The company, which has had a U.S. base for the past decade, is in some senses, in the crux of SOA movement, as companies—and software vendors—begin to understand that part of developing a SOA is defining business processes.
August-Wilhelm Scheer, IDS Scheers founder, chairman and chief technology adviser, along with Mathias Kirchmer, president and CEO of IDS Scheer Inc., the Americas arm of the company, sat down with eWEEK Senior Writer Renee Boucher Ferguson recently to talk about the companys current involvements and future outlook.
It seems to me that the conversation around BPM [business process management] has changed from one of process modeling and execution to services mapping, application server integration and composite applications. Where does IDS Scheer fit into that scenario?
Scheer: I talk about the architecture of software and how our assignment in this area is that we are able, with our methodology and our [ARIS] tool sets to design a process for SOA [service-oriented architecture], which is driven by processes.
Otherwise it wouldnt make any sense to develop a new architecture, unless it leads to new ways of supporting business and supporting processes.
With SOA concepts, its the first way that the whole architecture is process oriented, and we are able to design the process—especially with SAP.
We have a very close relationship that all the services from SAP are documented in our methodology and also with our tools, so we have a direct possibility to compare user design with the operating of SAP.
Also we go a step further that we can also deliver directly the content of our processes to BPEL [Business Process Execution Language], the language which enables the assembly of services to process. So we can directly go from the thinking of new ways of doing business, to process innovation. Directly.
Kirchmer: To compare this to the ERP process, if you buy an ERP system like SAP or Oracle, its on the one hand a set of software, and on the other hand a set of business processes. You have to do things in a certain way—you have to open a material master before you sell a product.
So there is a certain business content, a certain way of dealing with a process thats included in your software, so you get some documented form of some references. So now if you look at SOAs, you have all these services in there and every service reflects a little part of a process, a process component.
But the definition of the process itself has to be done by the user because if you dont know how you use all this flexibility, and if you dont tell the system how you want to use it, then such a SOA does not really help.
What we do in that field is we help users define how they want to work in the future and then to hook into this process definition the functionality that is delivered with the services, so that we can give all that information to the process automation engine, telling it how to use the existing functionality so that the business message—how to use the SOA—is based on our ARIS toolset.