At the end of last year I visited PNMSOFT in their offices in Watford as part of the Market Update Review I was carrying out. PNMSOFT is an interesting BPMS vendor as they are UK based, although the software is developed in Israel and, in addition, they are a Microsoft Platform vendor.
PNMSOFT were founded in 1996 and the product SEQUENCE was initially released in 2000. The current version is 6.4, but Bloor understands that a new release is due in early 2012. They are a gold ISV partner of Microsoft, as well as being a member of the Microsoft Business Process Alliance. The company has in recent years won partner of the year awards. I asked James Luxford, Global Head of Product marketing for PNMSOFT, what PNMSOFT were seeing, "We are starting to see more and more organisations thinking of moving to a Microsoft platform due to a lower cost of ownership". I asked how they saw Microsoft in the Business Process Management market. Luxford replied that with no real product coming from Microsoft itself, PNMSOFT were seeing a number of leads coming from Microsoft county sales. He also felt that there was a product versus service contention internally in some counties.
SEQUENCE is a web-based BPMS. Its development environment provides is easy-to-use for a business analyst to design forms, tasks, messages, system integration, and flow connections. As one would expect, there is a heavy integration and use of Microsoft software. Version 6 of the product was completely rewritten to work on .NET 3.5. SEQUENCE processes are, by default, initiated, run, managed and monitored from within a Microsoft SharePoint site. For MIS requirements, SEQUENCE supports integration with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services to enable managers to analyse performance and determine trends relating to KPIs and SLAs. In addition to integrating with Microsoft Office, SharePoint, and Dynamics products, it can be integrated with a wide range of external systems through industry-standard protocols such as Web Services, WCF and it also enables connection to commonly used enterprise applications such as SAP and Oracle.
Two new additions to SEQUENCE are support for mobile platforms and cloud support. For mobile runtime, PNMSOFT have introduced SEQUENCETO GO. This is a mobile portal that allows a business user to view and update details from a mobile phone. PNMSOFT are offering 2 different cloud solutions:
- SEQUENCEIN THE CLOUD - a Business Process Management (BPM) suite delivering enterprise capabilities.
- SEQUENCEFRAMEWORKS IN THE CLOUD - provides a selection of horizontal and vertical frameworks that enable customers to deliver benefits in specific areas within shorter timescales using existing content and building blocks.
It's that word "Frameworks" that makes me sit up. Why is that? Well what I see in the Process Automation market is that the 2 different approaches of packaged Software, such as ERP and the DIY approach of building processes outside your applications using BPMS software, are moving closer together.
In the last Bloor Market Update, I talked about the concepts of framework applications being delivered by BPMS vendors as a way that could reduce implementation time and exploit the skill of their own and their partners' consultants in particular industries. Well, this is what has happened and PNMSOFT are one of the vendors who have done this.
PNMSOFT have put together a series of vertical frameworks for different industries varying from Manufacturing, Defence, Financial Services and Travel. They have also produced a series of horizontal frameworks covering HR, Compliance, Customer Service, Purchasing, Outsourcing and Sales/Marketing. Now these are staring to be offered over the cloud. PNMSOFT let me know that a number of large SIs are very interested in developing further frameworks based on SEQUENCE.
In today's business driven world where time, agility and flexibility are very important, BPMS frameworks make a lot of sense for many organisations. It is gratifying to see that non-US based BPMS vendor is delivering such solutions.