Smooth E-Biz Operators

IDS Scheer, Intalio team on management; Comergent retools for Web services.

New software from IDS Scheer AG and Comergent Technologies Inc. could streamline the implementation of optimized business processes.

IDS Scheer this week will announce that it is incorporating Intalio Inc.s n3 business process management execution engine into its own Aris business process analysis software to provide a single solution to model, execute and manage the business process life cycle, officials from both companies said.

Separately, Comergent last week released Version 6 of its Comergent E-Business System, which was re-architected as a Web services platform to provide business process integration for sell-side e-business applications.

IDS Scheers Aris software is a three-tiered platform for analyzing and modeling business processes. Intalios n3 engine includes system bindings and messaging for collaboration of multiple parties. Once a business process is at the executable stage in Aris, its translated into a BPML (Business Process Modeling Language) document and handed off to the Intalio environment, where integration with the existing IT infrastructure begins.

The BPML standard was developed by the Business Process Management Initiative standards body, in which both IDS Scheer, of Saarbrücken, Germany, and Intalio, of San Mateo, Calif., play fairly big roles.

The first phase of the joint product will be available next quarter.

The enhanced Aris software will enable enterprises to model a business process using Aris and implement those process models from a technical standpoint using Intalios technology—something thats been talked about in theory but rarely accomplished in practice, according to some CIOs.

John Wheeler, CIO at Nova Chemicals Corp., in Calgary, Alberta, is using Aris to maximize his companys business processes and achieve continual improvements in operating capabilities.

However, Wheeler found that integrating business processes that were optimized in Aris back into Novas IT systems was not automatic. Hes curious to see what Intalio will bring to the table.

"The dream for 30 years has been [to] design your business processes and understand business rules and information ... and push a button and the code would come out for integration of business processes and components with the computer systems," Wheeler said. "If that dream can come true, that would be tremendous."

Greg Melven, a systems engineer at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, a division of Lockheed Martin Corp., is working on a project to model the processes for designing and building aircraft using Aris.

When Melven started the project six years ago, there was no technology for executing an optimized business process created in Aris.

Melven already deploys another workflow engine outside Aris but said having it integrated would have been superior.

"The technology is just becoming mature. If they had had this five or six years ago, it would have been better [for us], but the technology just wasnt there," said Melven, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Meanwhile, Comergent E-Business System Version 6 looks to streamline business process optimization for the other end of the business process—the sell side, said Comergent officials, in Redwood City, Calif.

New features in Version 6 include customer, partner and customer service portals that automate interactions among the various parties.