BEAParticipate: Product updates

The general session continues with some BEA product and services information from Shane Pearson, VP of Marketing and Product Management someone whose name that I missed since I was late coming into the session after the break (someone help me out with the name, please), particularly what’s been done in the past year:

  • In AquaLogic User Interaction, there’s some new integrations, improved usability, and greater platform support. They also have some new solution suites; listed under services, I’m not sure how productized these are, or whether they have to come as a professional services offering.
  • In ALBPM, they’ve re-branded and internationalized the Fuego product, and enhanced its integration with other BEA products such as the service bus. They’ve enhanced both the business and developer tools. As with the ALUI products, they now offer strategy workshops, and there are a number of BPM-specific educational offerings such as BPM lifecycle assessment, some of which are available online.
  • In Enterprise Social Computing, the release of the new AL Pages, Ensemble and Pathways products. They also offer management consulting in this area (yes, the phrase “new paradigms” was used); I see this sort of consulting as a huge growth area in the Enterprise 2.0 space, but not necessarily one that can be addressed by product vendors.

Great quote from the presentation: “People use enterprise systems where they provide value, but otherwise work outside enterprise systems for day-to-day work.” For years, I’ve been going into customers and pinpointing deficiencies in their enterprise systems (and usually, therefore, in their business processes) by finding out where they use Excel, Access and paper log files: these are the mechanisms that they create for when the enterprise systems don’t provide sufficient value or actually hinder the process. Or, as was stated as the dilemma of the information worker on a later slide, “Our ability to create information has outstripped our ability to easily and accurately use this information in the context of business”.

They see their three main product foci as enterprise social computing, BPM and SOA, with impacts on people and participation as well as technology. The product portfolio breaks down as follows:

  • Social computing: AquaLogic Pages, AquaLogic Ensemble and AquaLogic Pathways
  • Activity servers: AquaLogic Commerce Services, AquaLogic Interaction Analytics, AquaLogic Interaction Collaboration, AquaLogic Interaction Publisher and AquaLogic Interaction Search
  • Interaction servers: AquaLogic Interaction and WebLogic Mobility Server
  • BPM: AquaLogic BPM (which is a suite including modelling and analytics in addition to the execution engine)

There was a comment about BPM standards such as BPMN and XPDL being supported in the next version — this is something that I’ll want to drill into during a more detailed session or demo. They’re also adding RSS enablement, so that work lists can be consumed with any feed reader tool.

The focus at the end of the presentation came back to social computing — as I mentioned earlier, BEA is obviously betting a lot on this new market segment. I’ve been reading and writing so much about these technologies that much of this is old hat, but it’s likely pretty new for much of the audience, or at least its application within the enterprise is a new concept. “Users at the center”, “Poised to transform the enterprise”: all the right buzz phrases in place. There were some interesting stats about the use of social computing within organizations, some of which I find hard to believe: 15% using internal blogs? Also, Pearson the presenter has a pretty slim grasp of aggregate statistics, since he added up all the % of who is using enterprise blogs, wikis, bookmarking, etc., and stated that 80% of organizations are using social computing. Um, maybe not. The 15% who are using internal blogs almost certainly has nearly 100% overlap with the 18% who are using internal bookmarking. The stats shown for consumer social networking participation also look high compared to what I’ve seen recently: 13% of people who are online are creating web pages, blogs and YouTube videos?

There’s a not-surprising chart about age demographics and social networking: I’m a “young boomer”, apparently, and only 12% of us in this age category create content on the web, so I’m obviously an outlier with three blogs, 3000 Flickr photos, a few videos on YouTube, hundreds of bookmarks on del.icio.us.

it’s obvious that the MySpace generation is driving much of the content creation and, if they ever get jobs, will be the ones forcing the adoption of social computing within the enterprise.

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