vitally important,” he said in a speech to a seminar on Business Process Management organized by Ultimus Pakistan at a local hotel. He maintained that it was very important for the public as well as private sector organizations to seriously consider the use of new technologies. “Indeed, when the Pakistan government, like governments everywhere, talks about ‘E-Government’, the purpose is to digitize, automate, and improve business processes,” he said, hoping the business process management (BPM) would become “a central component of our IT strategy in building an effective e-government”.

IT a must to increase efficiency, quality of public services: Awais Leghari
[source Pakistan Link Headlines]
"According to META Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: METG), the business performance management (BPM) marketplace will grow by 15%-20% in 2004. The BPM market grew to approximately $1.1 billion in 2003. Although this growth represents a 10%-15% increase over the 2002 marketplace, this was less than most BPM vendors had anticipated for the year. A recent META Group study uncovered that, within the next 18 months, 85% of firms will work on a BPM project. 'The anticipation of increased BPM growth in 2003 was primarily due to expectations that companies would use business applications in an effort to comply with regulations for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX),' said John Van Decker, vice president with META Group's Technology Research Services. 'The business drivers for the BPM market in 2003 were primarily more penetration of planning and budgeting solutions, not SOX compliance-driven sales.'"

Business Performance Management Market Will Grow 15%-20% in 2004, According to META Group; BPM Market Grew to $1.1 Billion in 2003 [source META Group]
Forrester Research, Inc. recognized Identitech as the overall winner in the Breaking the Status Quo technology category at the sixth annual Emerging Technology Showcase held in Scottsdale, Arizona on Dec. 8-10. Over 300 senior-level IT professionals and Forrester analysts participated in the voting for each of the six categories, called "TechnoVistas" by Forrester. Identitech, a leading provider of business process management (BPM) solutions, demonstrated FYI Visual(TM), a revolutionary business activity monitoring solution that communicates real time metrics through an intuitive graphical pattern of symbols that speeds decision making and action. The award was based on quality of demo, level of innovation and best business potential.

Identitech FYI Visual Software Wins Emerging Technology Showcase Award [source PRNewsWire]
Pegasystems Inc. (NASDAQ: PEGA), a leading provider of smart, rules-based business process management (BPM) software, today announced that Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has implemented its PegaHEALTH(TM) Member Services application, bringing a higher level of customer service to its 680,000 members. Called BlueLYNCS (Leading Your Next Customer to Satisfaction) by BCBSRI, the solution includes 41 healthcare-specific workflows, CTI screen pops and integration to BCBSRI's legacy IT systems with full update functionality. Deployed at BCBSRI in under six months, the customer contact center solution is part of Pegasystems' integrated suite of healthcare-focused smart BPM solutions that intelligently manage customer and business interactions across the payer enterprise. Pegasystems' solutions for customer service, claims automation, sales and underwriting are installed across 20 percent of the nation's Blue Cross Blue Shield network and at many other innovative healthcare and insurance organizations worldwide. "The PegaHEALTH Member Services application implementation is a tremendous success, and we expect to reduce training time by 20 percent," said David Zink, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island's CIO. "Pegasystems has also allowed us to reduce our average call handling time by approximately 20 percent. The software is easy to use and has helped us improve member care by providing detailed caller history in one application with guided scripts to most efficiently handle the call, and by providing straight through processing to resolve customers' requests. With PegaHEALTH Member Services, we're achieving superior customer satisfaction."

Pegasystems Helps Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Achieve Superior Customer Satisfaction with New Contact Center Solution [source Pegasystems]
Business factors such as profit optimization, better business planning, and improved operational visibility are weighing in as key factors along with corporate governance in driving business performance initiatives, according to a poll released today by the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum. 70 percent of respondents have also moved beyond financial data to incorporate marketing and customer information in performance assessment, suggesting a more holistic and comprehensive approach. These findings are part of an in-depth poll of the members of the BPM Forum (, a new organization including more than 230 leading business executives and thought leaders launched in July to address the growing challenge of performance management, corporate accountability, and compliance in global enterprises.

BPM Forum Poll Shows Fundamental Business and Operations Issues Weigh in With Compliance as Imperatives for Performance [source MarketWire]
BPM, or business process management, capabilities increase value for businesses by relating low-level integration tools to business processes and allowing organizations to model and monitor business operations, says Forrester Research vice president Mike Gilpin

Middleware Hits Middle Age [source NewsFactor]
Lombardi Software, the provider of the award-winning business process management (BPM) software, TeamWorks(R), and Corticon(tm) Technologies, a leading provider of decision management enterprise software, today announced an alliance that makes powerful business rule management capabilities available as part of the TeamWorks 4 BPM platform. Now, customers seeking to actively manage enterprise-wide, end-to-end processes can easily combine Corticon's business rules engine with the Continuous Process Improvement(tm) (CPI) capabilities in TeamWorks. "Lombardi's 'TeamWorks Everywhere' strategy provides a BPM platform that fits into any environment, is open to external applications and tools, and includes out-of-the box integration with leading technology providers that deliver great value to process improvement initiatives," said Phil Gilbert, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Lombardi Software. "Corticon's Decision Management Platform combines the benefits of a sophisticated Web services-based rules engine with an ease of use that has become a key driver in the development of TeamWorks."

Lombardi Software and Corticon Align to Provide Business Rules Within the TeamWorks BPM Platform [source LombardiSoftware]
According to Gartner, by 2008, 75% of programming code will be generated through Business Process Modeling (BPM) and not written by conventional programmers. Speaking to CXOtoday, Partha Iyengar, research vice president, Gartner India, said, "The 4GL platform today, is still at a ‘flowchart code generation level'. For the BPM concept to evolve, 4GL will have to move probably three or four abstraction levels higher, into a 5GL, in which absolutely no programming expertise will be required.' 4GL is slowly and steadily molding itself into the BPM concept.

Programmer Extinction Era Near; 4GL Evolves [source CXO]
Oracle Corp. is releasing a substantial upgrade to its application server software, as part of a planned refresh of the company's entire product line to support the grid computing model. Grid computing's publicity notwithstanding, the new EAI and BPM features included in the release may be the most significant additions for users and could prompt some customers to upgrade to Oracle's related products, analysts said. "EAI, and especially BPM technology are becoming more critical inside organizations as they move to improve the effectiveness of their core business processes. If a customer is an Oracle shop and pretty much all based on Oracle applications, they have had limited functionality in that area until now," said Ken Vollmer, a research director at Forrester Research.

Oracle adds grid and BPM functions to app server [source IDG]
Income Management is in the business of making money for its clients, but under an important set of conditions. Since it's the client's money, the client gets to decide what kind of risks and strategies are appropriate -- for example, how deep to get into certain companies, or designating acceptable ratings on bonds. Tony Plasil, STW's CIO, explains the situation. 'We have over 200 unique rules that clients have requested,' he says. 'The guidelines have to be adhered to or you may have a situation where you find out you violated guidelines and have to back out of a trade.' Backing out of a trade means money out of STW's pocket and, more importantly, a dissatisfied customer. That's why, when Plasil came aboard in 2000, one of his most pressing mandates was to address the issue of guideline compliance. Since Plasil couldn't find any packaged application to address this need, he decided that STW had to pursue another avenue. 'I was looking for a rules engine to process rules rather than code,' he says. That's what STW found in an offering from a company called Corticon, which plays more generally in the business process management (BPM) space. STW bought Corticon's rules engine and went live in November 2001."

Following the Customer's Rules [source Line56]
Beefing up BPM capability can improve your organisation’s ability to compete on cost, quality, speed and service. For most of the past 40 years, Transfield Services business improvement manager Wil Carey has been telling managers and management teams that they need to get back to the basics. And when it comes to business process management (BPM), Carey says, nothing is more basic than empowering the organisation’s business unit managers, and helping them recognise that everything the organisation does is a process and hence can be described in a procedure. “The simple [fact is] that everything we do is a process,” Carey says. “Most people don’t think of it that way. Even when it’s explained to them they have some difficulties comprehending it, but everything that we do is a systematic series of activities that when done in a certain way generate a certain, specific result. When you come to understand that, you can build a system that can help managers and leaders improve on what I call the core competencies.”

