A relatively small developer of business process modeling software could have a big impact on IT if SAP AG and Microsoft Corp. fulfill plans to incorporate the developers platform into their respective infrastructures to help users create composite applications.
The inclusion of process modeling capabilities that can, in turn, be executed in IT systems is integral to the goal of Microsoft and SAP to have software components orchestrated on a single platform.
To this end, Mathias Kirchmer, CEO of IDS Scheer North America, the North American subsidiary of IDS Scheer AG, said his company is in talks with Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., to integrate IDS Scheers Aris modeling tool set into Microsofts BizTalk Server to enable process modeling and model execution.
“Weve had some very good discussions with Microsoft that have developed pretty well [over the past year],” Kirchmer told eWEEK. “[That includes] the content side and [developing] reference models but also in the integration of Aris and BizTalk.”
Aris delivers process modeling information in a format that systems such as BizTalk can use to configure workflow, according to Kirchmer.
“Modeling is absolutely critical to what were doing,” said Dave Coulombe, general manager for ERP (enterprise resource planning) at Microsoft. “[We are developing] a process-centric, service-oriented architecture based on model-driven development.”
Coulombe wouldnt comment on a partnership between IDS Scheer, based in Saarbrücken, Germany, and Microsoft, but he did confirm that BizTalk components are included in Microsofts “Project Green” blueprint, as are modeling capabilities from Microsofts Visual Studio software.
SAP, of Walldorf, Germany, has an established relationship with IDS Scheer and is integrating the Aris tool set into its NetWeaver integration platform.
The idea of having the same business process modeling environment in BizTalk and NetWeaver opens options for developers looking to assemble components from either vendor using a single platform.
“If you can model Microsoft and SAP [processes] in the same environment, then as a customer you have an enormous palette of tools to work with,” said Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst with Enterprise Application Consulting. “This really is almost beyond the imagination.”
Changing the future of
With SAP and Microsoft using Aris as their modeling environment, and all Web services in each vendors domain interoperating and functioning through the IDS Scheer tool, “then you have to write [the Web services] in a similar fashion,” said Greenbaum in Berkeley, Calif. “From a developer standpoint, this radically changes the future of Web services.”
The effect could be broader still. According to IDS Scheers Kirchmer, officials of Oracle Corp., in Redwood Shores, Calif., contacted the company earlier this month to restart conversations PeopleSoft Inc. had been having to integrate Aris into its application infrastructure. Oracle acquired PeopleSoft earlier this year.
to read more about recent research showing that a sizable portion of PeopleSoft customers are inclined to bail following the merger with Oracle.
“What is emerging is a completely new category of software, a business process management system,” said Howard Smith, chief technology officer for the European division of IT outsourcing company Computer Sciences Corp. and co-founder of the Business Process Management Initiative. “For IDS Scheer, its a huge opportunity.”
SAPs Enterprise Services Architecture and Microsofts Project Green are not expected until 2007 and 2008, respectively.
The endgame of providing interoperable components doesnt come without its own set of issues.
CSCs Smith, in London, cautioned that the ability to consolidate processes must come from a complete process management system.
“The option [to consolidate processes] does exist, but it is a function of the platform, not of the modeling tool,” Smith said. “The significance of a modeling tool can be overstated. Bringing the diagram to life is where the value is.”
Aris tool set
- Design platform Design, analysis and optimization tools
- Implementation platform UML (Universal Modeling Language) design tool; process-to-application tool; integration tool
- Controlling platform Process Cost Analyzer and Process Performance Manager
- Scouts Links industry-specific consultants to Aris methods and tools
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