Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Active Endpoints debuts ActiveVOS 7.0 with BPMN 2 support, improved RIA interfaces

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In a move to meet the growing demand for business process agility, Active Endpoints is readying the next release of its business process management (BPM) suite. The Waltham, Mass.-based modeling tool and process execution firm is rolling out ActiveVOS 7.0 later this month, and I got a sneak peek last week.

Active Endpoints' value has long been modeling, testing, deploying, running and managing business process applications – both system and human tasks. But CEO Mark Taber says version 7 pioneers a new approach to BPM. [Disclosure: Active Endpoints is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

“Enterprises are looking to a new generation of process applications to increase agility and improve efficiency. As attractive as building business process applications is, it has been hard for many organizations to do so because the tools have, until now, been too cumbersome, proprietary and expensive,” Taber said. “ActiveVOS 7.0 overcomes these challenges by being innovative, lean, open and affordable.”

What’s New in 7.0?

ActiveVOS 7.0 looks and feels different than its predecessors. For starters, the software has a new design canvas that uses the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 2.0 specification to create executable BPEL processes. On the innovation front, Active Endpoints points to “structured activities” that accelerate process modeling by offering time-saving drag-and-drop constructions.

In viewing a demo of ActiveVOS 7.0, I was struck by how the business analysts needs are targeted visually, with a rich and responsive interface via the AJAX-based forms designer. The latest version uses the "fit" client approaches, leveraging the better graphics and performance of a RIA. I also liked a ease of the process simulation and improved dashboards and auditing.

Moving the presentation tier power from the server to client gives process designers more flexible access to services directly from forms. These forms can issue standard SOAP calls to access services. The result: end users have direct access to information critical to decision-making.

Finally, Active Endpoints’ latest effort debuts ActiveVOS Central, a customizable application that consolidates user interaction with the BPMN into a single user interface. There’s also support for continuous integration and permalinks for ActiveVOS forms.

Active Endpoints isn’t introducing bells and whistles for the sake of rolling out a new iteration. The company points to key benefits for companies that use version 7: reduced dependence on consultants, application delivery on schedule, and more protection for your investment. All of these features aim to improve productivity and quicken results.

As I told the crew at Active Endpoints: Gone are the days when productivity gains could be realized with a new, faster chip -- or a better, faster database. Instead, a "new" Moore’s Law has begun to take hold.

This new era law declares that productivity today is better gained from improving business processes and the way human tasks and machines tasks are combined to rapidly improve results. Productivity needs to come from ongoing process innovation and refinement.

ActiveVOS 7.0 ships this month.

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