Do Process [source CIO]
Action Technologies, a software firm specializing in business process management (BPM), has expanded its ActionWorks product to facilitate all the different ways that people work together, including processes, projects, collaborations and ad hoc interactions. The ActionWorks suite “provides the tools that reduce the time and cost of white-collar business processes by 40-60% -- and generate typical returns of more than 300% -- by managing the flow of decisions, information and accountability,” Action Technologies says. “Unfortunately, most BPM packages are designed to facilitate the structured and repetitive work sequences found on the factory floor, or in tasks such as insurance claims processing,” the vendor continues. “The organization of this work is recurrent, stable and driven by predetermined “command-and-control” rules that allow simple automation of standard processes. Knowledge work, on the other hand, is filled with uncertainty, inventiveness and risk. ActionWorks is the only BPM application that facilitates all the different ways that people work together,” the company asserts.

Action Tech In Action: Enhancing BPM Ware [source ebizq]

Friday, December 12, 2003

Everyone wants Web services standards. CEOs think the technology will create new opportunities. CFOs believe it will save millions. Vendors see a pot of gold at the end of the Web services rainbow. And CIOs know that linking to customers and partners over the Internet will revolutionise both business and IT. So what’s the hold-up? The usual suspects: Politics. Ego. Suspicion. Fear. Greed. It's already a given: Your company is going to waste money on Web services.

The Battle for Web Services [source CIO]

Monday, December 08, 2003

For the first time, software vendors are beginning to find effective ways of automating BPM. It is a problem that has attracted some of the brightest minds in the industry, and the first supplier to establish leadership in this emerging global market stands to benefit from tens or hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of pent-up demand. Howard Smith and Peter Fingar, authors of Business Process Management: The Third Wave, position BPM as a revolutionary movement on a par with the introduction of database management 30 years ago. Just in case this fails to stir up controversy, their next book will be entitled IT Doesn't Matter: Business Processes Do.

Raising The Standard [source CBR]

Friday, November 07, 2003

Businesses and their IS organizations need to discover new ways of working to achieve the flexibility required today. That was the message of Gartner Research Fellow Simon Hayward when he spoke on Thursday at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2003 in Cannes. With business process fusion, the connection between data and processing logic must be severed. Data must be self-describing so that it is meaningful to applications created independently of the data model. And there should no longer be the arbitrary boundaries between distinct models for different applications.

Integrating Processes a Key to Business Flexibility [source Gartner]

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Many companies are moving away from Excel and embracing more flexible, Web-based planning tools to handle business performance, planning and reporting, according to a recent survey. Meta Group says 85 percent of respondents to its recent business performance management (BPM) survey indicated that they will have a BPM solution underway within the next 18 months. Just 15 percent indicated they had no plans for BPM. Meta Group defines BPM is an integrated management approach that includes Web-based analytical applications (to gather and analyze data), business plans to achieve desired metrics and the necessary reporting and forecasting to ensure performance goals. Before BPM tools came along, many of these functions were handled with simple spreadsheet software like Microsoft's Excel. Meta Group Vice President John Van Decker says that the emergence of new tools is helping drive interest in BPM. "Clearly the Web-based tools are enabling organizations to get more folks involved in business performance process," Van Decker says. "Historically, planning and reporting has been an Excel-based process. Companies are trying to get away from that."

BPM May Push Excel Aside [source DarwinMag]
Ninety-five percent of equity trades are automated. Yet, the remaining five percent cost securities and brokerage firms the most to process. However, advances in automated exception management are creating dramatic cost savings and process efficiency improvements for securities and brokerage firms. ADP Brokerage Services Group, a division of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NYSE:ADP) and Staffware, a global leader in Business Process Management (BPM) software will host a free one-hour webcast on the power of business process in securities and brokerage services. Participants will hear from a leading analyst about how BPM can help reduce costs and improve service in the securities and brokerage industry.

Webcast on Power of Business Process in Securities and Brokerage [source Businesswire]
Action Technologies, a provider of business process management (BPM) software, says the initial deployment of its ActionWorks suite for the Shelby County Commission “has already generated significant benefits” for the Memphis-area regional government. Shelby, the largest county in Tennessee, purchased ActionWorks through system integrator CIMS Inc., which is providing analysis, development, hardware, software, and user training. Like many local governments, Shelby County found that its paper-intensive system of managing local affairs made it difficult for commissioners and the public to track items such as zoning, contracts, resolutions, and ordinances. The result was an inefficient and slow process that frustrated county employees and citizens. The commission wanted to better serve its constituents and selected CIMS Inc. to provide ActionWorks business process management software, combined with OnBase document management software, to enable commissioners and county employees to track items in process and shorten the time required to address important issues, Action Tech explains.

ActionTech's BPM solution for Mephis-Area Gov't [source]

Monday, October 27, 2003

During the last 20 years or so, strategies for using IT usually consisted of making multi-million dollar investments in whole new collections of hardware and software. Companies were engaged in the equivalent of an IT arms race. Massive new systems were built from scratch or from extensive and expensive software packages. These kinds of strategies have run their course. They are no longer viable approaches to meet business needs. The time is ripe for a new strategy whose aim is to combine people and computers into systems where the strengths of each are brought to bear. This can be summed up as, "Automate the rote and repetitious work, free up people to do the creative stuff." So how do you get started? Think of a new, more cost efficient and more responsive way to perform an existing business operation or think of a brand new business procedure that is needed to support a new market opportunity. This is called business process re-engineering (BPR) or business process management (BPM). This isn't rocket science. Ask the people who do the work now. They already know ways to do their jobs better.

Read Darwin -Toward A New Technology Strategy - USING IT [source Darwin Magazine]
Commerce One Conductor gives enterprise customers a flexible platform on which to build various software tools. Its architecture makes many applications viewable through a single graphical user interface (GUI), paring the time and cost of writing and using composite applications, as compared to employing myriad business process management (BPM), enterprise application integration (EAI), portals, identity management and various design tools. Users of the platform insist Conductor differs from other EAI keystones because vendors of those platforms only supply one or two of the facets of a management platform, as opposed to a full suite of EAI, BPM and portal functionality. Because the BPM, EAI and portal facets of the application lifecycle are bundled as one product, it is estimated that Conductor can cut the cost and time of initial process development and integration efforts in half. IDC recently conducted a total-cost-of-ownership analysis, finding that Conductor does indeed cut out some of the middlemen in the application creation lifecycle.

Commerce One's Conductor Rides New Rails [source]
Sales of software used to manage everything from procurement to customer service to financial compliance -- known as business process management, or BPM, software -- are expected to hit $6.3 billion in 2005, according to industry estimates, up from $2.5 billion two years ago. And customers are increasingly looking to BPM vendors for tools that find new ways to improve operational efficiency and automate and organize the everyday protocols crucial to business.

Analysts bullish on BPM software [source Baltimore Business Journal]
Delphi Group, a global business advisor on business and IT, has published a Market Milestone Report on Business Process Management (BPM) which evaluates Staffware, a global leader in BPM software, and provides an overview of the market. The report, suggesting that BPM is one of the fastest growing categories in the software world, indicates a $550 million market for BPM in 2003, with growth rates of between 15 and 30 percent over the next three years. Delphi's report states, "the real value of BPM is the ability to define and execute business processes independent of applications and infrastructure." BPM is also described as the final great boom of the software industry, and the last frontier for generating value from IT infrastructure. The report was drafted following interviews with 500 organisations. Enterprise-wide process redesign was seen as the number one driver for BPM deployments. 46 percent of respondents viewed BPM in this way, more than four times as many as viewed it as an application integration project.

