With components of the software exposed as Web services, n3 will be able to integrate networked applications across a company. "This would take hundreds of hours of programming without Web services," says Ismael Ghalimi, chief strategy officer at Intalio.
N3 version 2.5 will feature a simplified user interface that will let business managers design workflows--for example, the route that an electronic invoice takes as it makes its way through inventory and accounts-receivable systems. Users can drag prebuilt icons around a Web-based interface to make the connections they want.
Some well-known businesses are already making use of such technology. Document-search firm LexisNexis, part of Reed Elsevier, was able to create an order-fulfillment system for small law-firm customers using Intalio applications, the vendor says. Its Web-based intranet fulfillment tool was set up to send an order in a predefined XML schema over the company intranet to an n3 server running Microsoft Windows 2000, where various processes and subprocesses are linked to a database to update order status and provide reporting. A LexisNexis spokesman confirms that the system slashed the time for fulfilling customer orders from 48 hours to two hours at the company.
More businesses are set to deploy business-process-management software as customers demand faster response times when doing business with a company in virtually any industry, says Ovum Research analyst Katy Ring. "Business-process flexibility is key to organizational survival."