Ultimus – Gold Star in 2006, where in 2007?

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Content Copyright © 2007 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

In the 2006 Bloor Market Report on BPM, Ultimus BPM Suite was awarded a Gold award. So what has happened with the introduction of version 7.1 and now of version 8 of this product? During mid-September of 2007, I had a conference call with Rick Thompson, Ultimus’s Chief Marketing Officer. I followed this with attending a seminar in the UK organised by Ultimus UK Partner, Quixa, where I met Rick Ellis, their Sales Director, and John Elliot, their MD. Based on these 2 meetings I have come across one of the easiest to use BPM tools I have seen so far.

Ultimus were founded in 1994 and are headquartered in North Carolina, USA. They have 2 Development Centres—Panama (Banking Hub) and Pakistan. There are sales offices in 20 countries. Ultimus were one of the early entrants into the BPM market and, from the start, they have had a vision that they have followed relentlessly. Led by visionary Rashid Khan, Ultimus does not follow market fads or hot buzzwords. Instead, the company gets close to users in the field as they design product, develop training and methods and deliver customer success.

Ultimus is a “no-code” BPM product, meaning that in the majority of applications there really is no code written by any developers. The suite consists of a number of components:

  • Ultimus Process Designer is a stand-alone desktop application for process modelling and analysis and is designed for the Business Analyst. Ultimus V8 has added round-trip optimisation to the modelling environment, as well as the concept of swim colours ( a way of visualising which steps in a process are associated with which job function).
  • Ultimus Organisation Chart is linked to an organisation’s identity management system, and allows a user to search for an identity associated with a particular job function. Ultimus supports two types of Organization Charts, Directory Chart and Business Charts.
  • Ultimus BPM Studio allows teams to collaboratively develop and modify existing processes by giving process developers the ability to check in and check out individual process components. Ultimus BPM Studio has an integrated Form Designer.
  • Ultimus Collaborative Client is the main user interface into the Suite and is designed for Work Teams. It is used for sign-in. Once verified, the user is then presented with a portal like screen.
  • Ultimus Director is the user environment for Adaptive Discovery (more of this later) where business rules can be accessed, changed, tested and deployed to the production system.
  • Ultimus True SOA Server is the BPM Server that controls the execution of a process and coordinates and synchronizes the responses from the clients. It performs the housekeeping, decision-making and routing functions required for process management. It also manages all live processes and the status of each incident. In Ultimus V8, the BPM server has been re-architected in SOA using standard web services.
  • 3D XML Data Modeller is a new introduction with version 8, which allows Ultimus to natively import and reuse a complex hierarchical data schema from another application such as an ERP system and makes the entire schema and type definitions available to be applied to an Ultimus process without any coding or development work.
  • Ultimus Reports module in V8 provides visibility into business data and process metrics and allows for analytics and root cause analysis. Out-of-the-box reporting templates are provided for numerous time, cost and utilisation reports at both the process level and step level. Drill down reports are accessed by simply clicking on any part of the graphic to see a more granular report. Customised reports can also be created for both process and business data from Ultimus and 3rd party applications.
  • Ultimus iBAM Suite is a complementary application that provides business managers with visibility into their processes and control over them. The iBAM Suite enables business professionals to create KPI gauges and controls and to adjust processes interactively to close the loop and achieve dynamic optimisation.
  • Ultimus Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) is a separate application that generates management cockpits displaying current business performance and objectives.

Adaptive Discovery is a patented technology innovation from Ultimus that allows automated processes to be deployed without requiring complete process maps and definitions. As a process is used, the Ultimus Adaptive Discovery technology detects when the BPM Server does not have the information about what should happen next in a process or who should do the next work step. When this occurs, a message is sent to a process expert (or group of experts). The process expert uses his knowledge of the business and the context of the current incident to create a rule that defines what happens next (an action), and why. Once he defines the rule, he applies it against the current case, causing the desired activities (routing or other actions) to occur.

Ultimus is developed on top of the Microsoft platfrom and there is a close relationship between the two companies, even to Microsoft being a customer of Ultimus! Ultimus has achieved Microsoft Gold Certification as an ISV. The BPM Suite is fully .NET compliant and integrates with Microsoft technologies through the Ultimus .NET Flobot which can be “trained” to call .NET code without requiring programming.

Ultimus BPM-based solution is deployed using Ultimus’ comprehensive BPM Delivery Approach to create a complete lifecycle solution and includes:

  • Ultimus Functional Blueprints: a clear view of the “big picture” departmental process architecture to effectively design and plan process automation in alignment with the business goals.
  • Ultimus Process Prototypes: accelerators for a BPM deployment effort by jump starting process design and automation with real best practice examples of process workflows.

Of all the specialist companies operating in the BPM space, Ultimus has an impressive number of customers—1600—in a wide area of industry sectors, with 12 years of experience in the realm of BPM. With a geographical footprint far exceeding any of the other BPM vendors that were not already established in another market, Ultimus is noted for its simplicity and flexibility in both implementation and operation.

To facilitate change, Ultimus delivers a complete set of adaptive technologies across roles, rules, steps, forms, interoperability and data models. This adaptive approach extracts process components and places them in accessible repositories and interfaces where it is easier and faster for BPM stakeholders to make change.

Ultimus also shows market leadership in the support of the adaptive and subjective needs of processes where people are the primary participants of the process with capabilities like Adaptive Discovery that allow “unruly” events to be identified in real-time process operation, resolved and include the resolution into the process model itself (process evolution).

Ultimus BPM Suite is a product that Bloor would advise any organisation to have on their list of possibles. Its ease of use is quite outstanding. The Enterprise Performance Management capabilities provide excellent support for rectification as well as simulation after changes have been made.