BPM: 'The Final Great Boom of the Software Industry' [source Businesswire]
Metastorm, a provider of Business Process Management (BPM) software for automating, managing, and controlling processes today announced the successful conclusion of its third annual North American BPM Forum & User Conference. The event took place on October 9th and 10th in Baltimore, Maryland and focused on providing thought- provoking presentations on market trends, adoption statistics, and an impartial look at BPM. Metastorm's president and CEO, Robert Farrell, kicked off the conference by providing attendees with a company performance update, a look at key market trends, and an insightful synopsis of real-life BPM successes and the associated impact on business operations results. Additional keynote speakers included Jim Sinur, Vice President, Gartner, Inc. and author of the Gartner BPM Magic Quadrant report and Howard Smith, CTO - Europe, CSC, co-chair of the and author of BPM: The Third Wave.

Metastorm Completes BPM Forum & User Conference with Record Attendance [source Yahoo Biz]
With Gentran Integration Suite, Michael Foods has the flexibility to incorporate existing systems and technology with new integration standards including Web Services, ebXML, Business Process Modeling Language (BPML), and Internet security protocols. In addition, Gentran Integration Suite is designed to support a wide range of application and technology adapters, including popular packages such as SAP, PeopleSoft, Seibel, MQSeries, Oracle AQ and Java Messaging Services.

Sterling Commerce Dishes Up Gentran Integration Suite to Michael Foods; Sterling Commerce Helps Meet Retail Business Integration Requirements [source Businesswire]
Intalio, a Business Process Management company, has expanded into Europe. Bringing its Intalio|n Business Process Management System (BPMS) to the European market, Intalio has opened offices in Brussels and London. The Aberdeen Group forecasts that Business Process Management (BPM) spending in Europe will reach $850 million in 2003 and will top $1.67 billion in 2005. After North America, Europe is the most significant region for BPM spending, according to Aberdeen. Moreover, says Aberdeen, fewer suppliers are targeting Europe, making it very lucrative for those actively pursuing in the region. Intalio says it “has already signed several enterprise customers in Europe, as it builds on the momentum from its pioneering efforts in business process management (BPM) standards and its soon-to-be-released version 2.5 of Intalio|n³. Client success and aggressive plans to leverage the potential has led Intalio to form a series of partnerships with multiple BPM-savvy system integrators in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Details of these new customers and partners will be announced over the next few months.

Intalio into Europe [source]
Business process modeling software developer IDS Scheer Inc has announced new software to help small and mid-size businesses model their business processes. Separately, Intalio Inc. on Wednesday announced the latest iteration of its BPMS (business process management system) software. Intalio, of San Mateo, Calif., also has a relationship with IDS Scheer; the latter company's Aris 6.0 process modeling environment is built into Intalio's software to provide executable process models.

IDS Scheer, Intalio Unveil BPM Software [source eWeek]
Intalio announced Intalio|n³ 2.5, a new version of the company’s Business Process Management System (BPMS). Intalio|n³ helps Global 2000 companies shift IT resources from operations to innovation, reduce the total cost of ownership of mission-critical process assets, and extend the best-practice processes engrained in packaged applications. Highlighting the new release of Intalio|n³ are the following key enhancements:
Page Designer, a WYSIWYG editor for the development of rich, Web-based end-user interfaces; Integration of Systinet’s Web services platform; Integration of Corticon’s business rule engine (BRE); New and highly customizable user interface to enhance the productivity of business analysts.

Intalio extends BPMS with Page Designer, Featuring 100% Code Coverage [source Intalio and Businesswire]
Business Process Management (BPM) -- the ability to define and execute business functions independent of applications or infrastructure -- may sound like a stuffy concept, but a few small companies are steadfastly clinging to it for success in a time when controlling company workflow is seen as a way of paring total-cost-of-ownership. Intalio and Oak Grove Systems are two of a handful of standalone software companies that make custom engines for executing transactions with packaged applications, databases, and heritage systems, each hoping to chomp a bit out of what market research firm Delphi Group recently claimed is a $550 million market when the book closes on 2003, with growth rates of between 15 and 30 percent over the next few years.

Standalone Vendors Look to Plot BPM Course [source]
For the first time, software vendors are beginning to find effective ways of automating BPM. It is a problem that has attracted some of the brightest minds in the industry, and the first supplier to establish leadership in this emerging global market stands to benefit from tens or hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of pent-up demand. Howard Smith and Peter Fingar, authors of Business Process Management: The Third Wave, position BPM as a revolutionary movement on a par with the introduction of database management 30 years ago. Just in case this fails to stir up controversy, their next book will be entitled IT Doesn't Matter: Business Processes Do.

Raising The Standard [source Computer Business Review]

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

New software enables business managers to fine-tune important processes virtually on the fly, with only minimal involvement by the IT department. Two years ago, LexisNexis realized that its ability to serve new Web-based customers was severely strained. Thousands of small and midsize law firms represented a huge business opportunity for the company's legal-information services, but they often had to wait 48 hours to have their Web accounts activated after signing up. For smaller firms seeking to buy documents in small quantities, often to apply to pending cases, such a delay was intolerable. Clearly, LexisNexis needed to revamp its customer sign-up and order-fulfillment processes, which were designed for large law firms and the ordering of hardcover legal tomes. But instead of spending millions on a massive new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, LexisNexis chose a somewhat unorthodox and unproven route: by reworking some key workflows to require fewer manual tasks and installing a new kind of software (from Intalio Inc.) that choreographs the activities of several existing back-office systems, it was able to get new Web accounts running in a matter of minutes.

Re-reengineering [source CFO Magazine]

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Lombardi Software, the developer of TeamWorks(R), award-winning business process management (BPM) software, will be featured at The Brainstorm Group's Business Integration & Web Services Conference to be held at the Hyatt Regency Burlingame, Sept. 15-Lombardi's Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Phil Gilbert, will join industry experts to explore best practices for business and IT analysts performing BPM across the enterprise and with supply and distribution chain partners. Now in its fifth year, the Business Integration & Web Services Conference Series is the leading forum specifically designed to provide business and information technology leaders with actionable advice, invaluable networking opportunities and practical solutions to the most pressing business integration challenges.

Lombardi Software Executive to Be Featured Speaker on Brainstorm Group's Business Process Management Best Practices Panel [source BusinessWire]

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Now that many plumbing issues have been sorted out, it's time to bring business process integration, transaction support and systems management into the Web services realm, according to one IBM executive. Toward that end, IBM is building BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) support--as well as WS-Security support--into its WebSphere application server, Tivoli systems management and other IBM products, said Bob Sutor, director of WebSphere Infrastructure Software for IBM Software. IBM already supports SOAP, WSDL and UDDI in most of its middleware software. BPEL is an emerging specification that would give programmers a way to formally describe processes underlying business applications so that they can be exposed and linked to processes in other applications. IBM and Microsoft submitted the spec to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) for approval. For a while it appeared that BPEL was on a collision course with another specification effort backed by Oracle and others and winding its way through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) but those two efforts now appear to be converging.

IBM Exec Touts Need For BPEL Support, SOAs [source CRN]
As Hewlett-Packard Co. submitted a framework for managing Web services, Sun, HP subsidiary Arjuna Technologies Ltd. and others put forward a specification for Web services that need to communicate and work together. “It defines how resources are to be managed, what their properties are, how that information is to be retrieved and the relationship between the objects in the model,” said Joe McGonnell, director of HP’s Web Services Management Organization. While HP submitted its standard to OASIS, its subsidiary Arjuna, along with Fujitsu, Iona, Oracle and Sun, is promoting a framework for what it calls context in dealing with Web services that interact with one another. WS-CAF is a collection of three specifications: Web Service Context (WS-CTX), Web Service Coordination Framework (WS-CF) and Web Service Transaction Management (WS-TXM). WS-CTX helps all Web services participating in an activity exchange information about a common outcome. WS-CF manages context growth and life cycle, and notifies the various Web services of outcome messages to Web services participating in a particular transaction. WS-TXM helps servers negotiate outcomes and make a common decision about how to behave, especially in the case of failure. Its all part of defining the elements of executable processes bottom up from Web services, as opposed to top down as in BPML. It helps companies with no BPM technology get into the BPM space, through extension of existing technologies.

