Why Neches?

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LI-NechesAnalysisBP3 recently announced the GA release of our tool for analyzing IBM BPM solutions – Neches. This is a product that I have been working on for many years. Those who know me well may be aware that baby versions of this tool have been written in various technologies over the years. With this first release, I thought I would take a moment and reflect on the reasons why this product is needed in the BPM ecosystem.

Over the years, I have been asked many times to go through a set of BPM code created by a development team and articulate any concerns about what was delivered. I know of several other BPM consultants who have done similar work, as well. While I’m happy to help teams improve their code, I’ve always been concerned about what I may have missed. With a typical BPM solution having 200-300 services, it is difficult to make sure that each one has been checked and analyzed.

Another concern was consistency in assessments. When there can be weeks or even months separating these assessments, you start to wonder if you may have accidentally moved the goal posts. When you told one group that X was really bad, did you give another group a pass on that same problem because something else seemed worse? Worse yet, if you evaluated something once and then again two to three years later, would you be sure you highlighted the same issues?

My last concern was consistency between evaluators. If several different people provide the evaluation, would the team receiving the feedback get vastly differing results? How would that affect their overall quality? And what problems might it mean for motivation for the people trying to deliver high quality solutions?

Having done very many of these evaluations, I realized that much of the assessment did not require human intelligence. As I tell our customers all the time, one of our goals as technologists should be to focus on having humans work on the things that require human intelligence to accomplish, and allow technology to handle much of the heavy lifting that would enable the assessment. Thus, Neches was born.

Neches is an online tool that can be accessed through the IBM Cloud marketplace.