Intalio Brings Business Users into the Process Picture

November 23, 2003

Almost by definition, Business Process Management (BPM) products will be used by business users. Of course, BPM products require sophisticated backend connectivity capabilities (you actually have to coordinate systems, transactions, and data exchanges, after all), but as the BPM market matures, more and more emphasis is being placed on the ability of BPM products to more easily enable business power users to participate in and guide the development of process-driven integration solutions. For example, Sybase’s recently launched Integration Orchestrator is an integration product based on the Eclipse framework that provides multiple development “perspectives” that enable both process-focused business users and technology-focused integration developers to collaborate on an integration application.
With the release of Intalio|n3 2.5, BPM provider Intalio is upping the ante for business user involvement in both the user interface and the business rules area. While some BPM products support only rudimentary development of visual interfaces or require developers to use external HTML editors to do sophisticated page layout and design, Intalio|n3 2.5 includes a new WYSIWYG Page Designer that lets business users define page layouts and build forms without low-level coding. Running in a standard Web browser, the Page Designer provides a wide array of user interface (UI) components, including data tables, navigation elements, and buttons that can be used to assemble a UI. Developers (or business users) can then use Intalio’s Designer and Director tools to bind the UI to processes and backend systems and then deploy it to the appropriate process servers.
But BPM is not just about interfaces. It’s also about the rules that drive the decisions within a business process. Upside Research believes that being able to easily modify those decision criteria or business rules, and being able to distribute (or assign) the management of such rules to the appropriate people, is a critical part of a successful BPM solution. To this end, as part of the 2.5 release, Intalio has also announced a new partnership with business rules engine vendor Corticon. With the Corticon business rules engine and Intalio n|3 2.5, complex business rules can be externally stored in a rulesbase for easy and fast modification. Now, instead of having to code all decisions and business logic either within an Intalio process, or as part of individual, external programs/components invoked by an Intalio process, organizations can centralize the rules for complex process control flow into a rules repository.
In addition to these business user-focused enhancements, Intalio has also announced a partnership with Web Services vendor Systinet and its Web Application and Services Platform (WASP) product. Intalio customers can now use WASP to provide Web Services interfaces for all Intalio components.
The Upside Uptake
Upside Research believes that Intalio is on the right track with its Intalio|n3 2.5 release. As BPM products extend further into the business realm from their integration-focused origins, business-focused functionality is increasingly important. While organizations can certainly use 3rd-party interface design tools when creating a process-driven integration solution (and many BPM solutions require this), Intalio’s visually rich Page Designer provides a compelling and more seamless alternative. And while this functionality won’t matter much for back-office system-to-system integration processes, Upside Research believes that the broadest application of BPM will be in solutions that require some human interaction, and thus require a robust business-capable interface.
As important as the process component (the P) in BPM is, the management component (the M) is equally important. Management requires decisions. And decisions require business rules. Upside Research believes that robust, dynamic, enterprise-scale BPM solutions will require sophisticated business rules functionality, including the ability to easily store, search, modify, and distribute the business rules associated with a business process. Intalio’s new partnership with Corticon highlights our belief about the evolution of BPM solutions and provides them with a competitive offering in this area. Upside Research suggests that any organization considering a BPM solution as a strategic investment or as a component of their infrastructure should make sure to evaluate potential BPM solutions on their business rules capabilities.

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