IDS Scheer's Place in the Software World

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-02-20 Print this article Print


Ok, so does that boil down to your own internal development of an execution environment?

I wouldn't say it's really an execution engine. What we are doing in the moment is working on a system as a part of our BPM suite, for our own applications for business process management. In this sense we are also an applications vendor, and the application is business process management. As an applications vendor we need a workflow engine. We are in the moment on the way to develop this. And there is just a small step also to go to the execution [layer] when we have this workflow engine as part of our BPM suite, and we can use it for customer situations. If the customer says we have already modeled many, many processes with ARIS, and there are some that are not supported with SAP or Oracle or others, then, OK, we can do a lean generation of this application and all the functionality of our BPM suite is available for this application. OK, this is our advantage.

If you are [providing] the process mapping for Oracle's Fusion, for Microsoft, for SAP, does it at some point enable customers to have interoperability between services, based on the ARIS process repository? Do you play that critical role, or do you plan to play that role in the future?

Yes, we do it already. We have big customers from the automotive industry and others, where they use processes on top of our business process management and they use ARIS; then we have IBM with WebSphere and others, and also SAP for the applications around the definition of the processes, and we have interfaces for IBM for the development tools of IBM and also to SAP, so we have exactly this kind of [thing] architected and they use it for their internal understanding of the architecture.

To clarify, I ask that question in the context of SOA, and the goals of SOA for interoperable processes... 

This is not our problem. We could do it. We have this BPEL [Business Process Execution Language] interface, so we could go with BPEL to IBM and to SAP. But the question you should ask to IBM and to SAP is whether they open their SOA architecture and make their services interoperable. That is the point. In this case, the advantage, when it is possible, would be on the side of IBM-that IBM would call and assemble SAP services. But this is more a problem between these vendors-it's not our problem. From our perspective it's not the point. We have these standardized interfaces, we go to them. But how these software vendors really will open their services that they can work together-this is the point in the moment. I think it's not really decided.

SAP talks about having the most services available of any vendor. You're saying those services aren't really open to other services?

I am not saying they are not open, but it is not that easy that they can be used by other platforms. The other thing is, [whether or not] the user really wants it, that he will take services from different vendors, because at the end of the day he has to follow compliance and governance ideals. And who, at the end of the day, would guarantee the solution that is assembled from different vendors? Will it really have a quality seal on it, that somebody guarantees the solution as a whole?

When you compare it with other developments, it is comparable 10 years ago with the database discussion. At that time all the databases were proprietary. IBM had its own database and the customers didn't want any longer these proprietary systems. Then the discussion came up that OpenSQL as an interface [might be a better option]. But at the end of the day the new openness was Oracle. Everybody took Oracle and the user didn't want to mix different databases, even when they were based on the same standard, SQL. Because when they mixed databases, they had different education and training requirements for the people, so there was a higher degree of complexity.

At the end of the day I think that companies will not pick services from different companies and from the Internet, because then they don't know if there are guarantees for the development and maintenance [of composite applications]. I think the user will ask for simple solutions.


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