This is one in a series of articles I shall be producing based on a major piece of research being undertaken by Bloor Research on the BPMS market. My thanks go to Dr. Ketabchi, President, CEO and Founder, and Ajay Khanna, Senior Director of Product Marketing & Management of Savvion for the information given during the survey. Savvion are one of the early developers and exploiters of BPMS technology along with Metastorm and Lombardi. In September 2008, Savvion released version 7.5 of their BusinessManager Suite. This announcement has been followed by series of other announcements about business frameworks. In this, the second of 2 articles, I will look at the new release and assess Savvion's USPs.
The New Release
One of the key new features is the Tabular Process Definition, for which there is a patent pending. This automatically generates a process diagram from the tabular format of process description. The resulting models are ready to be turned into executable applications without any conversion or modifications.
Secondly, to support project managers, Savvion have introduced what they call Project-Oriented Processes. Process design can be carried out in a project-like layout, where milestones and phases can be specified. Path and timeline analysis can be performed on the resulting process definitions. Additionally project data can be imported from Microsoft Project. The new auto-layout converts the imported project to a nicely formatted BPMN diagram. Also available for path analysis is innovative and patent pending 360degree view of process.
Savvion have introduced the Business Scheduler to addresses large-scale scheduling requirements to automate and run scheduled activities and processes. This component allows users to create and manage schedules of various process and non-process activities with complete run-time monitoring support.
One of the neat usability features included in this release for Process Modeler and BPM Studio is a new gestures feature. This allows users with a pen and tablet PC to draw symbols that are turned into process model components. Combine this with the new extended AJAX-based form designer, which gives business users drag-drop re-usable and user interface widgets and you can see the effort putting in by Savvion to make the analysis and design process easier..
The BusinessManager portal has been completely re-designed using Web 2.0, AJAX and widget components to make it easier to customise and extend. Document Management System Connectors for Documentum and Alfresco have been included in the new release.
Verifying the USPs
During the briefings for the BPMS research project, I have been asking the vendors to tell me about the Unique Selling Points (USPs), so that I can see how they actually stand up. Dr. Ketabchi explained that from a strategic viewpoint Savvion's USPs were to:
- Go beyond classic BPM to solve their customers' process problems.
- Bring higher value to their customers through their Vertical Expansion strategy.
- Provide end-to-end process services
- Achieve continued financial strengths through revenue growth and profitability.
Savvion provide all of what Bloor have termed BPMS v1 facilities in their latest Market Update Report (BPMS Market Update, December 2008), in that they offer process design, process engine, rules engine, BAM and adapter layer. Added to these capabilities, Savvion have extended the usability capability of their modelling environment in their latest release to provide a very easy to use design capability for business users. Additionally there is a work management capability that allows business users to see what tasks they have to do and for managers to be able to schedule where required. Put this with a number of other BPMS v2 capabilities such as SaaS and vertical frameworks and Savvion in v7.5 have made a very effective start in Bloor's view to supporting both the horizontal and vertical extensions required for Bloor's BPMS v2 model.
Savvion's Vertical Expansion strategy has seen them announce, in October 2008, the Communications Order Management Solution (COMS). This business framework leverages Savvion's track record of building order management solutions for many of the world's leading communications companies. The product helps both management and workers within service provisioning operations to better manage the end-to-end order management activities needed to fulfil a customer's service request. The second of these solutions that has been released in the Banking Foundation in November 2008 and allows banks to monitor and improve their business processes across a wide range of banking functions, including loan processing, underwriting, and servicing.