HP Sends Management Framework to OASIS [source SD Times]
Sun Microsystems Inc. and several partners published Monday a web services specification for coordinating electronic transactions, prompting some analysts to question the need to develop the technology outside of similar efforts already underway. The Web Services Composite Application Framework, or WS-CAF, overlaps with WS-Coordination and WS-Transactions specifications under development by Sun rivals Microsoft Corp. and IBM. Arguably, the new specs have a different focus in the area of electronic transactions, but there's no technological reason for a separate effort, analysts said.

Sun, Partners Publish New Web Services Spec [source CRN]

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Process thinking is back, and CSC World (corporate magazine) recently sat down with two of the leaders in this resurgence: Michael Hammer and CSC's own Howard Smith. Hammer is one of the originators of business process redesign, and he brings long experience and new thinking to the subject in his latest book, The Agenda. Smith's book, Business Process Management: The Third Wave, looks at the way information technology supports — or, more often, constrains — business processes and shows how to end the business-IT divide. Both of them want business to be in charge of business processes, but they come at the problem from slightly different perspectives. We thought these two would have a lively and illuminating conversation, and we weren't disappointed.

Michael Hammer and Howard Smith on Process Thinking [source CSC]

Monday, September 01, 2003

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell searches for catalysts that precipitate a "tipping point" — that moment in time when the boiling point is reached. This concept holds that small changes will have little or no effect on a system until a critical mass is reached. Then one final small change "tips" the system and a large effect is observed. It's that one dramatic moment when everything changes all at once, the unexpected becomes expected and radical change moves from possibility to certainty. We are rapidly reaching that point in IT. The current focus on Web services and service oriented architectures (SOAs) misses a much bigger story: We are now on the threshold of the next wave of computing after the Internet — the "information technology-savvy" organization. This type of organization is one whose employees are willing and able to take responsibility for computerizing their part of the business, ideally within the context of an enterprise platform that facilitates re-use and sharing. Yes, it's called BPM!

Are You Ready for the IT-Savvy Company? [source Darwin Magazine]
Showing that it has been plugging away since the high-profile exit of Microsoft in March, the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Services Choreography Working Group published the first public working draft of Web Services Choreography Requirements 1.0 Tuesday. When Microsoft chose to throw its support behind the OASIS Web Services Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) Technical Committee, many industry watchers saw evidence of a growing rift -- not just between heavy-weights like Microsoft and Sun, but between the OASIS and W3C standards bodies themselves. But a meeting between the BPEL Technical Committee and WS Choreography Working Group in May seemed to signal that the two organizations were ready to put that potential trouble behind them. The working group's draft Tuesday, may be a further sign, as it identifies BPEL as a component among the Choreography programming languages in the document. Choreography is currently one of the most important issues facing Web services, according to W3C.

W3C Publishes WS Choreography Requirements Draft [source InternetNews]
BPMN will provide businesses with the capability of understanding their internal business procedures in a graphical notation and will give organizations the ability to communicate these procedures in a standard manner," said Stephen White, chair of the BPMN Working Group. "BPMN follows the tradition of flowcharting and swimlane notations for readability, yet still provides the mapping to the executable constructs as defined in BPEL4WS. By doing so, BPMN fills a technical gap between the format of the initial design of business processes and the format of the languages that will execute these business processes. This creates an environment where business people will be more involved in developing, managing, and monitoring IT-intensive business processes." "Semantic differences between leading process modeling tools and arbitrary differences in visual notation have hindered the take up of process management in the marketplace," says Howard Smith, co-chair of and CTO for Computer Sciences Corporation Europe. "Process and performance management is the majority of all work. The BPMN proposal points toward a time when business people will readily exchange processes as easily as they do word processing documents and spreadsheets today." Releases Working Draft of BPM Notation 1.0 [source Businesswire]
IBM and Intalio Inc. each are readying product upgrades designed to make it easier to put business process modeling and management tools into the hands of less experienced users. IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., this fall will roll out software updates that more tightly integrate the Modeler and Monitor tool components of its WebSphere Business Integration suite. This will enable some of the same common data sets used to create and monitor processes to be reused; it will also let end users jump between development and process-management environments. A business analyst using the Modeler upgrade can set down key attributes to run "what-if" scenarios and then determine what to monitor. To aid business-process monitoring, IBM is using model-driven development technology from its Rational Software Corp. acquisition to extend its process dashboard. With a dashboard that incorporates business-process integration across the range of activities from modeling to management to monitoring, users can apply analytics to more intelligently build future integrations, officials said. Separately, Intalio looks to solve user interface, standards implementation and data-mapping issues with Version 2.5 of its Intalio/n3 business-process management platform, code-named Neo. The Director and Designer modules in Neo will provide a simplified user interface, said Intalio officials, in San Mateo, Calif. Director will be enhanced with a new library of about 35 to 40 so-called Widgets that aggregate the building blocks of a user interface, making it easier for users to implement form elements and data tables. Designer's user interface will get a Windows XP look and feel. On the process-monitoring side, Intalio has added an Audit Trail Interface that connects its process server to business intelligence tools. Intalio also is adding a user interface for real-time monitoring that includes about 25 pre-built charts. "We've been looking for [Intalio's Designer tool] to be a bit more user-friendly," said Terry Williams, senior program manager at LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier plc. The Dayton, Ohio, company uses n3 to manage business processes involving order taking, verification and fulfillment. "We knew over a period of time it would become more intuitive," said Williams.

Upgrades extend BPM to new users [source eWEEK]
Pegasystems Inc., a leading provider of rules-based, smart business process management software (BPM), announced the results of a white paper from Strategic Focus, which conclude that using PegaRULES Process Commander will help accelerate Java development when building, deploying, testing and maintaining applications. Strategic Focus ( is a Milpitas, California-based software evaluation and strategy consulting firm. Strategic Focus, experts in evaluating development tools and software products, recently conducted an independent and objective comparison of the developer productivity of building and changing a business process application with Process Commander and a typical Java IDE coding development approach(b). According to the research, it takes 38 percent less time to build, deploy and test a Java-based BPM application with Process Commander and 58 percent less time to maintain the application once it is built, suggesting significant productivity increases. When evaluating the purchase of technology to build BPM applications, increased agility is one of the most critical factors to consider. Strategic Focus identified several features that support the use of Process Commander to increase productivity. These features include: rule and workflow-based development process built on an easy and extensible framework, personalized process flow, a reusable rule base and a rules resolution and inference engine.

PegaRULES Process Commander Accelerates BPM Application Development [source Businesswire]
No less than 85 percent of companies will have business performance measurement initiatives underway by the end of 2004, according to a new report from research group META. Specifically, 76 percent of the companies surveyed by META said they were involved in BPM for better decision-making, while 66 percent cited the goal of more efficient reporting and planning. Fifty-eight percent claimed that BPM would lead to better resource allocation. The high number of BPM participants isn't necessarily surprising, because BPM (which META breaks out into planning, reporting, consolidation, scorecarding, and modeling) has been a hot topic for years. What's new is the proliferation of e-business tools that purport to enable BPM, including tools from ROI specialists as well as tools from enterprise applications providers themselves. The plethora of BPM tools (including tools that support BPM from within enterprise resource planning, business intelligence, and other application areas) has led to the adoption of point solutions by many companies, stated the META report. However, given that "Excel spreadsheets are the most commonly used tool for performing BPM activity," the mere adoption of e-business tools is a progressive step. Traditionally, performance measurement has been the purview of consultancies. Regardless of who's measuring, there are a lot of complexities to be navigated. In this regard, META notes that business plans designed to achieve metrics, and reporting/forecasting to measure performance, are just as important as the measuring technology itself.

