IBM on Tuesday released a new WebSphere business process modeling tool that is designed to make it easier for enterprises to discover how their business processes work and how they should build IT systems that automate those processes.
The WebSphere Business Integration Modeler Version 5 is based on open development standards including the Eclipse universal tool set and BPEL (Business Process Execution Language), which is an XML-based language that supports distributed computing and grid computing, according to Rachel Helm, director of IBMs WebSphere Business Integration.
The business integration modeler is based on technology that IBM acquired from Holosofx Inc. in September 2002, Helm said.
The modeling package also supports the WebSphere Business Integration Server Foundation, WebSphere MQ message-queuing software and the Rational Rose XDE development tools. Developers also can import and export process modeling data to external graphical modeling tools such as Visio, Helm said.
IBMs Business Integration Group is using the software “to model our own processes,” Helm said. The new modeling technology “made it much easier for [us] to manage to team process development and modeling projects. We have found it to be a very effective tool and an important part of our business integration portfolio.”
Its also being used by several high-profile customers including Star Alliance, a network of 15 international airlines; Principal Financial Group, of Des Moines, Iowa; and Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) of Boston.
CSC, one of the worlds largest systems integrators and consultants, is already using the WebSphere Business Integration Modeler in some of its consulting assignments, said Glenn Davidson, a senior partner and the business integration practice manager at CSC in Boston.
“We are using it in any of our client engagements where we looking at dynamic processing and where getting a good model and being able to simulate that process for improvement purposes is very important to the client,” Davidson said.
The business integration modeler can be used effectively at a company that is trying to model its critical business processes for the first time or at companies that have already defined these processes and are looking for ways to make them more efficient, he said.
Industries that are seeking out these tools include financial services, telecommunications, transportation, mining and oil production, all of which have to track complex processes that frequently change over time, Davidson said.
Its a valuable tool for organizations that are looking for ways to improve enterprise application integration as well to define the business processes driving those applications, he said.
The package can support the full cycle of system development, from the definition and simulation of business processes to design of improved processes through the construction and deployment of new automation applications, he said. Once the system is up and running, business modelers can “feed the design information back into redesign, so it is sort of a closed loop,” he said.
WebSphere Business Integration Modeler Version 5 will be generally available starting Thursday. Prices start at $1,250 and include a year of maintenance support.