ARIS to remain independent after Software AG merger

SAARBRÜCKEN, GERMANY – Business process management (BPM) vendor IDS Scheer AG insists its ARIS platform will remain vendor-independent regardless of planned tight integration with Software AG’s product portfolio following the acquisition by the infrastructure software vendor.

German-based IDS Scheer announced last July it would be acquired by Software AG.

“The independence of ARIS is one of the major assets,” said Wolfram Jost, executive board member responsible for product strategy with the BPM vendor, speaking at the opening keynote of the company’s ARIS UserDay event in this city.

ARIS (Architecture of Integrated Information Systems) platform is a framework of strategy, design, implementation and control of business processes.

Despite integration of ARIS with Software AG’s Webmethods, IDS Scheer wants to maintain an independent BPM environment for its customers, said Jost.

Software AG acquired Webmethods in 2007.
“The independence of ARIS is one of the major assets,” said Wolfram Jost

Customers will continue to have the option of choosing execution engines from vendors besides Software AG like SAP AG, Oracle Corp., Tibco Software Inc., and IBM Corp., said Jost.

IDS Scheer CEO Peter Gerard described the merger as a “successful fit” while also emphasizing the continuation of ARIS as a “brand” that is product independent.

Also at the keynote, Jost said the company’s vision is for everyday end users to be involved in business process management (BPM) within their organizations.

Not all employees will necessarily be process modeling, but their individual roles will touch BPM, said Jost.

“Our clear objective is to involve more and more users to our technology,” said Jost.

While business process modeling was once the domain of modeling experts, Jost said the user community has begun and will continue to diversify.

“This will be not a process for one week or one month, but I think for the next year, we will see a community get bigger and bigger,” said Jost.

Recent innovations, some still in beta, by IDS Scheer support this strategy to build community and broaden the user base. The ARIS Community, launched several weeks ago, is a forum where ARIS users and prospects assemble to share knowledge on the ARIS technology.

The community gets 1,600 daily visits and has garnered nearly 5,000 registrations thus far. “The community, I think, will be a central part of our future strategy,” said Jost, adding that through the site, the company receives user feedback on its technology.

Another innovation, ARIS MashZone, in beta, is aimed at business users with no programming know-how who need to build their own analytical applications.

“It doesn’t make sense to go to the IT department to ask for more KPIs (key performance indicators) because it needs too much time to get the data,” said Jost, referring to business intelligence applications that don’t give visibility at the departmental level.

ARIS Rocket Search is a search functionality that will eventually become the interface for all ARIS applications to help users find data without needing methodology knowledge, as the current search functionality requires, said Jost.

Jost also highlighted ARIS Express, a free version of ARIS with limited functionality that will give prospects a taste of the next professional version should they want to move beyond occasional use.

And, ARIS Process Performance Manager Version 5 has a new in-memory architecture so data is better accessible to users. “There is nothing more worse than to sit in front of an analytical application, to define a report and then wait,” said Jost.

He noted that this is the first time that the company has had the opportunity to introduce this number of new components at one time.

An IDS Scheer customer, Swiss-based telecommunications company Swisscom Ltd., with 15 million network customers, implemented ARIS Process Performance Manager to control its contract and order-handling process to track and hasten the delivery of orders for its various offerings.

Markus Witschi, operations manager with Swisscom, said with the 30 alternative DSL providers in the country, the company couldn’t afford to be lax when fulfilling customer orders.

“Now we are really close to the business and we can act fast on what’s happening,” said Witschi. The system now produces 19 different types of transparent reports to 2,500 users.

However, Witschi cautioned that organizations looking to implement dashboards should consider the hesitation users might have towards working with such an interface.

Another customer, Coca Cola Erfrisgungsgetraenke AG, has begun a pilot project to standardize processes in the beverage bottling plant, as per a wider global initiative. Alexander Grobe, innovation specialist with the German-based location, which has 11,500 employees and produces 3.5 billion litres in annual sales volume, said the goal of standardization was to find opportunities of economies of scale.

But Grobe said the project was complicated by the fact that Coca Cola Erfrisgungsgetraenke AG, as a result of an integration of 70 locations, had to deal with more than 100 systems, more than 700 business process models, and a “regional and very midsized company mindset.”

The ARIS platform, said Grobe, was used to design, implement and control the business processes, from a holistic perspective.

IDS Scheer’s ARIS UserDay continues Wednesday.

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