Ultimus: Product Road Map

Chris Adams from Ultimus product marketing management gave us a brief view of the road map and product vision for Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite. Not surprisingly, their product manages the entire process lifecycle, and is focused on continuous process optimization. They’re a strong Microsoft shop — you’ll find them near the top of the Microsoft version of the Forrester wave report for human-centric BPM — with SharePoint integration as well as the underlying Microsoft infrastructure support. They have a very Microsoft 2007 look and feel, e.g., the use of ribbon bars.

Their last major version was 8, in October 2007, but they’re still supporting V7 (90% of customers are still on that platform) and some V6. They have a migration strategy that allows you to run two servers simultaneously, gradually migrating process instances from one to another, even directly from V6 to V8.

The improvements in 8.1 were around collaboration and efficiency features; they need to spend a bit more time on some of the BPM standards, where they’re far behind, but they’re planning to implement BPMN in V8.2 in December, and BPEL and XPDL in V8.3 in spring 2009. Also coming in 8.2 is an interactive process history and auditing, plus a Visual Studio plug-in for better integration into the Microsoft development environment.

V8.3 will also see the entire suite (except server components) moved to zero footprint applications: no desktop applications, even for process modeling. They’ll be open sourcing some of their components, as well as including some social software concepts such as presence awareness, collaboration on tasks, sharing tasks, and collecting feedback during transactional processes.

A nice segue to my talk, where I talk about social computing as one of the key components of the future of BPM.

Over and above the enhancements to the core suite, they’re evolving from one product to multiple products. They see the need for a lighter suite (currently labeled as “Workflow Suite”, which likely won’t be the final name) for global markets: a low-cost (about 20% of the BPM Suite price) BPM solution with the same core engine, but some features turned off, and exposed APIs for regional partners to build applications. They’re also keeping an eye on SaaS directions, but have no announcements in that area; however, with the move to a zero-footprint suite, they’re positioning themselves well for that eventuality.

They’ll be releasing a number of templates as a starting point for new processes, including verticals such as finance and healthcare/pharmaceuticals, plus horizontal processes like human resources and IT.

They’re pushing a lot of online training for their product, which makes sense considering that they’re a relatively small company covering a large geography.

With most of the people in the room still on V7, this is a bit of a sales job to get them to move over to V8: more than 500 new features, more out of the box functionality, reusable features and functions, and connectors to web services and many other data sources.

Chris will be doing a more in-depth view of this tomorrow, but this gave us a quick overview.

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