• August 2, 2007
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Metastorm Improves Its Forma

Business process management (BPM) software vendor Metastorm on Wednesday announced it had acquired Proforma Corporation, a provider of enterprise modeling solutions for enterprise architecture (EA) and business process analysis (BPA). Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The combined company will deliver an integrated enterprise software platform that unifies business strategy and architecture, process analysis and optimization, and managed human- and system-centric process execution, according to the newly joined entities. The Metastorm Enterprise BPM platform now includes the ProVision series of applications acquired along with Proforma. In total, Metastorm's offering is:
  • Metastorm ProVisionEA: allows customers to translate business strategy and operational objectives into effective enterprise change through models that describe enterprise assets, relationships, and future state;
  • Metastorm ProVisionBPA: enables architects and analysts to document, analyze, and streamline complex processes using sophisticated modeling, simulation, Six Sigma, and other optimization methods; and
  • Metastorm BPM: makes possible roundtrip process life-cycle management, including design, automation, analysis, and monitoring of an organization's human- and system-centric activities and processes.
"Metastorm is proud to be joining forces with Proforma to move beyond today's business process management suite (BPMS) definition and chart a new course for enterprise effectiveness through increased collaboration, agility, and understanding," said Bob Farrell, CEO and president of Metastorm, in a written statement. "Organizations today are striving to improve performance through EA, BPA, and BPM initiatives. The synergies, interdependencies, and potential value of these three disciplines are immense, and now is the right time for Proforma and Metastorm to join forces and deliver an integrated software platform." Ron Pellegrino, president and CEO of Proforma, expressed his enthusiasm for the acquisition as well. "Proforma has built a strong market presence based on its ability to deliver powerful enterprise architecture, modeling and analysis capabilities that are also intuitive and usable by multiple people within an organization--from architects to business analysts to Six Sigma Blackbelts," Pellegrino stated. "We have collaborated with Metastorm at mutual customers seeking both enterprise modeling and process execution and have witnessed the increased sense of urgency to unify these technologies. By joining forces now, we will be the first to deliver this unification." The analyst community appears to be behind the idea of the merger as well. "This is a very good acquisition for Metastorm; they're the best buyer among many who were courting Proforma," says Janelle Hill, research vice president for BPM at Gartner. "Proforma is distinguished for its ease of use and for being business-user friendly, and the company has been targeting a new user for its product--the business process analyst. Proforma's audience is exactly the same as the one using Metastorm." That audience, as it happens, is rather broad. According the company's now-defunct Web site (its URL forward to Metastorm's site), Proforma, which was founded in 1994, has a history of serving clients across a number of sectors, including the following:
  • consultancies (IBM Global Business Services, Deloitte, Unisys);
  • financial services (AXA, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Bank);
  • manufacturing (General Motors, Lear, AveryDennison);
  • telecom (Nextel, Nortel, Qwest);
  • transportation (Delta, Boeing); and
  • government (IRS, Forest Service, all four of the Armed Services).
In many ways, the functionality Metastorm is adding is considered critical for the future of BPM market. "Linkage to the workflow assembly and orchestration engines and business activity monitoring tools is driving BPA into the mainstream for BP improvement initiatives," wrote Michael Blechar, vice president at Gartner, in his firm's June 2007 Magic Quadrant for business process analysis tools. (Proforma was rated in the leaders quadrant in that report, as well as in the research firm's 2006 Magic Quadrant for enterprise architecture tools.) "Understanding complex business processes is a significant challenge. The assistance of a tool with visualization and other features--such as simulation and activity-based costing (ABC)--helps to optimize business processes and realize BPM cost and time savings." Blechar states that BPA tools help define the business architecture portion of the enterprise architecture, and that many such tools can also be used by technical, application, and data architects to define the technical and information architectures. "And, because most BPA tools have a shared repository for these models, it is possible to do change impact analysis across organizations and roles based on the inter-relationships of their models."

Related articles: Metastorm Adds ICCM to the Pod The vendor's new Process Pod for partner ICCM's eService Desk lets users integrate BPM into all aspects of their business, not just the contact center. The Big Picture How to connect the dots to reveal a complete image of new corporate performance management software solutions BPM's Evolution The market will see dramatic growth over the coming years, buoyed by a renewed interest in process management, as BPM vendors begin to leverage SOA. BPM Speeds the Purchase Request Plow "The customer understands we're looking for innovative ways to make processes easier...."
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