IDS Scheer to Build Execution Engine

Company officials say the goal is not to compete with partners SAP, Oracle and Microsoft, but to augment white spaces. 

ORLANDO, Fla.-IDS Scheer, which has made its living building business process modeling software, is developing its own execution engine.

But company officials acknowledge that they have a fine line to walk in creating the execution engine while not endangering the partnerships they have with some of the world's largest software makers, including SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM.

The strategy, according to the company's founder and Director August-Wilhelm Scheer, is not to compete with the likes of SAP, which is about 60 percent of IDS Scheer's process modeling business, but to augment the white spaces that SAP and the others do not cover.

"What we are doing in the moment is working on a system as part of our BPM [business process modeling] suite, for our own applications for business process management," Scheer said in an interview with eWEEK at the company's annual ProcessWorld user conference here. "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 when we have this workflow engine as part of our BPM suite."

IDS Scheer's software helps companies create process models. It then pushes those software models down to execution engines in transaction systems such as SAP's ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, where the model is executed in IT systems. Because it provides the model and not the engine, IDS Scheer is able to maintain a neutral partnership with companies that compete fiercely in the applications and middleware sectors.

In his keynote address at the conference, Wolfram Jost, executive board member responsible for products at IDS Scheer and head of the Aris product line that is embedded in SAP and utilized by Oracle, Microsoft and IBM, said the company's road map for 2008 is to develop a process execution engine for the governance of business processes.

"We also have to think what's going further in the next one or two years, so we decided to develop an Aris governance engine to support the process execution engine," Jost said. "With this engine, which is execution, we are able to automate governance [of processes]."

What the development of a governance engine means internally is that Aris applications will be service-enabled by the end of the year, Jost said. The idea is that IDS Scheer customers will be able to start a model, publish the information, optimize the process and then automatically execute the process models. "There is no transformation," he said. "It's the same repository, the same process model."

Jost said the key is that IDS Scheer as the process modeling vendor has access to the Aris suite of applications that include functionality for process performance, publishing, document management, a rules engine, human interaction in a workflow, performance measurement and performance management. "It's in the same repository, the same model," he said. "That means you will have one integrated stack, based on a Meta model and one repository. That means you can do modeling, execution, measurement to results and dash-boarding."

IDS Scheer's objective, Jost said, is to have the first version of the process governance execution engine by the end of this year.