Singularity Process Platform: still one to watch!

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Content Copyright © 2007 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

In the Bloor Business Process Management Report in 2006, we gave
Singularity a “One to Watch” status. What does the new version 3.5
do to that rating?

Singularity was founded in 1994 and are headquartered in Derry,
Northern Ireland, UK. Singularity’s Vision is that Business Processes
are what differentiate companies and therefore should be managed by
the business owners. People are central to business processes and
system-to-system integration is essential. BPM should be delivered
on SOA.

The Singularity Process Platform is based on core
Microsoft technology and leverages Web services, COM, XML and other
prevalent standards for interoperability. Singularity components
implement a Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), so that each
component can call any other service, and can itself be called as a
service. With the new version it also deploys on J2EE.

The Suite has 4 components:

  • Builder, which models processes, workflows and interface
  • Driver, which orchestrates process automation and
  • Monitor, which provides insight into business process
  • Optimizer, which enables continuous improvement of process

The following additions to the product have been made in version

  • Case Management: In Release 3.4 Singularity introduced a Case
    Management1 capability for managing knowledge centric
    processes. Singularity has added a host of features to its BPM
    suite, such as case definitions, shared case data, dynamic
    attachment of new processes on the fly, automatic milestone
    recalculation, dynamic role allocation. These new features make the
    product extremely supportive of government procedures like
    Immigration or finance procedures like claims.
  • Unification of modelling environment: Singularity
    auto-generates its interfaces from underlying process definitions,
    and then allows the user to edit and redraw the screens in a
    full-featured forms design environment. In this release the process
    modelling and forms modelling features have been integrated into
    one user environment.
  • SharePoint integration: In release 3.5. Singularity have
    provided core Singularity interface components as web parts that
    can be customized and plugged in to a SharePoint portal. This is in
    addition to the existing integration to SharePoint server 2003 and
    2007 for document management:

    • Singularity business processes and workflows can create,
      store, retrieve, update and delete any documents held in SharePoint
    • Document creation, routing and approval can be graphically
      modelled by business users then executed without IT
    • Documents can be accessed from SharePoint Server and
      displayed via Singularity interfaces or via SharePoint Portal
    • Singularity business processes can monitor for SharePoint
      server events such as the creation or update of a document
    • Process Portal: Singularity is providing an out of the box
      process portal. Common workflow and process interface components
      such as work queues and status lists are provided as ready-made
      components in a portal interface, with users able to customize the
      look-and-feel of the portal pages.
  • ASAP Delivery Methodology: Singularity has formalized their
    delivery approach into a methodology, known as ASAP. It is an
    iterative delivery methodology based on Agile principles, and
    beginning with competitive team-based ‘hothouses’. Singularity’s claim
    is that using the methodology enables them to deliver working
    solutions to their customers in 90 days or less. It is particularly
    suited to business process improvement projects where the objective
    is to ensure business managers understand and control the delivery

Other additions include support for:

  • Predictive Analytics
  • Process Modelling—BPMN, case modelling, role modelling,
    milestones, states, custom nodes, handwriting recognition
  • Forms & Interface enhancements
  • BAM & KPI Modelling enhancements

Singularity packs a big punch, particularly in the vertical
sectors in which it has gained extensive business process knowledge
of Capital Markets, Telecommunications and Government. The new
release has seen the introduction of a number of improvements and
additions to the product reviewed in the 2006 Report2. Of
particular note are the additions in the Case Management
capability. This is a very smart piece of technology. In 2006,
Bloor gave this product a “One to Watch” status. We still see this
as true, but for the three verticals that Singularity specialises
in then this product could be the one for you.

A detailed Product Evaluation of Singularity 3.5 is available
from Bloor Research.

[1] Case management scenarios are familiar to anyone who has lodged a
planning application, applied for a visa or made a complaint to a
government agency in that they refer to the management of an
individual’s interaction with an organization or government agency
over time. Cases are sets of processes and records that relate to a
service interaction or series of interactions. Cases have to allow
for a much wider range of variability and adaptability at execution
time compared to more familiar business processes.

[2] Business Process Management, Robin Bloor and Terry Schurter, Bloor
Research, 2006