BPM getting bigger [source Line56]
Metastorm, a provider of Business Process Management (BPM) software for automating, managing, and controlling processes, is shipping e-Work Version 6 -- its BPM software platform for large-scale enterprise process management. Metastorm says e-Work Version 6 “enables organizations to more effectively execute and improve business processes, allowing them to maximize the return on investment from their existing software applications, deliver the framework they need to leverage Web services and ultimately gain market advantage.” “The capabilities of e-Work Version 6 separate Metastorm's product from other BPM products on the market,” the vendor asserts. “Version 6 maintains its proven reputation of supporting the most complex requirements with human-focused tools that are easy to use, code-free and have minimal overhead. e-Work Version 6 provides enhancements that further support the creation, deployment, and maintenance of extremely complex, mission-critical business processes across the enterprise.”

Metastorm Out With Suped-Up BPM Offering: e-Work Version 6 [source]
Software for automating financial controls required by the new federal regulations mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is the goal of a new Supervisory Control Application (SCA) developed by Fuego Inc., a Dallas-based BPM software vendor, and Deloitte & Touche LLP based in suburban Plano, Texas. Being marketed to retail businesses facing stricter regulation under Sarbanes-Oxley, SCA automates the compliance process but allows for human intervention where necessary, explained Scott Chamberlain, Fuego's CFO. It can help to ensure compliance in areas such as manufacturers' rebates, known in the trade as ''vendor allowances'' to retail operations, and help to provide documentation in case of audit, he explained.

BPM-based app automates Sarbanes-Oxley compliance [source]
The inability of organisations to link corporate strategy to actual performance has given rise to a new category of business intelligence (BI) software dubbed 'business performance management' (BPM). BPM promises to deliver strategic cross-functional alignment across an enterprise's operational boundaries – in other words setting benchmarks on performance levels to determine where you stand now, against where you want to be. BPM is now seen as an evolutionary successor to BI and a bevy of vendors are (re) positioning their tools and applications under the BPM banner. Much of the market confusion surrounding performance management is caused by the terminology being bandied around. "There's an alphabet soup of acronyms; everyone and their grandmother is claiming to do BPM," says Roman Bukary, director of product marketing at SAP. BPM (business), CPM (corporate), EPM (enterprise) and SEM (strategic enterprise) are a few of the TLAs competing for mindshare, around which a raft of traditional BI suppliers, BPM specialists and mainstream ERP providers are aggressively pushing their own flavours of performance management. So what exactly is BPM? It's our view that you cannot do true BPM (performance management) without BPM (end to end process management)!

Performance Matters [source CBR Online]
Fuego, helping corporations orchestrate, manage, monitor and optimize their business processes with agile business process management system (BPMS) software, announced the results of a performance evaluation assessment conducted on its Orchestration Engine(TM) by Doculabs, a technology consulting firm that helps organizations reduce the risk associated with technology decisions. Fuego commissioned Doculabs to conduct an intensive and comprehensive evaluation of its system based on real-world customer criteria.

Doculabs Benchmarking Proves Flawless Performance Of Fuego Business Process Management System [source PR Newswire]
Metastorm, a leading provider of Business Process Management (BPM) software for automating, managing and controlling processes, announced that Robert J. Farrell, president and chief executive officer, will give an overview of emerging trends in the BPM market, highlight Metastorm's success in the enterprise software market and answer questions from attendees about the company. Recently named one of four BPM leaders in the prestigious Gartner Magic Quadrant, Metastorm's total revenue for the first half of 2003 increased more than 23 percent over the same period last year. The company expects total year-over-year revenue growth to be at least 50 percent.

Metastorm CEO Robert Farrell to Speak at SG Cowen's 31st Annual Fall Technology Conference [source Yahoo]
Ultimus, the leading provider of complete workflow automation and business process management (BPM) solutions, today announced that it has appointed Jeff Smith to the position of Chief Process Officer (CPO). In his new role at Ultimus, Smith will be the first CPO from a BPM vendor who will be available to consult with customers as he accelerates his company's own use of BPM. Smith will work with company executives and employees to identify and automate key business processes using the company's Ultimus Workflow Suite. Today, Ultimus helps more than one thousand customers worldwide leverage BPM technology to increase profitability through increased efficiency, while at the same time it applies the same practices internally. Chief Process Officer (CPO) is a relatively new position that is assuming important responsibilities in highly competitive companies. Organizations are realizing that the productivity gains they can see through more traditional efforts cannot match the gains they can make through the automation of internal and external processes that are possible through BPM. An increasing number of companies understand that these productivity gains are so compelling they merit a "C-level" executive to lead the ongoing effort. While some companies have announced CPO appointments, Ultimus is the first BPM vendor to create the position to expand and improve its own processes and serve as a model for its customers.

Ultimus Announces an Industry First by Appointing a Chief Process Officer [source BusinessWire]
The latest process management tools purport to put business users more in control of the development and implementation of technology based business tools, a dramatic shift away from today's reliance on full-time software programmers. This panel discussion will elaborate on the extent to which business modeling, and its ability to evolve into applications that deploy more rapidly and with fewer quality issues, has advanced.

Business Process Management - As easy as drag and drop [source BusinessWire]
The top reason for implementing a business performance management (BPM) solution is to improve decision making in the organization, according to Business Performance Management, a new report released today by META Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: METG). Gaining efficiency in the financial planning/reporting process and enhancing allocation of company resources rounded out the top three reasons most cited by respondents. "The increased interest in BPM is primarily due to the rapidly changing economy and new public accounting regulations intended to provide greater transparency and visibility. These regulations have put tremendous pressure on organizations to provide better visibility and accountability in enterprise financial results," says John Van Decker, META Group vice president, Technology Research Services. "BPM initiatives typically begin with a desire to move from Excel in an attempt to support a more centralized, dynamic, and active planning process within an organization. They often expand to cover reporting and metrics management and, when applicable, financial consolidations."

85% of Organizations to Have BPM Initiatives Underway by End of 2004, Says META Group; New Report Based on BPM Survey Examines Impact of Sarbanes-Oxley on IT Investments [source BusinessWire]
Lombardi Software announced today the release of TeamWorks 4, the latest version of its business process management software. The company says its performance tracking, reporting and improvement capabilities, now available out-of-the-box, will enable enterprises to move beyond process automation and into active process management. According to Lombardi, TeamWorks 4 continuously monitors for critical business events, collects data and transforms that information into a meaningful context, enabling senior executives and managers to make informed, real-time decisions that drive process efficiencies and operational responsiveness. "Business process management wins the 'triple crown' of saving money, saving time and adding value," said Jim Sinur, Gartner, Inc. vice president. "Continuing product innovations will drive even more benefits, while enabling BPM to drive the evolution of the real-time enterprise."

Lombardi Software Releases TeamWorks 4 For Business Process Management [source]
"Our definition centres around the need to be process-enabled," says Ron Brown, technical director of CSC's UK systems integration practice. "Companies that take on a process-centric view of life; using the new business performance management [BPM] and process tools, you can now draw from a blank palette. But what you need to be able to change, and fast, are the business processes, which have nothing to do with the applications, servers, etcetera. It's about grabbing hold of the levers of process. If you can grab those, then you get much closer to the turning circle the business wants, rather than having the turning circle of a supertanker." This may not sound especially dramatic. Many organisations, and their IT departments, would argue that they already focus on business processes. But that is very different from being business process-centric.

Fail at your peril [source CBR Online]
MindBox won the Trend Setting Product of 2003 award by virtue of the next-generation capabilities that its ARTOptimize product has brought to the category of Business Process Management (BPM). Until now, BPM software has automated only the repetitive and administrative processes in today's enterprises; ARTOptimize is leading the next wave of innovation by automating complex creative processes -- processes that have in the past required a human being to complete. Using a combination of rules and MindBox's sophisticated inferencing engine to emulate the human decision processes, ARTOptimize can, for example, evaluate a loan request for a bank and, instead of just accepting or rejecting the borrower based on simple ratios and policies, the software can design and structure a completely different loan solution -- for example, suggest closing out the car loan and lumping that debt into a larger first mortgage. ARTOptimize works both on-line and off-line (website, interactive kiosk, call center, field agent's laptop, etc.), so that creative processes can be centrally managed and decisions applied consistently.

