New Tools Aid Modeling Processes

SAP and HandySoft are each rolling out applications that ease the modeling and automation of business and technology processes.

SAP AG and HandySoft Corp. are extending their respective business process management offerings with capabilities that make it easier for enterprises to model and automate frequently used business and technology processes.

Such BPM software accomplishes this by more easily pulling together and enhancing each developers offerings.

SAP later this year will beef up its recently announced NetWeaver integration platform with new capabilities, called Business Process Management, that unite the Walldorf, Germany, companys Integration Broker and BPM engine.

NetWeaver presents data in a message format that is XML-enabled for use in Web services. BPM combines SAPs WebFlow integration platform with its Java 2 Enterprise Edition/Advanced Business Application Programming application server. WebFlow has its roots in SAPs R/3 applications and emphasizes business process execution and modeling in the R/3 environment. The business process functions in the application server come from Enterprise Buyer and include people-centric workflow capabilities built around a Java engine thats outside of the R/3 engine.

The net result is that enterprises that run SAP applications will be able to choose among models and manage business processes in whatever environment they are most comfortable with. In this way, NetWeaver will not be tied to one run-time environment, SAP officials said.

SAP will base the BPM technology on an emerging standard, Business Process Execution Language for Web Services. In the past, the company considered using Business Process Modeling Language in its business process technology stack.

Tesoro Petroleum Corp. is a big SAP R/3 user thats moving forward with process modeling and management initiatives. CIO Mark Evans said the company will look to SAP to complement the Fuego Inc. BPM software it has deployed.

"By exposing Web services, [SAP] will make it easier to use [R/3] with Fuego," said Evans, in San Antonio. "With Fuego, we dont customize internally in SAP. We do not mess with SAP. Once you start to customize it, youve shot yourself in the foot."


SAPs new BPM tools
  • Combine Integration Broker with BPM engine
  • R/3-based Integration Broker enables XML-based messaging
  • BPM engine enables design, execution and monitoring of business processesHandySofts new apps
  • Include business rules, process models, reporting, solutions interfaces, adapters
  • First application, Accounts Payable, to be announced Feb. 24
  • Other applications to follow for government, manufacturing and financial services
Evans has investigated SAPs BPM and said he believes it will try to act like a traffic cop for SAP integration.

"The problem with SAP is its workflow works really well within SAP, but it doesnt work well outside. Thats the vision weve had, to be able to move events in and outside of SAP with these types of tools, without a lot of people involved," Evans said.

Separately, HandySoft, of Vienna, Va., is developing a library of business process applications to augment its existing BizFlow BPM engine. The packaged applications will contain business rules, process models, reporting, solutions interfaces, adapters and services for quick implementation, officials said.

HandySoft will focus on processes for government, manufacturing and financial verticals, as well as some horizontal areas, such as Sigma Six.

In future releases of BizFlow, HandySoft will implement a scorecard capability whereby users can define overall customer satisfaction metrics, then ping all processes against the metrics. From a practical standpoint, this means whenever users develop a new process, they can measure it against reusable data points, without having to rekey everything, officials said.