When BEA bought Plumtree several months ago, a lot of people in the industry said ‘Huh?... and how does this help their strategy? Don’t they already have a portal?” Well, it looks like BEA is at it again with another acquisition of a proprietary, pure-play vendor. This time it’s BPM also-ran, Fuego. As Anne Manes from the Burton Group sarcastically says "Our strategy is already confusing, let's make it more so..."....the BPM market is founded on legacy, proprietary technologies, and the success of SOA is dependant on open standards. How does the addition of more proprietary technologies get them closer to supporting SOA? How in the world are they going to rationalize two non-integrated portal products and two non-integrated proprietary process tools (lets not forget about WebLogic Integration!) into an integrated, standards-based SOA platform??...And all of this is coming from a company who used to preach the benefits of an integrated platform! Well you can kiss those days good-bye.
Before blogging about it though, I asked BEA if it might be interested in responding to Mr. O'Toole's rhetoric. The response came on March 16th, the day of my back surgery. So, although it's slightly belated, here are a few highlights from a letter that BEA's director of investor relations Eric Stahl sent to me in response (spelling errors corrected):
- To provide the best integration possible, BEA is incorporating the best of each solution. Fuego is anything but an “also-ran” company; Fuego is widely considered the #1 BPM product in the market, winning Network Computing labs based review of BPM products.
- The acquisition also expands BEA’s presence in the integration market by adding a market-leading business process management portfolio to BEA’s existing market-leading integration product portfolio. The assertion that these are proprietary technologies is not correct. Fuegeo supports BPEL, Web services and other relevant standards to ensure portability and interoperability of applications.
- Plumtree already had a product based on Fuego, so a great deal of product integration between the BPM and Portal tools has already been done. And, they both run on WebLogic. Therefore the assertion that these are “two non-integrated portal products and two non-integrated proprietary process tools” is at best misguided.
Those are the highlights. But there's more if you want to read the letter which I posted on a separate page.