Software AG, IDS Scheer duo could trump other partner offerings

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Less than a year after IDS Scheer announced it would get bought by Software AG, an exec with the business process management (BPM) vendor expects the tight integration between both companies will win over customers from IDS Scheer partners who also offer middleware.

At IDS Scheer/ProcessWorld 2010, Wolfram Jost, executive board member responsible for product strategy and development with IDS Scheer, said that despite an attractive integration with Software AG’s webMethods, nothing has and will change with partner relations.

“The partnerships we have with ARIS are very important for the success of ARIS as an independent business process modeling platform,” said Jost. “So we will keep all these partnerships with Oracle, SAP, IBM, Microsoft to give our customers this independency.”

But while IDS Scheer will continue to push ARIS as a platform that supports multi-vendor strategies for its customers, Jost acknowledged the webMethods- ARIS combination will render a degree of value that is eye-catching to customers. Jost expects that this value-add will lead to some customers of other middleware offerings moving to that of Software AG. In July 2009, Software AG announced it would acquire IDS Scheer.

Now that both companies share each other’s intellectual property, ARIS and webMethods will get integrated in “a very unique way” that just won’t be available with other middleware platforms, said Jost.

“With partners, it’s not so easy to go this path because the partner has its own idea how to use its own technology,” said Jost, adding that there is no such intellectual property tug-of-war with Software AG.

But that doesn’t mean that Software AG can afford to rely too heavily on an attractive tight integration because it still must stay competitive with rival middleware vendors, said Jost. Customers will want to compare middleware options on the market and, with all things equal, Jost thinks the ARIS integration could be the key differentiator to other platforms.

Earlier that day at the conference that drew about 500 attendees, much of the focus of the opening keynote was on the integration of product portfolios and the benefits of the partnership since the merger.

Software AG CEO Karl-Heinz Streibich told the audience that by buying the German business process management vendor, the company can keep up with a paradigm shift whereby the human workflow is increasingly being digitized and users need to reap more value from siloed applications like enterprise resource planning systems.

“With the acquisition of IDS Scheer, we have bridged the gap between business and IT, and IT and the business,” said Streibich, adding that organizations have for too long been relying on PowerPoint to visualize process design. “Let’s use ARIS,” he said, referring to IDS Scheer’s framework for BPM design and implementation.

Jost told the audience while ARIS brings to the relationship business process methodologies, Software AG’s webMethods middleware brings to the table back-end capabilities for the IT department.

“Enterprise architecture and business process analysis are coming closer and closer,” said Jost. “My personal point of view is that in one year we will see that it is one.”

Jost sees services-oriented architecture, BPM and application integration as all moving closer. Interconnecting underlying components and creating services is an enabler for BPM and for application integration, he said.

“The new Software AG is the only company that I see that is able to put all these together to run integrated technology and to run an integrated management philosophy,” said Jost. “And that is what we call business process excellence.”

Overall, Jost described the integration of Software AG and IDS Scheer as one that “closes the loop” for customers who often asked why IDS Scheer never built its own execution engine. Despite the acquisition, IDS Scheer has emphasized that its ARIS platform will remain independent and that customers will continue to have the option of using an execution engine from the likes of IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Tibco.

In terms of product portfolio integration, webMethods will be integrated with ARIS Repository and centraSite.

Jost said process intelligence-a term coined by Software AG to mean the analytics reaped from underlying business processes-will be weaved into the product stack by the end of 2010. So, atop webMethods Process Engine and webMethods Optimize will site ARIS Process Performance Manager for analytics and ARIS MashZone for a user-friendly dashboard.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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