ARTOptimize Software Chosen by KMWorld Editorial Staff as Most Influential Product in Business Process Management Category [source BusinessWire]
There is a transformation underway. Vendors like FileNet, Staffware and Metastorm are now championing a new category of software they are calling business process management (BPM). "Imaging management is seeing only single digit growth," says Roberts. "Document management and content management probably 20%, and BPM is much more explosive – like 50% growth." But how does this BPM category differ from ECM? BPM provides the ability to model, integrate, execute, manage and optimise all processes, crossing any application, company boundary, or human interaction in real-time. BPM resides on a layer above enterprise software packages to co-ordinate and manage business relationships both inside and outside company walls. It is much more people-focused than previous approaches, and places less emphasis on the technology that integrates applications and data, and more on the ability to devise and implement better ways of managing business processes. Its key components are the ability to model business processes, execute them, and finally to optimise them.

Filing On All Cylinders [source CBR Online]
Staffware, a global leader in Business Process Management (BPM) software, has signed a partnership with Corticon, a leading provider of decision management enterprise software. The partnership combines best of breed business process management and business rules engine technologies. It simplifies the design of complex decision-making process steps that might otherwise require elaborate 'coding' and/or human intervention, such as in Financial Services, Telecommunications and the Public Sector. The combined offering allows such processes to be designed more rapidly and be more fully automated than previously possible. This in turn means process automation solutions can now be deployed faster and changed more rapidly. Non-technical business users are able to independently change the underlying business rules of applications already deployed, delivering these higher levels of flexibility.

Staffware and Corticon Redefine the Rules of Business Process Management [source BusinessWire]
Ben Gaucherin, CTO of Sapient, believes BPM (business process management) platforms are critical to a company's architecture. This is where you'll see how your company is performing. Gaucherin might be right in thinking we are in the midst of a business process revolution. Take a look at what's happening with the big application vendors. Oracle and ERP vendors in general own many of these critical processes, so they have a legitimate claim on the BPM platform of the future. They are trying to make their applications more flexible. Witness SAP's NetWeaver and xApps . Gaucherin, however, sees other players and other platforms, such as Microsoft BizTalk, IBM WebSphere MQ Series Workflow, BEA WebLogic Integration, and Tibco's ActiveEnterprise suite -- which come in at a higher level of the stack -- as serious contenders. The economy, competition, and even compliance issues are all setting the course for IT and the way they power the company; the trick is not capsizing.

Picking a process platform [source Infoworld]
Visio provides broad capabilities for graphing, mapping, and charting complex ideas. For example, SQL Server developers use Visio to diagram database models. Employees in technical fields use Visio because it provides a lower-cost alternative to high-end engineering tools such as CAD. In addition, many businesses use Visio as a business process management (BPM) tool. Visio's visual presentation helps decision makers analyze workflow and see how to streamline processes.

Microsoft Announces Visio 2003 [source SQLMag]
This report will analyse the benefits and dangers of moving intelligence into the network and away from the application nodes, and review the major technologies involved and solutions provided. To be successful in the current economic climate businesses have to have a more flexible business model, which will enable them to outsource business processes, divest themselves of product lines, integrate partner products, support mergers, take advantage of new technologies and opportunities etc. All of this translates into requirements on IT to connect multiple applications within the enterprise and across enterprises in a flexible and robust way. This requires more than just a simple messaging system; it requires intelligence within the network to produce complex business process flows and to ensure changes in one area do not impact existing applications.

Intelligence in the Messaging Layer [source ITDirector]
Metastorm, a Columbia company developing software to automate many of the day-to-day processes instrumental in running a business, said Thursday it had begun selling the newest version of its flagship product. E-Work Version 6 is a software platform designed to perform functions as varied as managing procurement or coordinating human resources. Broadly, Metastorm's software targets an organization's human resources, customer service, finance and operations functions. The 7-year-old company is focusing on the financial services, manufacturing and government sectors, among others. Analysts estimate the "business process management," or BPM, market could hit $6.3 billion by 2005.

Metastorm gathering force with new software [source Washington Business Journal]

Friday, April 18, 2003

A new report suggests that an emerging Web services market focused on new business-process technologies could make the current market for application-integration software obsolete. Emerging service-oriented process software is founded on the notion that data can be integrated in the context of a particular business process. For example, rather than simply moving data between two points, an application designed around a specific process could draw data from several sources through a multistep workflow, such as handling a new insurance claim. "When you're putting together a process, in effect you're integrating," said Ronald Schmelzer, the author of the report. This alternative approach to application integration could mean trouble for companies focused solely on enterprise application integration (EAI). Traditional application-integration middleware takes information from one application source and transports that data to another application. EAI companies "are going to have to think about where the value proposition is," said Schmelzer. "If you're just trying to connect things together as an afterthought, you're never going to win."

Report: Trouble for integration tools [source]

Thursday, April 17, 2003

BEA Systems, IBM, and Microsoft on Wednesday submitted a major standard proposal for Web services to OASIS, snubbing similar work underway at the Worldwide Web Consortium. The trio, all major players in the development of Web services standards, submitted a specification for Business Process Execution Language, or BPEL, which was co-authored by SAP and Siebel Systems. Twenty other businesses have signed on as co-submitters, and OASIS has started the process of forming a technical committee to develop the spec, Microsoft and IBM officials said. Indeed, what's unclear is the effect the submission will have on similar work underway by the W3C. With BPEL, OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) will have work underway in all three major areas of Web services development. W3C officials could not say whether their work would overlap or complement OASIS' effort, because they had not seen the charter that would govern the work of the latter group's technical committee. However, all the BPEL authors are members of the W3C. The standards body couldn't understand why OASIS was chosen. "I would be hard pressed to give a reason why organizations dedicated to getting Web services out the door don't commit to an open way to do their work, having proposals reviewed, having specifications reviewed, and having ways to deal with interoperability requirements," W3C spokeswoman Janet Daly said. Officials with IBM and Microsoft said OASIS was chosen because the organization is more focused on technical issues related to automating business processes, where the W3C was more directed at lower-level infrastructure technology related to Web services, such as SOAP. However, vendors tend to have different perceptions of the W3C and OASIS, Schmelzer said. The former is seen as having rigorous processes and standards for creating and releasing specifications. The latter is perceived as more lax and less controlled about what's released.

IBM, Microsoft, BEA Snub W3C, Submit Web Services Spec To Oasis [source TechWeb]
Microsoft, IBM, and BEA Systems plan to submit their Web services choreography and business process specification, initially proposed in August 2002, to a standards body later this week. According to a source familiar with the announcement, SAP and Siebel are joining the original developers of BPEL4WS, IBM, Microsoft, and BEA, in the submission. Co-submitters of the technical committee charter include the following: Accenture, Akazi, CGEY, Collaxa, CommerceQuest, EDS, Vignette, FiveSight, Handysoft, HP, i2, JDEdwards, NEC, Novell, OpenStorm, SeeBeyond, SourceCode, TeamPlate, Tibco, Unisys, Ultimus, and WebV2, according to the source.

OASIS to get BPEL4WS jurisdiction [source InfoWorld]
IBM, Microsoft and BEA Systems plan to submit a high-profile Web services proposal to the OASIS standards body, company executives say, despite an ongoing effort by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to sort through similar ones. Led by the three powerhouse companies, about 20 businesses will propose the creation of a technical committee within the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) to standardize the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL), which is used to automate complex business processes. The companies, which include SAP and Siebel Systems, planned to make the submission to OASIS as early as Tuesday, according to the IBM executive. An official announcement from OASIS is expected in about a week. Executives at IBM, Microsoft and BEA said that any products based on BPEL can be sold without any royalties to the authors of the specification. IBM and Microsoft intend to implement the BPEL standard within their respective products this year, company executives said. The group of companies, which originally authored BPEL, also plans to publish an update to the BPEL specification when it is submitted to OASIS.

