Software AG, IDS Scheer execs give merger update

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Much of the focus of the opening keynote at the ProcessWorld 2010 conference on Tuesday was on the integration of product portfolios and the benefits of the partnership after Software AG announced it acquired IDS Scheer AG last year.

Software AG CEO Karl-Heinz Streibich told the audience that by buying the Germany-based business process management vendor, the company can keep up with a paradigm shift whereby the human workflow is increasingly being digitized and users need to reap more value from siloed applications like enterprise resource planning systems.VIDEO: In Conversation: dissecting ProcessWorld 2010

“With the acquisition of IDS Scheer, we have bridged the gap between business and IT, and IT and the business,” said Streibich, adding that organizations have for too long been relying on PowerPoint to visualize process design. “Let’s use ARIS,” he said, referring to IDS Scheer’s framework for BPM design and implementation.

Wolfram Jost, executive board member responsible for product strategy and development with IDS Scheer, told the audience while ARIS brings to the relationship business process methodologies, Software AG’s webMethods middleware brings to the table back-end capabilities for the IT department.

“Enterprise architecture and business process analysis are coming closer and closer,” said Jost. “My personal point of view is that in one year we will see that it is one.”

Jost sees services-oriented architecture, BPM and application integration as all moving closer. Interconnecting underlying components and creating services is an enabler for BPM and for application integration, he said.

“The new Software AG is the only company that I see that is able to put all these together to run integrated technology and to run an integrated management philosophy,” said Jost. “And that is what we call business process excellence.”

Overall, Jost described the integration of Software AG and IDS Scheer as one that “closes the loop” for customers who often asked why IDS Scheer never built its own execution engine. Despite the acquisition, IDS Scheer has emphasized that its ARIS platform will remain independent and that customers will continue to have the option of using an execution engine from the likes of IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Tibco.

In terms of product portfolio integration, webMethods will be integrated with ARIS Repository and centraSite.

Jost said process intelligence, a term coined by Software AG to mean the analytics reaped from underlying business processes, will be woven into the product stack by the end of 2010. So, atop webMethods Process Engine and webMethods Optimize will sit ARIS Process Performance Manager for analytics and ARIS MashZone for a user-friendly dashboard.  

In an interview with ComputerWorld Canada, Jost said the integration is going very well, many targets were reached and the company has shown its customers a clear roadmap as to how and why the portfolios will be integrated.

“A lot of things happened in the past year and the merger is running very successfully,” said Jost.

Customers still want independency of the ARIS platform, said Jost, but they also want to see what is possible from such a tight integration between webMethods and ARIS. Jost said he foresees some customers choosing to switch to webMethods from the middleware of other vendors like IBM, Oracle and Tibco.

The “stack” that IDS Scheer now offers will continue to broaden with components like event engine and rules, said Jost. “We will see more and more components but what’s important is the frame is there,” he said.

One customer, Puerto Rico-based telecom company OpenMobile, has been using ARIS for less than a year. Its director of audit, risk and compliance Karla Pinero, said her team is using various ARIS tools for architecting, risk and governance to document business processes across the 400-person organization. Before then, policies were outdated and sometimes not even written.

“I couldn’t apply controls or do a risk assessment because there wasn’t documentation of processes,” said Pinero.

Pinero’s objectives for process governance at OpenMobile are in line with IDS Scheer’s vision that BPM will someday move from domain expert to everyday worker. “I’m looking forward to people being accountable of the process, not having experts. So you have the managers, they’re going to process, review it, approve it,” said Pinero.

IDS Scheer/Process World 2010 continues through Wednesday of this week.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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