ProcessWorld 2008: Interview with Georg Simon

I had a chance for a private interview with Georg Simon, director of ARIS solutions, to get a bit more detail about their upcoming (March) release and other product plans for 2008. I was especially interested to hear about what’s happening with the execution engine to which Dr. Jost referred in his closing keynote yesterday.

The big news in the upcoming 7.1 release is model versioning, a long-awaited feature that allows you to see graphically how a model has changed between versions. In retrospect, I can’t see why they didn’t do this long ago; it seems like an obvious key capability and customers must have been crying for it. The new WYSIWYG report generator also seems like it’s a bit late to market. They’ve added some new Six Sigma support, as well as event monitoring as part of their monitoring and management offering.

I think of ARIS primarily as a modeling environment, but many of their customers also use their PPM process monitoring tool as well, which allows process measurements to flow back from the execution environment and be displayed and compared relative to the original models. As well as offering this directly, ARIS PPM is also bundled into some BPMS vendors’ monitoring capabilities, including TIBCO and Fujitsu.

Looking ahead to what will be released by the end of 2008, I was most interested in finding out about the execution engine; Simon stated that this will be for “non-operational” processes such as release cycles, and the processes that govern the creating of artifacts within ARIS. They’re service-enabling their platform so that it will both expose services and consume services, which means that it will be able to be called from other BPMS environments for similar functionality, and they admit that they might compete with low-end human-centric BPMS for non-operational processes. It appears that they’re avoiding any mention of operational processes because they don’t want to perceive to be in any sort of competition with their main partners, such as SAP, IBM and Microsoft.

They’re also planning to release some new risk and compliance management capabilities, not tied to any specific regulatory requirement but flexible enough to allow partners to build out vertical regulatory compliance solutions. Of course, they’ll have some of the big standards, such as SOX and Basel II, available out of the box but still customizable.

There’s also some new things coming allowing mashups of their monitoring capabilities in order to allow people to build their own dashboards, instead of being restricted to just customizing the out-of-the-box dashboard; I see this as a definite trend in process monitoring capabilities, and think that most vendors need to open up their monitoring environment using a variety of lightweight techniques such as JSR168 and RSS to meet future needs.

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