Web Services face a split [source]
As enterprises apply Service-oriented architecture principles to business process management and automation, they will find that such "Service-Oriented Process" solutions will supplant the need for today's integration solutions, concludes a report published today by ZapThink, LLC, an analyst firm focused on XML, Web Services, and Service-oriented architectures. The report concludes that Service-oriented process tools enable business users to assemble business-oriented Web Services into business processes that are themselves exposed as Web Services.

Web Services-based Process to Displace Integration Solutions; Implementing Service-Oriented Process Key to Meeting Business Agility Requirements [source ZapThink]

Thursday, April 10, 2003

In one corner is the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS, but most often pronounced "bee-pell"). BPEL4WS is a business process and choreography API that was co-authored by IBM, Microsoft and BEA. Although it is completely proprietary and hasn't even been submitted to a standards-setting body, all three companies already have plans to support the specification in their solutions as though it were a standard. At the very least, IBM and Microsoft will be able to continue focusing on picking off each other's customers as well as BEA's. Unfortunately, while the three companies steam forward on BPEL4WS, the rest of the world is standing in the other corner with a competing specification--the Web Services Choreography Interface (WSCI, pronounced "whiskey). Unlike BPEL4WS, WSCI has taken the first step towards standardization through a submission to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) by (which also developed an alternative to BPEL4WS called BPML), Commerce One, Fujitsu Limited, Intalio, IONA, Oracle Corporation, SAP AG, SeeBeyond Technology Corporation, Sun Microsystems, and strange as it may seem, BPEL4WS co-author BEA. This industry chasm over the handling of choreography and transactions in service oriented architectures (SOA), and the costs that could be associated with it, are not to be underestimated. Nor is BEA's duplicitous hedging by appearing as a proponent of both. Forget for a moment the problem of interoperation, or lack thereof, should the industry not agree on a common language for this very critical part of any mission critical application. Let's suppose that BPEL4WS becomes the de facto standard, by virtue of BEA's, Microsoft's, and IBM's support for BPEL4WS in their application servers (which happen to be the application server market's three leading products). The three intellectual property owners would be in the driver's seat not only when it comes to Web services, but for a portion of the Web itself.

Web services in serious jeopardy [source ZDNet]
To business people, it seems that technology is always getting more complex. Technical people feel the same way. Over the last five years, delivering business applications has become much more complex, with layer upon layer of new infrastructure requirements and new features. While this has been good for IT industry players that sell new products for new layers in the "technology stack," it isn't necessarily so good for companies that use them as business tools. When complexity mounts and eventually becomes unmanageable, it's time for action. As Walt Disney once said, objecting to a proposed sequel to his "Three Little Pigs" cartoon, "You can't top pigs with pigs." In the world of business, stacking a thousand doghouses, one atop the other, to build a skyscraper is a great proposition for doghouse vendors, but not for future occupants. Skyscrapers need an architecture of their own - their own paradigm, not a sequel to the doghouse paradigm.

Don't Bridge the Business-IT Divide: Obliterate it! [source and]
Collaborative and transactional business processes don't have a chance if they're not coordinated. In his landmark book, Process Innovation, Thomas Davenport defined a process as follows: Simply a structured, measured set of activities designed to produce a specified output for a particular customer or market. It implies a strong emphasis upon how work is done within an enterprise, in contrast to a product focus's emphasis on what. A process is thus a specific ordering of work activities across time and place, with a beginning, an end, and clearly identified inputs and outputs: a structure for action. This definition, although helpful, hardly begins to explain the true nature of collaborative and transactional business processes. At the very least, the word "coordination" is missing.

Coordination, Coordination, Coordination [source DarwinMagazine]

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Combining Business Process Management with Composite Application (CA) development can reap rewards for companies now and down the road. It enables them to preserve existing technology investments, provides more agile technology infrastructures, and better supports short-term customer service and long-term business goals. Tom Dwyer, who oversees The Aberdeen Group’s middleware and integration technology group, sees it all fitting together through the "ability to deliver composite application through an easy-to-use intuitive interface - and bringing in content and data, responding to alerts, or easily talking to front-office and relationship marketing systems." He went on to describe industry initiatives to define both processes and business elements. "We're foreseeing the evolution and starting to see the work toward a unified modeling language, so that when you define elements in one company, it's easily understood by another company and you're seeing agreement over the appropriate standards that are underlying the business process model."

Synthesizing The Synergies: BPM And Composite Application Development [source]
As enterprise business processes become more automated, and more interconnected, one piece of technology refuses to go away: the human being. As a result, workflow systems, which handle processes involving human input, have begun to play a larger role in the world of BPM (business process management). Workflow engines, originally used for document-and people-intensive tasks such as processing insurance claims, are now moving into the mainstream, getting incorporated into most major BPM offerings, which must increasingly handle processes involving both computers and people. Unlike straight-through, machine-to-machine processes, things tend to take more time when humans are involved, especially if judgment is required to deal with exceptions in a highly repetitive process. So-called "long-running processes" such as credit approval, new product development, clinical drug trials, and telco provisioning involve many starts, stops, and detours that traditional workflow systems are designed to handle.

Workflow meets BPM [source Infoworld]
Identitech, Inc. announced FYI Visual(TM), an extension to the FYI® suite of business automation and content management solutions, that moves Identitech into the Business Process Management market. FYI Visual is a breakthrough, patented technology that goes beyond traditional charts, graphs, gauges and reports to provide powerful, actionable, real-time displays of business metrics. FYI Visual extends Identitech's solutions for workflow, content management, records management and forms to provide a single, integrated solution for Business Process Management. FYI Visual is also sold stand-alone to provide an actionable and visual interface for any enterprise system.

Identitech Revolutionizes Business Process Management with FYI Visual(TM) [source Identitech]

Monday, April 07, 2003

Business Process Management Systems enable business people to create and change processes with little if any dependence on IT departments, and enable IT managers to cut operational costs. What's more, BPMS helps bridge the business-IT gap. How it does all that was illustrated in the ebizQ webinar, "The Operational Benefits of BPM," part of our webinar series "BPM and the Real Time Enterprise", sponsored by CommerceQuest. In essence, BPMS puts the business process horse before the IT cart, explains Peter Fingar, executive partner of digital strategy firm the Greystone Group. Fingar, who pens a monthly column for ebizQ along with Howard Smith and co-authored Business Process Management - The Third Wave with Smith, says companies today spend 30 percent of their IT budgets on integration, in such forms as EAI and B2Bi. They do it, he says, to build end-to-end business processes. So if business process is the object of integration, asks Fingar, why not put it, and not the application, at the heart of business automation? And that, he adds, is precisely what BPMS does.

BPM Systems: The Great Enablers [source]
Behind every company's brand - the facade it promotes to customers - increasingly stands an extended enterprise, a dynamic value chain of suppliers and business partners interconnected over the Internet. This change is once again focusing CEO attention on business process management (BPM), but with a difference from the workflow and reengineering efforts of the 1990s. Integration has replaced automation as the critical objective of process improvement. Where workflow once tried to stamp out inefficiency by automating isolated functional bottlenecks, BPM software aims to interconnect the myriad islands of process automation created by that earlier effort and to integrate them with the processes of trading partners. E-business inherently means end-to-end processes that cross functional boundaries spanning the extended enterprise.

Three Promises of BPM: Agility, Flexibility, Visibility [source TransformMag]
Here's how and why four companies are placing big bets on business process management. Like a car that runs smoothly instead of stalling at every traffic light, a business that makes good use of business process management (BPM) strategies and technologies can eliminate delays, bottlenecks and errors. Although BPM is very new, pioneers are proving its value.

Well-Oiled Machines: BPM Projects Point to Success [source TransformMag]
Business process management solutions offer obvious payoffs. The challenge is selecting the right solution for your application. Doculabs describes typical applications for BPM and the capabilities and vendors that best fit each scenario. In the current economic environment, organizations are struggling to radically improve efficiency and leverage existing investments in systems while remaining responsive to their customers. At the same time, businesses require systems that are more automated, involve less human intervention and can gather data from multiple systems to provide customers with the products or services they need. These frequently conflicting imperatives are driving demand for business process management (BPM) solutions, especially in process-intensive industries such as financial services, insurance, healthcare and manufacturing. BPM is a framework of applications that maintain complete control over a process. These solutions automatically manage processes, allow manual intervention, extract customer information from a database, add new customer transaction information, generate transactions in multiple related systems and support straight-though processing without human invention when needed (for example, in trade and settlement processing).

