SoftwareAG Process Forum: nice legs, shame about the face


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SoftwareAG held it’s Process Driven Forum today, dubbed as their “biggest annual event in the process management calendar“. Apart from the plethora of free “Dummies Guide” books on choice subjects like BPM and Process Driven Master Data Management we were treated presentations from EE, The UK Police and Vodafone.

The keynote from Ivo the COO was fairly lacklustre so it took the compere Matt Jeffries and an appearance from Nick Leeson on his Barings demise to spice things up. The one track I was really interested in was the ‘Real Time Customer Experience Management’ breakout where Terracotta promised to show off some of its Big Data plumage but it turned into a fairly weak and standard ‘Nexus of Forces’ run through which we heard at the beginning.

Statements like “Big Data, Integration and Business Process combined are game changing” are fair enough as a powerpoint bullet but without substance to back this up to an expectant audience looking to reap the benefits is unacceptable these days. I expected a lot more from Terracotta and SoftwareAG in this area, especially in a market where SAP Hana, TIBCO and IBM are really pushing forward their marketing machines. It showed a lack of presence and confidence and their marketing really needs to step up several gears.

Didn’t get to play around with ARIS 9 but the new Connect features reminded me of the AlignSpace experiment, which looking back, was ahead of its time before it was rebranded as ARISAlign and then languished in development hell.

Mike Pearce of Vodafone presentation was an interesting view into just how deep an investment an organisation is willing to make in process. 7 years later they have massive global process/ content management portal all sitting in ARIS. I have to question spending that amount of time on process driven content but then I’m guessing the timeline is dictated to by the concurrent SAP implementation. What is it with SAP….Oh and nice dig from Mike on the horrible colour scheme out of the box with ARIS but please don’t use the term ‘Big Data’ when describing a process content portal.

Matthew Bennion-Pedley of The UK Police showed what they intend to do with webMethods to build out a massive case management solution spanning the entire UK Force over several processes like Gun Licence Application. A tough task given the different policies and police forces in control and admitted that old world hierarchy is a problem. 3 years down and they’ve managed to standardise one process so far. Good luck to Matt for the rest, not an enviable task.

Lacey Barnfather from EE gave us an insight into “Process Brilliance” using ARIS. It was an interesting twist on the usual process excellence term but there wasn’t anything there in the presentation that I wouldn’t expect as a process standard. Be careful when you throw around flashy terms please.

I couldn’t make the Governance, Risk and Compliance or Process Transformation tracks as they ran concurrently so can’t comment there but it was interesting that Nationwide is now a customer of the GRC framework which means that Casewise lost out here as an existing supplier so shows some strength in the ARIS suite.

There were various ‘pods’ where you could grab some time with a SoftwareAG rep on their Mobile, Big Data, ARIS solutions but it was a stretch to label this as a Process Forum, some of the links were pretty tenuous and paying lip service to major trends actually diluted the messages people wanted to take away.

Not enough meat on the bones in this event in my opinion.

  • ARIS solutions are strong but need stronger customer stories outside of the usual ones I hear year on year about process.
  • I didn’t get anything on how well webMethods is doing. It took some digging to even link wM with the Police story.
  • Terracotta needs to stretch its legs in a dedicated event as it’s got a really interesting proposition but it also needs a stronger message and presentation crew.

Decent effort but its a tough crowd and industry out there now. SoftwareAG need to step up the marketing to be heard.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Theo Priestley
Theo Priestley is Vice President and Chief Evangelist at Software AG, responsible for enabling the marketing and voice of the industry's leading Business Process, Big Data/ In-Memory/ Complex Event Processing, Integration and Transaction suite of platforms. Theo writes for several technology and business related sites including his own successful blog IT Redux. When he isn't evangelizing he's playing videogames, collecting comics and takes the odd photo now and then. Theo was previously an independent industry analyst and successful enterprise transformation consultant.


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