Bruce Silver’s Review of IBM BPM from #IBMImpact

Scott Francis
Next Post
Previous Post

Bruce Silver put out a review of IBM BPM based on information gathered at Impact and I thought I’d share a few highlights here:

BPM took center stage on Day 2 of IBM Impact, which used to be a SOA/BPM event but somehow seems to have morphed into a cloud/social/mobile/collaboration event.

Like Bruce, I noticed how much more center-stage BPM was on day 2.  Day 1 seemed to be too focused on hardware and integrated hardware-software solutions for my BPM-focused ear.  However, the focus on social, mobile, collaboration, and cloud – that’s *every* technology conference these days – not just Lotusphere!

Fortunately, it turns out that BPM v8, which GA’s in June, is much more than this.  I should say the “BPM portfolio”, which now includes Business Process Manager and Operational Decision Manager (ODM), a merging of WebSphere Business Events and ILOG Business Rules Manager.  Simplifying the portfolio was one of Phil Gilbert’s key objectives, and v8 is an important first step.  The same kind of business-oriented UI design that went into the Process Center BPM repository has been added to the ODM Decision Center repository, what they call the Business Console.  In fact, now Process Center, Decision Center, and Blueworks Live all have a similar iTunes-y Facebook-y look and feel.

Bruce hits the nail on the head. The consolidation of product technologies and SKUs into a smaller number of coherent offerings has been critical to IBM BPM’s success.  The same strategy has been applied to ODM with respect to ILOG and related products.  Why is it important?

  1. It rationalizes real technical assets into a coherent package that real people can deploy.  It simplifies their ability to up-take the technology expertise they need.
  2. It rationalizes real software assets into a coherent package a real customer can understand and buy.  Simplifying the sale is a big win – making BPM sales more accessible to  sales representatives, partners, and customers looking to buy.

Bruce goes on:

More impressive to me is the new task UI (“Coach”) designer, which features reusable composite controls that dramatically simplify authoring of complex task user interfaces without so much javascript and css code.  For example, a data entry and a graph control can both point to the same data and communicate with each other automatically without scripting.  IBM has also carried forward real-time collaborative editing from Blueworks Live into the Coach designer.  Very cool.

I agree – this will change how we model processes.  And how we bring re-usable assets to the table.  In particular, the real-time collaboration feature demonstrated at the keynote could mean that activities previously explicitly modeled in BPMN simply won’t need to be.  This is good news for process models and implementation efforts.

Bruce also points out a bit about the mobile strategy espoused at Impact:

Mobile was featured heavily at Impact, and IBM has a free BPM Mobile app, native on iOS, ready to go.  IBM’s approach to mobile BPM is that customers want to write their own mobile apps, so rather than focus on a canned mobile client, they are emphasizing their new, documented REST APIs that allow customers to embed BPM easily in their mobile apps.  Snippets of code from IBM’s own mobile app will be made public as well.

This is exactly our experience with IBM, and why we embarked on building BP Mobility – bringing mobile to our processes, and process sensibilities to our mobile apps.  Still, the demonstration app that IBM released is a strong generic offering – and particularly strong as a BlueworksLive client.  If you used BWLive automated processes, the mobile app works really well with them.

The rest of Bruce’s review is worth reading – he dives into details around “iBPM” as Gartner would call it…Thanks for sharing, Bruce!

 

Tags: