Fujitsu Interstage BPM

A few months back, I had a demo of Fujitsu’s Interstage BPM (unfortunately prefaced by 25 minutes of business strategy presentation). Interstage really has three components: the BPM product which I saw in this demo, the CentraSite BPM and SOA registry and repository, and the Service Orchestration ESB.

One thing to keep in mind is that Interstage BPM has primarily been used as an OEM BPM engine embedded within other products, so there’s a lot of stuff missing that you would find in other BPM suites; however, they integrate and partner with a number of other vendors to fill in some of the gaps. They also haven’t focussed as much on the North American market, so have much less of a marketing presence here.

Although they partner with Zynium, they now have a moderately functional process designer and see Zynium as a conversion utility rather than a ongoing process modelling tool. They also partner with IDS Scheer for a more full-featured process analysis environment, although with no round-tripping. Their claim is that Interstage BPM can “map all BPMN concepts”, but it doesn’t support all the notation explicitly: there’s no transaction wrapper, no intermediate events handling, and no swimlanes.

Process designer

It can extract WSDL from CentraSite, any UDDI directory or directly from a web service, and can call remote subprocesses from another BPM system (although technically that’s possible to/from any two BPM systems that expose subprocesses as web services).

They partner with both Fair Isaac and ILOG for business rules management, and can use IDS Scheer PPM and other 3rd party products for BI/BAM. Simulation is done using an Eclipse plug-in, or IDS Scheer’s PPM can be used for historical actual data simulation.

They demonstrated a browser-based end-user interface, with an inbox, item data and attachment, and the process map and progress, but this was a custom demo solution; it’s not clear if they have much of this available out of the box. You can create JSP forms with third-party tools and integrate them as the user interface using the underlying Java API, or can use (their?) QuickForms, which provides a simple HTML form that can be edited to suit.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s difficult to compare Interstage BPM with other BPMS because it’s really just emerging into the full-on BPMS market from its previous strength as an OEM product, and just starting a North American marketing push. Gartner’s 2006 BPMS Magic Quadrant put them in the “Challengers” category — good ability to execute, but less completeness of vision — along with other large BPM vendors FileNet and Global360; “ability to execute” is based in part on strong corporate financials and sales execution, so you’d expect to see this quadrant dominated by larger vendors. Forrester’s 2006 Wave for Human-Centric BPM puts them on the low end of the “Strong Performers” category, and characterizes them as “leads in OEM deals and standards but requires coding to build out advanced functionality”, which pretty much sums it up.

Fujitsu’s been in the workflow, and now BPM, market for a long time; it will be interesting to watch how the product develops over the next months to see if it can start to meet the functionality and vision of some of the market leaders.

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