It may not be proper protocol to blog about an event I'm not attending, but here goes: Wrapping up tomorrow is a user conference I would have attended if cloning had been invented in time, if only for the ability to judge from a front row seat the forward progress that SOA and process modeling are making. That user conference is run by one of the more obscure companies you should be watching if you want to know what's really happening in the march towards a process-driven, model-based, SOA world. The company is IDS Scheer, the product is Aris, and, if you're wondering how the future of software may turn out, this is one place to look.
Aris has the distinction of being one of those de facto standards that transcend the wonderful competitive battlegrounds that keep the enterprise software market interesting. That's because, in a marketing coup that says a lot about the company and its leadership, Aris is on the partner short list at SAP and Oracle as well as other, less well-known companies like Ramco Systems. Rumor has it Microsoft Dynamics is next.
What this applications neutrality means is true nirvana for the IT and business manager who wants to model and re-model and re-deploy key business processes without worrying about what the underlying applications code looks like. This is really what business process management should be all about -- the process, not the technology, not the application, not the platform. Make the models work, make sure the people who know the models can understand and improve them, and leave the actual deployment to someone else.
Of course, nothing works that easily, and the part in which a button is pressed and the model becomes deployed in a fully-formed software application, is still, with some notable exceptions -- Ramco being one of them -- on the drawing board. That button will start to appear soon, and will allleviate a fair amount -- though not all -- of the coding that has to take place as a business process model becomes reality.
But even more important is how easy Aris has made it for real people -- those business analysts or other mythical creatures who consume lots of tech without necessarily knowing anything about it -- to start down the modeling/SOA path: I've spoken recently with a number of mid-market users of Aris, all of whom grock the value of business process modeling and SOA, and all of whom find Aris to be a great way to get started down that path.
Sorry I had to miss this particular user conference, famille oblige. But I haven't missed the uptake of Aris on the market, or what that uptake means for the future of business modeling and SOA. Both are alive and well, it turns out, and both are turning up in just the right places to ensure that, however slow the progress is today for SOA and business modeling, it's going to hit its stride soon. And that will be a wonderful thing to behold.