Vitria Brings 'IPhone-like' Interface to 'Holistic' Process Management

BPM suite combines modeling, management, monitoring and optimization presented in a single, highly visual interface.
Promising to do for business process management what the iPhone did for portable devices, Vitria this week announced M30, a BPM suite aimed at blending process management and event processing through a slick, Web 2.0-style interface. The result is described as a unified environment in which untrained business users can intuitively model, manage, monitor and optimize processes without help from IT.

Many BPM vendors having been working on intuitive modeling environments that can be used by both business and IT analysts, but M3O is said to extend this idea to all phases of process management and optimization without introducing separate tools and interfaces.

"This isn't just an Ajax-based portal added to the suite; it's a 100-percent Web 2.0 interface built on [Adobe] Flex," says Dale Skeen, founder and CTO of Vitria. "We've brought the kind of layered visualizations you see on the Web to a single environment for modeling, process collaboration, operation and optimization."

Just as you might see roads, retail locations or hotels superimposed over a Google Earth map, M30 is said to visually overlay role- and task-specific information on top of a shared process model, be it IT-relevant detail or business-oriented information on overall process performance or individual process instances. This unified experience will be "a game changer" says Forrester analyst Ken Vollmer.

"Roll-based modeling on its own is not new, but Vitria has introduced a slick interface that combines unified modeling with business activity monitoring and event processing, and it also abstracts a lot of the technical details away from the business user," says Vollmer. "The model you built is the model you watch executed and the model you optimize."

A new Exception Manager product offered with M3O is built on an event processing architecture designed to rapidly detect and respond to unusual or out-of-threshold events. Skeen acknowledges that event-driven architecture isn't new, "but we're letting business users define and manage event policies in business-friendly terms, and those policies can guide the business response to exception conditions."

Vollmer says the technology can monitor business processes as they execute and orchestrate repairs and responses to exceptions that occur in the course of normal processing. "If a retailer gets an invoice from a supplier and the invoice doesn't match the purchase order, you typically face a highly manual task of figuring out what went wrong," he explains. "M30 can automatically bring in the purchase order, the advanced ship notice, the receiving documents and maybe even relevant email messages. All that information is then presented to a knowledge worker so they don’t have to interrogate several back-end systems." In system-to-system scenarios, data could be presented to rules to automatically determine the best course of action.

Slick though it may sound, M30 isn't quite ready for the market. Vitria announced and is demonstrating the product this week at Gartner's BPM Summit in Las Vegas, but it won't be generally available until March.

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