Process Application Platforms 2017: Software AG

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This report assesses the capabilities of Software AG’s Process Application Platform, and also examines the partners and intellectual property that Software AG can offer customers exploring associated technology implementations. This assessment report forms part of a series of reports from MWD Advisors which assesses business process application technology offerings – technology-related capabilities which support organisations wanting to design, develop, deploy, monitor and optimise partially- or wholly-automated business processes.
We strongly encourage you to read this report in conjunction with our accompanying Assessment Framework report.

Summary

In AgileApps and the webMethods BPMS, Software AG has a pair of very capable Process Application Platforms, though they’re very different in focus today. They’re partially integrated and more integration is planned, but the best way to think of AgileApps and the webMethods BPMS today is that they serve complementary needs – rapid creation of standalone process- and case-based applications (AgileApps) and creation and long-term management of mission-critical operational process applications (webMethods BPMS).  Looking specifically at the webMethods BPMS, there’s strong support for both automated and transactional work scenarios, and some support for exploratory work scenarios. A new process runtime, Dynamic Business Orchestrator, offers major performance and scalability advantages and also brings improved BPMN 2.0 support and dynamic process support. There’s out-of-the-box integration with Software AG’s Zementis Predictive Analytics, and RPA from Kryon Systems provides new automation and integration options.

Support for different types of work

Automated work: By virtue of webMethods’ heritage as an event- and message-based integration middleware provider, the webMethods BPMS provides very good design-time and runtime support for automated work scenarios and has the architecture to scale in demanding situations.

Transactional work: Clear separation of process and task management in the webMethods BPMS sets the stage for flexibility. Integrated content and document management and end-user flexibility and monitoring capabilities are great features. AgileApps also plays well here, particularly in support of service desk use cases.

Exploratory work: The webMethods BPMS doesn’t have any explicit capabilities designed to support exploratory work scenarios, though the foundation capabilities you need are mostly present. webMethods AgileApps Cloud has a number of really solid case management capabilities combined with easy-to-use tools.

Rapid prototyping / quick-start

AgileApps is designed specifically to enable small teams to visually develop and deploy process applications quickly without coding, and it offers many features that support this aim well. However applications that you build using AgileApps stay in AgileApps; you can integrate them with webMethods BPM applications to create ‘two-tier’ business platforms, but today, if you want to use AgileApps as a prototyping tool, you’ll have to start over in webMethods BPM. Software AG has plans to bridge these two platforms more completely in 2017.

Change management

In the webMethods BPMS and AgileApps the change management capabilities available to your teams are modest – and may not be enough for large teams working on programs with multiple parallel lines of development. But if you pair the webMethods BPMS with Software AG’s ARIS tools, you can delegate responsibility for managing design change to those ARIS tools – and the change management and governance capabilities at your disposal are much richer and more scalable.

User experience options

For both AgileApps and the webMethods BPMS, there are three main options: the tools’ own customisable HTML-based UIs; hybrid/native mobile apps; and the ability to embed application data and actions in your own custom UIs through open integration interfaces.

Deployment options

Licensing and deployment for the webMethods BPMS is on-premise only; however AgileApps is provided by Software AG as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), hosted on AWS, and as an on-premise offering.

Inside Software AG’s platform

Software AG’s Process Application Platform has two core elements: webMethods BPMS and webMethods AgileApps. Together these what the company calls its Dynamic Apps Platform, as part of a broader Digital Business Platform offering. webMethods BPMS is aimed principally at IT teams needing to deliver high-scalability, large-scale process automation solutions; whereas webMethods AgileApps is aimed more at subject matter experts and business analysts, and positioned for the quick delivery of more lightweight, dynamic process and case management applications. Software AG has started to bring these two pieces together, and it’s prioritising development work to increase product integration.

Key tools and capabilities

The central product elements of the Software AG Process Application Platform offering are the webMethods BPMS, which is currently at version 10.1, together with webMethods AgileApps.


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