I spent a quick but very interesting day at the annual user conference for IDS Scheer, the progenitors of the Aris BPM solution. In case you hadn’t heard of it, Aris holds the singular distinction of being included in the partner roadmaps of rivals SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, all without hell freezing over or any other such cataclysmic event taking place.
And what I learned at the conference, other than the fact that Aris is really trying hard to make the world of BPM safe for the process experts on whose shoulders everything rides, is the following:
Aris and the BPM concepts it’s based on have a lot of implications for pretty much every hot button in the enterprise market today: GRC, BI/analytics and performance management, upgrades, SOA. It boils down to the simple fact that all of the above don’t mean a hill of beans if the processes that are being measured, upgraded, tested or linked together in a service architecture don’t themselves make sense. All roads lead to BPM, and few understand that better than IDS Scheer.
Despite the point above, user organizations still have a long way to go in terms of realizing the benefits of leading with BPM. That’s because most process people have spent their careers learning the ropes of their jobs and the processes that govern them largely by rote. Rote is hard to translate into formal processes by people who didn’t formally learn them in the first place. That means there’s both a lot of challenges and a lot of growth potential in the cards for IDS Scheer.
Greatly helping the cause for IDS Scheer is its unparalleled position at the crossroads of the enterprise software market today. If you dig under the covers in SAP’s Business ByDesign, Oracle’s Fusion, and some of the BPM capabilities in Microsoft’s Biztalk server, you’ll find Aris. Even if you’d be hard-pressed to find any mention of Aris in most of these company’s marketing materials. Which means the industry’s top vendors are counting on IDS Scheer to help transition those rote learned business processes into something reusable a la BPM, preferably without admitting whose software is really in charge.
Founder August-Wilhelm Scheer plays a pretty mean baritone sax, and presents an extremely cogent argument about the relationship between jazz, software, and BPM. Scheer used the acronym APRIL to describe the relationship (which Tony Baer describes in detail here). Turns out that if you can play Nat Adderley and Duke Ellington with a pick-up quartet, you’re well on your way to becoming a BPM expert. That’s is no excuse for running around singing “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that BPM”, but the sentiment is a valid one. And, listening to Scheer play jazz and talk about APRIL made for one of the more interesting luncheon presentations I’ve ever seen.
Okay, so the bar is pretty low for interesting luncheon presentations, but nonetheless….