Bringing process modeling to IT management

IDS Scheer gets closer to BMC.

Hoping to further bridge the gap between the business world and the world of IT, business process management (BPM) vendor IDS Scheer used its Processworld Europe conference Tuesday to announce a further integration of its ARIS modeling suite with BMC Software's IT service management tools.

The two companies had already worked together to develop BMC Discovery for Business Processes, which allows IT departments running BMC to automatically discover business process models from ARIS Business Architect and dynamically map them with IT services and infrastructure data stored in BMC Atrium CMDB. This allows IT managers to determine which business processes are impacted when certain IT events occur, and allows them to plan and prioritize these events to minimize business impact.

Launched Tuesday was IDS Scheer's ARIS interface for BMC Atrium CMDB, which is designed to close the loop by allowing data about deployed applications and technology to be extracted from the CMDB into the ARIS repository. This will allow business architects to analyze the impact of IT projects on the business in ARIS IT Architect with an eye to better planning, cost reduction through standardization, and better utilization of IT assets.

"By uploading the data into ARIS and displaying it as business processes, you can easily see how IT and the business work together," said Thomas Volk, president and CEO, IDS Scheer. "You can see if the changes proposed can be supported by the IT infrastructure, and you can see the impact the changes could have on the business."

Increasingly popular IT projects such as server consolidation and virtualization and ERP consolidation can be linked back to the business and measured for business impact, and to ensure the IT resources are in place to support the business change, increasing the likelihood of a successful implementation, said Volk. "The business demands that IT support its growth, and the IT infrastructure needs to adjust to do that," said Volk.

With BMC's strength in North America, Volk says he sees the expanded partnership opening-up new opportunities here for IDS Scheer, as well as opening new markets for BMC. The two companies will be taking a joint selling approach, with each of their channels selling their respective products together.

With BMC coming from the IT side and IDS Scheer from BPM, Volk said he's found it difficult for IT-centric partners to sell BPM tools, and conversely it's been a challenge for more BPM-focused partners to sell IT-centric tools. That's something they'd like to work on, he says.

"IT channel partners and SIs need to align with the evolution of IT and IT management; today it's more than just technology, they need to be more relevant to the business," said Volk. "The EDSs and Bearing Points have the capability because of their management consulting, but smaller partners need to evolve as well."

Henry Peyret, senior analyst, serving enterprise architecture professionals with Forrester, said the integration with BMC is a step in the right direction as, to be truly leveraged and effective, the enterprise architecture repository should connect to many other repositories.

"The goal is to try to decrease risks, shorten the reaction time, and shorten the time of changes to process," said Peyret, "If you change a process you want to see it happen faster, but didn't know what the impact would be at the process level (without these tools."

Spain's BBVA Bank is using ARIS modeling tools and Stephen Brown agrees there has been too much of a gap in the past between the IT world and the rest of the business; a gap needs to be further closed.

"BPM is another technology that helps you bring these world closer together," said Brown, an executive with BBVA. "IT doesn't necessarily like it because it shifts some of the power away to the user level, they can do things without IT intervention, but we think that's good for the bank as a whole."

IDS Scheer also used Processworld to unveil several other enhancements to its ARIS platform. Among them is the new ARIS Governance Engine, slated for availability in Q1 of 2009, which will regulate and automate the process of process management.

It's ability to control and monitor high-level process rules will support the efficient implementation of different governance processes, from Sarbanes-Oxley to Basel II said Wolfram Jost, member of the executive board with responsibility for product strategy and development, IDS Scheer.

"We see no support for these governance processes in the market today," said Jost.

ARIS Business Publisher has also been enhanced to integrate Web 2.0 technologies and provide more options around internal and external communication and publishing, and Jost said IDS Scheer is also working to develop a logical in-memory database, which will see transactions work against a cache rather than the database, to help ensure faster queries and better performance.

"This will let our customers work with higher performance and make it easier to define and measure KPIs," said Jost. "For analytical databases this will be the killer app of the future because it leads to higher performance and greater visibility for these kinds of applications."

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