I wrote a post a few months back about Software AG’s acquisition of IDS Scheer in which I said the firm was increasingly vying with SAP for the position of German “national software champion”. I was subsequently invited to meet Dr Peter Kuerpick, the firm’s Chief Product Officer last week.
First off he was at pains to emphasize that Software AG is not just a European company. I was surprised to find that only 9% of revenues are from Germany. But then having acquired firms like webMethods that should be no surprise. The company has 800 people working in R&D and 3/4 of those are in Seattle, USA, and in India.
Kuerpick argued that acquiring IDS Scheer was about becoming a trusted advisor, rather than a tech supplier, to the customer. That means consulting.
We need to consult the customer. We need to explain the value. Customers told us “IBM is an adviser, you are a reseller”
Right now IDS’s ARIS modeling environment is a standalone tool. Its modeling, but not BPM. However going forward the plan is to merge ARIS with webMethods – so IDS can engage the customer with “3 days of consulting, 6 months of modeling, then a runtime for the technology. we call this “business process excellence”
And to think Kuerpick tried to say Software AG wasn’t a German firm
One important area, talking to Kuerpick, is that he isn’t selling the snakeoil of model and run that so many business process management (BPM) vendors do. The key to ARIS and webMethods integration will be common models.
We have 2 camps – a very happy ARIS camp, for non-IT centric views on the process, and we also have happy customers, with automated processing using BPM technology. But i am not a believer in AI – you’re not going to get a process from nowhere. But you can be semantically consistent – i have these business objects and can transfer them across. We’re not believers in case tool/code generation.
The shared models will be based on the BPMN 2.0 standard, with some enrichment on the IT side. The idea is that process is actually a collaborative dialogue around the model. At the heart of the dialogue will be Kuerpick’s baby, the Centrasite Registry/Repository, which will become the “uber aggregator of metadata.”
One interesting aspect of the collaboration story is an online tool from webMethods called the AlignSpace
– its one of those web-based social platforms for adhoc process discovery using social media tooling we’re seeing more and more of. Normally I am pretty skeptical of modeling approaches – after all where are all the modeling pros? But IDS claims the ARIS community site has 30k registered users. I pushed hard to get a better metric around engagement or frequency of visit, but as for so many tech firms, size of community is a blunt instrument. Other indicators of scale?
- Aris aris express – 25k downloads
- ARIS Process World – 40k people online (whoa- should have pressed him on this!)
ARIS is still very much about “process excellence” rather than breakthrough innovation, but I found the story, and Peter’s pragmatism about the role of modeling to be refreshing and pragmatic. Process excellence – can’t help reminding me of that other firm though- SAP. Germany is of course the home of process excellence.
Both firms are increasingly global – but then so are other champions such as BMW and Porsche.