On The Direction of IBM’s Business Process Manager – Advanced

Gary Samuelson
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[Editor’s Note:]  Gary Samuelson joined bp3 full-time in 2011, after years of collaborating on-and-off.  Gary’s been delivering BPM solutions for years, and has been deep into technology development and consulting throughout his career.  We’ll be sharing his blog posts here, republished with his permission – and we think he brings a different voice and perspective and sweet-spot for subject matter to our BPM-focused blog.  Thanks, Gary, for adding to the community! Shared with permission by Gary Samuelson, click here for original blog entry. [Author’s note:]  Quick Forward: In keen interest of fewer keystrokes-per-noun, I’ll refer to IBM Business Process Manager Advanced as “iBPM”. Think of a phat buffet – a Las Vegas buffet. All good – yes? This is iBPM Advanced: a nicely packaged collection of deep technologies spanning light-weight dojo widgets, through aggregation and hosting platforms, and on into security and high-availability. My first impression, though honestly skeptical, is good. We’re looking at the result of serious thinking and efforts on software tools and frameworks for building out and maintaining sustainable Business Process Management. The individual pieces within iBPM are, by themselves, point-solutions. These bits aren’t new… Together though, in their aggregate form, a composite immerges with some voice and resonance as to direction… An example? In the BPM space we usually end up wanting and then building several custom web-UIs (pages and widgets). String these pages together and you get a user-facing process with various back-end service integrations. Moving forward – within “corporate client” each business unit has a need and each “need” gets its own: look, feature, and function. Into this mix add the voice-of-reusability. The same web-UI is then tweaked… re-factoring, and so on until we end-up spending more time in polish. Measuring progress against business value (not building software), BPM projects tend to lose themselves early on low-value platitudes (look-n-feel and reusability) – all good for vision and heated debate but very bad on business. This isn’t to say such topics lack importance. All must be heard… Now let’s approach the “UI-debate” with a brick… as in building structures – one brick at a time. IBM-BPM Advanced brings in “Business Space” – this technology allows for the use and re-use of “Web 2.0” widgets and functions. Rather than losing ourselves in debate, each end-user (literally) has the tools and building blocks for assembling their own uniquely personalized look-n-feel. The BPM team can now better specialize and deliver on re-usable components within a framework built for this pattern. The “one-off” solution is over… iBPM Advanced provides a nice framework for us to quickly bridge across a common BPM pitfall. The UI and re-usability debate ends with “drop-in” Business Space (aka Mashup).