TIBCO BPM Product Update and Strategy

The TUCON 2012 keynotes are done, and all of my analyst meetings have finished, so I’m free to attend some of the breakout sessions. This afternoon, I went to the BPM update with Roger King (director of BPM product strategy) and Justin Brunt (BPM product manager).

The current AMX BPM release is 1.3.1, with 2.0.0 coming in November, bringing a number of enhancements:

  • Some impressive performance statistics within a single engine: 20,000 simultaneous users opening and completing work items, and management of 1.6M process instances and 18.8m activities in a 10-hour working day.
  • Better administrative tools for managing halted process instances, including being able to examine the instance payload.
  • Worklist views can now be server-based, so that a filtered view of a work list is passed to the client rather than the entire list for client-side filtering.
  • Pageflow debugging and testing tools.
  • Calendaring to control deadlines and work assignment. This allows different calendars to be created for different business areas, each of which can have its own time zone, holiday schedule and working hours. These calendars are then used to calculate deadlines for work assigned to a business unit that references that calendar. Calendars can be assigned to work dynamically at runtime, or at design-time.
  • Changes to the in-process event handling, with improved support for event handler patterns including non-interrupting boundary events for catching external thrown events.
  • Enhancements to work item deadline handling and priority management.
  • Immediate reply with process ID when starting a process instance using a web service.
  • Optimization of large forms when they are used as application interfaces.

This is a fairly long list of mostly minor features, specifically to address customer requests, and gets the x.0 numbering only to indicate that it’s moving from an early-stage to stable product version.

Going forward, they’re looking a satisfying the needs of the initial customers and core market, then adding features for the pure BPMS functionality and intelligent business platform. The high priority candidates include a number of performance enhancements, plus improvements to single sign-on and multi-tenancy. Medium priorities include enhanced form control support; getting BPM event data into external systems by defining custom events and including business data in externally published events; enhanced access control; enhanced web services; and greater control over process instance data purging.

In order to compete better in the BPMS market, they’re looking at updating their standards compliance (BPMS 2.0 and CMIS), and providing a case management offering. Case management will include an adaptive end user interface, global case data and content management integration, improved integration with social streams including tibbr and Nimbus, and plan-based process management (i.e., using a Gantt chart style interface). They will be moving onto the Silver Marketplace structure for public cloud, which I know will be exciting for a number of customers.

Looking at the intelligent business platform functionality, their vision includes event intelligence and the use of realtime data to inform process execution. There will also be enhancements to their AMX Decisions rules product, which is pretty rudimentary right now.

iProcess is still alive and well, with a list of performance and feature enhancements, but they’re certainly not encouraging new development on iProcess. However, they do not appear to be throwing the existing iProcess customers under the bus by sunsetting the product any time soon.

BPM systems are becoming complete development environment for enterprise application development, and any BPMS needs to offer a complete suite of capabilities for application developers as well as business analyst and end-user tools. AMX BPM is continuing to build out their feature set, in part by integrating with other products in their portfolio, and they offer a fairly complete set of functions as they move into the version 2.x product cycle. The challenge for them is not so much new customers, which they are now well-positioned to win, but in convincing the existing iProcess customers to redevelop their iProcess applications on AMX BPM, or at least to start new application development on AMX BPM.

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