Eight months after Microsoft chose IDS Scheer as a preferred BPM modeling and monitoring partner, IDS Scheer has released its first integrations of its ARIS modeling language to BizTalk. It adds an API that replaces the need to custom program interfaces.
IDS Scheer made its announcement last week at Microsoft’s BPM conference, the same event where Microsoft unveiled its ambitious Oslo strategy to make BizTalk much friendlier to BPM modeling in the same way that SQL Server’s addition of OLAP and similar capabilities mass popularized business intelligence.
At that time, Microsoft spoke about the unique opportunity to take BPM mainstream, said Kapi Attawar, vice president of strategic alliances for IDS Scheer. Last week’s announcement of integration with BizTalk is a sign that it is gaining parity in ARIS support alongside SAP and Oracle.
Attawar cautioned that, while the announcement signifies that BizTalk is to become a prime target of ARIS, the way it would integrate would likely differ from Scheer’s ERP partners. Microsoft is a different opportunity, he said, referring to Oslo. They [Microsoft] are building a lot of extensions that integrate with multiple products, from SharePoint to Workflow Foundation, and Visual Studio. We could take advantage of all this, with processes that can map all the way up to Microsoft Office.
Since last winter’s announcement, IDS Scheer has prototyped the new APIs with nearly a dozen customers evenly sprinkled across the globe. IDS Scheer expects to formally release its new integrations to BizTalk Server sometime in the first half of next year.
This is yet another example of the trend to make business process models directly executable, minus the step of going through code generation first. In essence, it makes modeling a BPM process similar to modeling a process for an ERP application, except that with ERP, the options are obviously far more constrained by the application vendor’s existing functionality.
Scheer’s tie-in with Microsoft Oslo also offers what in the long run could become a far more flexible alternative to Duet, Microsoft’s joint offering with SAP that plugs specific SAP processes into Microsoft Office. In that instance, Duet is a specialized extension of a full-blown application, meaning that for now you can only take functionality that SAP has specifically developed. In this case, you could have a BPM-model driven process that could get the same advantage of using the well-known Microsoft Office front end.
The catch is that Microsoft has a lot of development work ahead of it before Oslo, and IDS Scheer’s piece of it, becomes reality. Right now, Microsoft is saying, wait until 2009 or 2010.