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]

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

This is a column about business processes and their management, the intricate, dynamic, ever-changing manifestations of the economic activity of companies. Today, companies are looking for secrets, skills and tools that will enable them to create and mesh together business processes that are so outstanding that customers will pay to use them, time and time again. Katy Ring of Ovum research explains the essence of business processes: "Whatever your organizational structure, be it in manufacturing, services or retail, your operation is underpinned by processes—the fundamental ways of doing things that are either efficient and appropriate, or, more often, outdated and arthritic."

The Humble Yet Mighty Business Process [source Darwin Magazine]
Although the complexity of the recent technology announcements is overbearing, one of the biggest fundamental changes that is needed but has not yet been discussed is the organizational impact of managing software processes that can be dynamically configured to meet changing business needs. This concept has been introduced in previous AMR articles on the topic of the Chief Process Improvement Officer (CPIO). Today, business processes embedded in software are set in concrete. Many companies have described the endeavor to change processes as analogous to an act of Congress, requiring a cross-functional team of business and technical professionals to enact.But software processes will have the ability to change both dynamically and by business professionals without as much hassle. Changes that will be possible include adding additional participants to an already running process, modifying rules that govern the process, and modifying the process flow itself.

Preparing To Become A Process-Oriented Enterprise [source ebizq and AMR Research]
There's no question that EAI vendors have moved beyond simple integration. Looking back, it's easy to see the stages that many products have gone through: first was the need for transactions-being able to securely exchange data among multiple systems. Most (if not all) have progressed to adding business process management capabilities to enable business-driven change of integration applications. Then business activity monitoring capabilities became important to provide users or business managers with real-time insight into their business processes. So what's next? Of course, there are always new standards, integration sources, and acronyms to keep up with, but where's the center of the gravity heading?

Back To The Future: Development In Focus [source]

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Ask anyone who deals with reengineering the way a company does business, and they can tell you horror stories about getting software to adapt to changing business processes. Currently, enterprise application integration (EAI) and middleware providers offer some form of workflow or business process management (BPM). But it's typically a task that requires the programming equivalent of extreme mountain climbing skills, especially in situations with applications from several vendors and multiple, independent processes that must be coordinated. Intalio, a nearly four-year-old company specializing in BPM, may have cracked the code for ridding BPM of its rough edges and steep costs. The company's Intalio n³ 2.0 software can reduce the development cost of designing and implementing business processes by up to 75 percent, according to Ismael Ghalimi, Intalio co-founder and chief strategy officer.

A revolution in business process management? [source ZDNet TechUpdate]

Monday, February 17, 2003

Sterling Commerce, leading provider of business integration solutions, released a new white paper aimed at helping organisations understand the complexities of business process management (BPM), and business process integration (BPI). BPM and integration play a key role in providing business and IT managers with the ability to gain greater control over their processes and predictability in managing them. The white paper, entitled ‘BPM and Integration: Enabling organisations to gain control of their businesses’ is available now at: Sterling Commerce commissioned analyst house, Datamonitor plc, to conduct market research into the burgeoning European BPM and Integration market, in a bid for greater understanding of the challenges, business goals, market factors, and perceived benefits driving the growth and uptake of integration solutions across a range of vertical sectors.

Analyst Datamonitor predicts enterprise integration and BPM is key to future business success [source]

Friday, February 14, 2003

Popkin Software a leading developer of enterprise modeling tools, and Intalio, Inc., the business process management company, today announced a strategic partnership to offer a complete solution for modeling, execution and management of end-to-end transactional business processes throughout the enterprise. The joint solution integrates Intalio's n|3 Business Process Management System (BPMS) with Popkin's System Architect® tool set. The interchange technology for the solution is based on the Business Process Modeling Language (BPML) recently released by Organizations are assured of an end-to-end, standards-based, enterprise-scale process management solution that helps them move one step closer to aligning their technology to their business strategies.

Popkin Software and Intalio Partner to Develop Comprehensive Business Process Management Solution [source PRNewsWire]

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

SAP AG and HandySoft Corp. are extending their respective business process management offerings with capabilities that make it easier for enterprises to model and automate frequently used business and technology processes.

New Tools Aid Process Modeling [source eWeek]
Microsoft is also looking to boost the application modeling capabilities in Visual Studio.Net. Software tools companies are looking to fill out their development suites with modeling and design tools in order to appeal to larger companies that have more complex development projects. Whidbey will introduce a Web services-based business-process modeling tool, code-named Whitehorse, according to Microsoft. Application designers will be able to model a business process with the Whitehorse tool and more quickly build applications that involve a multi-step business process. Analysts say business process workflow software, also called choreography or orchestration software, is one of the most important initiatives in Web services standards this year. The start of "Office Process"? ...

