Metastorm Forecasts Broader BPM Capabilities

Metastorm, a Baltimore, Md.-based business process management (BPM) vendor is extending its suite offerings, coming close to providing a full PBM platform. Although he is not fond of the word "platform," BPM practice director Mike Thompson of Butler Group says Metastorm is no longer just a BPM solution. With the release of Version 7.6 of the Metastorm BPM software suite, the vendor adds extended support for Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, as well as broader document management capabilities.

"The most compelling part of the Metastorm release is the fact they actually bring together the whole BPM format," Thompson says. "It makes them one of the better BPM suites around." Thompson points out the increased integration with business process applications, praising the vendor's vision towards enterprise architecture. Thompson names Pegasystems, Ultimus, and BEA Systems, now under Oracle, as Metastorm's primary competitors.

Metastorm will align its formerly independent BPM, Business Process Analysis, and Enterprise Architecture solutions onto a common platform titled Metastorm Enterprise. The Enterprise platform will create better visibility and will make use of the simulation engine of Metastorm ProVision.

In August 2007, Metastorm acquired Proforma Corporation, a provider of enterprise modeling solutions for enterprise architecture. With the acquisition, Metastorm gained the ProVision solutions, which are process models designed to help organizations make informed decisions based on analysis, strategy, and full life-cycle process management.

"When Metastorm makes acquisitions, they make acquisitions that really push the boundaries where BPM is at the moment," notes Thompson. He continues to say that with the Proforma acquisition, Metastorm was able to extend into more human capabilities. "A lot of BPM [solutions] are just about a model and don't concentrate on looking to capture human side of the process, which Metastorm does very well."

The new release also provides extended support to the Microsoft Office, which Thompson points out is wise, but only if it continues to maintain the Java end of the spectrum. "If you go too far [with integration], there is a danger that they will be seen as just another extension of Microsoft," Thompson says. "I understand why they are doing it. Microsoft tools are the tools people are using." He adds that one of Metastorm's strengths is its image as being a very open provider. If the vendor becomes too coupled with Microsoft and loses its touch with Java, he says it might no longer be viewed as socially relevant.

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