After two years of development, Software AG has released webMethods 8.0 and integrated a Business Service Repository. This is Software AG's first build of webMethods since purchasing it in 2007. Utilizing a pluggable Eclipse-based design environment and business intelligence (BI) features, the release seeks to enable developers and business people to work together in service oriented architectures (SOA).
A global provider of business infrastructure software, this is Software AG's first build of webMethods since purchasing it in 2007.
"One of the biggest challenges business people and IT people have is understanding what's already been done either inside their businesses or in others," said Susan Ganeshan, senior vice president at Software AG. The Business Service Repository provides that ability to understand and "be inspired by other people's work," according to Ganeshan.
The CentraSite repository provides a centralized location for all of a company's services to live. Any or all of these services can then be shared with a global community of users.
A repository in and of itself, reminds Ken Vollmer, principal analyst with Forrester Research, but he marks the webMethods 8.0 business repository as highly integrated into the development process. Both development and the business can benefit.
"It's quite significant, because it allows each party to see what's important to them," said Vollmer. "It automates a lot of that information sharing that's so important."
For instance, if someone outside the development team makes a change to a service, Vollmer said, the developers will see it in their process model.
An included set of business intelligence features allows developers to monitor process analytics in real time and compare them against historic trends.
Since the platform is built on Eclipse, developers can configure their environments with external components. "If developers want to use their own source code controls or testing, there are hundreds of Eclipse plug-ins that can be used in conjunction with our tooling," Ganeshan said.
Better BPM through IT-business collaboration
In addition to providing the software, Software AG has been building a community of IT and business professionals to collaborate around improving business processes. This is done through its BPM-centered social network, AlignSpace.
The goal is to provide an environment where IT and business people would feel comfortable communicating for better BPM.
"We had this idea that business people are more apt to be involved if there are no barriers," Ganeshan said.
AlignSpace is an area where BPM-focused professionals can collaborate on process models and share knowledge with each other. Ganeshan said the Software as a Service offering has more than 50 members.
On the idea of a community of companies sharing business processes and best practices, Vollmer said only time will tell. Inside an individual company, streamlining BPM is no small task, he said.
"I'm not sure that [the] enterprise is ready for that yet," Vollmer said.