Microsoft rebuilds .Net tools [source]

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Intalio, founded in July 1999, is set to go public with a trio of BPMS (business process management system) products that leverage customers' best-of-breed applications while enabling a process-managed enterprise. Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Ismael Ghalimi met with InfoWorld Executive News Editor Mark Jones to explain how the Intalio|n3 BPMS integrates into a company's back-end applications and discuss the delicate subject of his co-opetition with SAP.

Interview: Intalio enables a process-managed enterprise [source Infoworld]

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Recognizing that every integration project requires development, and every development project requires integration, BEA eWorld speakers will highlight a model for looking at the two as one, and will outline a coordinated solution. This clever positioning of BPM as an extrapolation of application development and EAI is a significant step towards acknowledging the existence of the market for BPMS.

BEA discusses new model for application integration and development [source]
Business processes exist in every corporate activity,from buying and selling, to delivering products and services, to interacting with customers and partners. Processes often help define a company's competitive advantage and provide an opportunity to achieve strategic gains. What better way to hone a competitive edge than by converting inefficient, manual activities into streamlined, structured processes that can be automated and closely monitored to support business innovation?

Business-Process Innovation [source OptimizeMag]

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

In a research note dated December 5, 1997, the Gartner Group identified "Nine Reasons Why IS Organizations Do Not Do BPM." At the time, "BPM" referred to business process modeling rather than business process management. All that has changed. Today, process modeling tool vendors are forming alliances with companies that supply platforms for Business Process Management.

BPM's Third Wave: From Modeling to Management [source and]

Sunday, February 02, 2003

What prompted Siebel Systems Inc. to run an ad in today's Wall Street Journal with big bold letters stating "CRM Reinvented"? The answer: Siebel's joint agreement with IBM Corp. to integrate into IBM's WebSphere application server. The agreement, which expands on IBM's and Siebel's three-year relationship, provides an open standard for connecting and integrating applications and "will blur the lines between a custom developed solution and a blended solution," says Jeff Scheel, vice president and general manager of alliances at Siebel. Siebel aims to address the needs of large enterprises' heterogeneous environments by standardizing on IBM's WebSphere, which is an open standards platform using J2EE. According to Gartner Inc., Scheel says, the total market for applications in CRM is $25 billion worldwide, but $21 billion is spent on custom developed software. "The packaged application share of that market is small. By going to native application server providers customers will be in a better position to seamlessly mix our software with proprietary applications they built on WebSphere and niche applications that might be beneficial to their industry," Scheel says.

Siebel Integrates to IBM's WebSphere [source DestinationCRM]
SAP AG announced the launch of the next evolutionary step of its integration and application platform designed to provide extensibility across heterogeneous IT landscapes. SAP NetWeaver enables organizations to integrate people, information, and business processes across technologies and organizations. Additionally, SAP takes the technology high ground by designing SAP NetWeaver to be fully interoperable with Microsoft .NET and IBM WebSphere (J2EE), providing customers with flexibility to manage heterogeneous infrastructures, minimizing complexity, and reducing total cost of ownership. With NetWeaver, SAP introduces two enhanced capabilities -- composite application framework and master data management -- that extend the technology stack beyond the initial capabilities of mySAP Technology. The new composite application framework built into SAP NetWeaver enables SAP and its partners to create new applications targeting cross-functional business processes through tools, frameworks, rules, and methodologies. These include, for instance, an object access layer that allows customers to abstract from the underlying heterogeneity and to create a unified development and deployment environment.

SAP Announces Integration And Application Platform, SAP NetWeaver [source TMCnet]
By the first half of this year IBM Corp. will aggressively extend the Java Enterprise Edition 2.0-based architecture of WebSphere to a services-based architecture that allows developers to build applications with integrated workflow, business rules, and network-based transaction capabilities. Although IBM does not plan to de-emphasize J2EE in any way, company officials on Monday said they believe that J2EE-based technologies alone are not sufficient to accommodate the emerging on-demand computing environment that is central to many of its strategies going forward. Hebner said the applications built using the new architecture will inherently be able to integrate business processes across an organization dynamically so users can treat them as individual business services. This is something that cannot be accomplished using just J2EE and Web services technologies.

IBM eyes services-based role for J2EE [source ComputerWorld]