Sunday, November 11, 2007

Software AG and Cognos bring BI and BPM into common orbit

The much-discussed marriage of business intelligence (BI) and business process management (BPM) may be a step closer to the altar with last week's announcement by Software AG that it will embed Cognos 8 BI with the webMethods product suite.

Software AG, which made the announcement at Integration World 2007 in Orlando, Fla., says the strategic partnership and OEM licensing agreement will allow companies to combine BI with BPM and business activity monitoring, providing real-time and historical data on a single dashboard for actionable insight. The new out-of-the-box component will let users:

  • Streamline change management, because requirements and implications of proposed changes will be illustrated before implementation.

  • Accelerate process improvements by drilling down on operational data.

  • Enhance business agility through more rapid implementation of operational changes.

  • Achieve closer alignment with line-of-business objectives due to using the same platform for business planning and performance monitoring.

  • Improve accountability through the embedded use of scorecarding and analytics.

Pundits and analysts have been talking about the merger of BI and BPM for a long time, and the talk heated up with TIBCO's acquisition of Spotfire last May, but all that talk has led to a lot of dating, but no commitment.

Peter Kürpick, president and chief product officer for the webMethods division of Software AG referred to the all the talk in making the announcement. "Many talk about delivering an integrated product suite and a seamless user experience, but few actually deliver. The inclusion of best-in-class BI and reporting is one key element. Others include a shared metadata model and lifecycle governance for all assets, real-time monitoring, and process-based collaboration."

Tony Baer at CBR Online sees this as a pre-emptive strike by Software AG in a market where the big players are lining up their BI assets:

"With rivals such as IBM and Oracle also having collected BI assets as part of their greater software platforms, which also include BPM and BAM, Software AG's tie-in with Cognos (for now, the last major independent BI vendor, unless you're counting Information Builders) was an important pre-emptive move."

Current customers can add Cognos BI as a supported feature immediately.

In other news from Integration World, Software AG has opened the door for bringing rich Internet applications (RIAs) to enterprise transaction systems with the introduction of Natural for Ajax, an enhanced version of the company's Natural 2006 application development and deployment environment.

Natural 2006 allows developers to create highly scalable enterprise transactional systems running on either mainframe or open source platforms. Natural for Ajax follows close on the heels of Software AG's release of Natural for Eclipse. Key benefits of RIAs include the streamlined ability to create composite views of application and data, as well as the availability of more dynamic, high-performance and interactive reporting.

According to Software AG, Natural for Ajax can be used to create browser-based, rich user interfaces for enterprise applications and mainframe systems that rival the look, feel and performance of the latest Web 2.0 applications. Developers can implement rich-client functionality using a library of more than 50 pre-defined Web graphical user interface (GUI) controls. Other interactive features -- such as “drag and drop,” context menus and advanced grid processing -- can be used within a standard Web browser to streamline development and boost productivity.

Among the other announcements:

  • Software AG will offer and support Layer 7's SecureSpan SOA security and policy enforcement solutions on a global basis. Layer 7 provides gateway software and appliances for securing, scaling, and simplifying production SOAs. The Layer 7 product will also serve as a fully interoperable policy enforcement point (PEP) for services government by CentraSite, a SOA governance solution developed jointly by Software AG and Fujitsu.

  • The CentraSite community, which brings together partners who are developing solutions that interoperate with CentraSite, has grown to over 50 members. A standards-based organization, the CentraSite Community now includes such members as Progress Software, MID, BAP Solutions, JustSystems, Composite Software, Intalio, IONA, iTKO, Solstice Software, SOA Software, and SymphonySoft.

  • Software AG and Satyam Computer Systems Ltd., announced they will expand their global partnership for developing vertical solutions using WebMethods. This partnership focuses on industry-specific process frameworks for such key sectors as insurance, manufacturing, and telecom.

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