BPM: When Speed Counts [source TransformMag]
But as a dazzling array of vendor-driven standards continues to emerge, a fresh set of machinations are proving that the battle for control of Web services standards remains alive and well between two camps: IBM and Microsoft on one side, Sun and to some extent Oracle on the other. The issue reared its head most recently when IBM and Microsoft had declined to participate in the newly formed W3C Web Services Choreography Working Group. But then two Microsoft officials showed up at the initial meeting on March 13 at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif. According to Steven VanRoekel, director of Web services at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash. , the two officials attended the meeting to determine the scope of the group's work pertaining to contract language, which is intended to establish communications between end points. But Microsoft discontinued participation after finding out the group's work on contract language did not coincide with its own, VanRoekel said.

Web services paths remain divided [source Infoworld]
Imagine a world where people speak a language that brilliantly describes the molecular structure of a large object, but can't tell you what the object is - or that it's about to fall on you. You've just glimpsed the arcane world of business process applications. Fortunately, an emerging Business Process Management Language (BPML) standard is beginning to change all that. BPML is being designed as an easy-to-use, declarative language that describes processes in ways that executives can understand and also provides the detail for developers to execute them.

Business Process Management Language (BPML): Automating Business Relationships [source SterlingCommerce and EAIJournal]
A slew of product announcements indicate growing focus on BPM by vendors in different categories:
In 1931, statistician Walter Shewhart developed a framework for "continuous improvement." What became known as the Shewhart Cycle outlined four key steps for improving processes: Plan-Do-Check-Act. A plan is developed to improve a process; the plan is implemented; the results are tested; adjustments are made; and the cycle begins again. One of Shewhart's most famous students, W. Edwards Deming, took this concept, along with others, to Japan. The manufacturing world has never been the same. The Deming revolution--built around concepts like continuous improvement and just-in-time (JIT) inventory--had a universal impact on global manufacturing. Today, there is a new form of enterprise software that has the ability to do for white-collar business processes what Deming did for manufacturing. Delphi Group believes that business process management (BPM) is "quickly emerging as the moniker for the next killer app in enterprise software." Believe it or not, this may actually undersell the potential impact of BPM. BPM will not just change the software industry--it will change industry in general. Just like Deming.

Pay attention to BPM [source]
The Port of San Diego now relies on business performance management (BPM) processes and technology (courtesy of Comshare) to strengthen its decision-making capabilities and to make those decisions, and the budget derived from them, more visible to the public. It is not alone. Federal, state, and local governments gravitate toward BPM processes and applications thanks to a surge of regulatory and fiscal pressure. As with most types of technology adoption, governmental entities generally lag behind their corporate counterparts—about two to four years, in the case of BPM investment. But that gap is narrowing as governments, spurred on by regulations, declining tax revenue, and a public that demands ever-increasing levels of visibility and accountability, drives governments into a deeper analysis of their financial data and the factors that influence it.

Government Hammers BPM [source InternetWorld]
Citing ingredients necessary for BPM (business process management), an official at Addison, Texas-based BPM vendor Fuego offered attendees at the InfoWorld CTO Forum conference on Tuesday a glimpse of organizations that have shortened the gap between business processes and execution. Fuego CEO Mark Theilken stressed that a BPM implementation must be technology- and application-independent as well as not rely on a single individual for its operation. Theilken added that systems must be designed to represent activities in a single process model. "It's not just Web services you have to integrate, it's also desktop services from [Microsoft] Excel and Windows [plus] integrate mainframe services, and you have to turn Web applications into Web services to integrate that as well," said Theilken.

CTO Forum: Fuego illuminates crucial BPM ingredients [source Infoworld]
In tough economic times, many companies are cutting costs by making internal operations more efficient. At the same time, some of these enterprises are laying the groundwork for carrying efficiencies to activities with customers and suppliers. In attacking wasted time and unnecessary effort on the part of employees, many companies are turning to business process management (BPM) software. These systems consist of a modeling environment capable of building, deploying, and managing business processes, including the flow of forms and documents among people responsible for completing the activities. In addition, the systems contain business logic that ensures tasks are completed before starting the next step.

Companies Tap BPM Software To Automate, Orchestrate Processes [source InternetWeek]
Business software company SAP is strengthening the workflow capabilities of its middleware as it launches NetWeaver to wrest back control of enterprise application integration within the SAP world. For a long time, however, one of the problems it faced was the "big hole" in the process layer - the middleware for integration. Exchange Infrastructure is aimed at plugging this hole. It is less than a year old, but SAP plans to eventually "move the Exchange Infrastructure towards what everything a middleware product will do", said Dale. Instead of sending in armies of programmers, enterprises can define a business process, and the services can be combined to form xApps that snap on to an existing IT environment. Compared to the seven or eight key applications currently offered by SAP, for example, in the areas of human resource management or financials, there will be hundreds of xApps, said Dale.

Integrating the SAP world [source ComputerWorld]

Thursday, March 13, 2003

A World Wide Web Consortium committee began meetings on Thursday to sort out an array of confusing, yet critical, Web services standards. Critics have charged that Microsoft and IBM are reluctant to work with the existing WS-Choreography working group due to the W3C's strict royalty and patent policy. Under W3C guidelines, published specifications cannot include patented technology or demand royalties for usage. Ross-Talbot said that if vendors push standards linked to their proprietary products, "partners would be required to license stuff, and they should not need to. That's why it's absolutely vital to be royalty-free," he said. "Personally I think (IBM and Microsoft are) shooting themselves in the foot."

W3C seeks standards accord [source BusinessWeek]

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

For decades, businesses have organized their automation endeavors around the very unnatural and unbusinesslike concept of the "software application." Applications automate business functions such as accounts payable, order processing, inventory control, human resources, and so on. But today's business applications are often described as stovepipes because they are separated by function, time and the data they manage.

Tearing Down 20th Century Stovepipes With 21st Century BPM [source]

Saturday, March 01, 2003

The Business Process Management Initiative ( today announced the election results for its 2003 board of directors. Re-elected to a second term were Ismael Ghalimi of Intalio, Howard Smith of Computer Sciences Corporation, Jeanne Baker of Sterling Commerce, and J. Matthew Pryor of Versata. Newly elected directors include Sinisa Zimek of SAP, Georg Simon of IDS Scheer, and Stephen White of SeeBeyond. The election process was completed at the organization's Annual General Meeting in Costa Mesa, California. Board members will provide both business and technical leadership as the organization continues its work providing open, royalty-free standards for the management of business processes. announces new board of directors [source]

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Companies today looking for the next wave of IT to squeeze more productivity out of their operations are increasingly turning to BPM software to streamline operations by knitting together business procedures. Their goal is to create a platform that weaves together processes running in different silos of technology, including ERP (enterprise resource planning), customer relationship management and other enterprise software. To the extent that an IT department can do that without having to rewrite major pieces of code, they make processes more efficient, improve profit margins and improve the timeliness of bringing products to market. "The holy grail that everyone has been looking for the past 15 years is to model the business process using some tool and have the underlying implementation product automatically configure to align with that. If we could ever get there, that would be a major, major breakthrough," said Thomas Gulledge, professor of enterprise engineering at George Mason University and president of Enterprise Integration Inc., both in Fairfax, Va. According to Gartner, 55 percent of clients polled said using a BPM engine helped them to automate administrative tasks and reduce costs of transactions or a business event. In the same study, 70 percent said BPM improved coordination across departments or geographies, 70 percent said fewer people were needed to perform business tasks, and 85 percent said they reduced the steps in certain processes. Some 85 percent said they experienced quality improvement, fewer errors, higher productivity per person and a reduction in time to market.

Models Link Processes [source eWeek]