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InfoQ Homepage News Intalio|BPMS 5.0 released - A full fledged open source BPM system

Intalio|BPMS 5.0 released - A full fledged open source BPM system

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Intalio last week released their open source based BPM System - Intalio|BPMS 5.0, including amongst other things a BPMN Editor and a BPEL server engine. The product is distributed in two editions, Community Edition and Enterprise Edition. The release is a milestone for Intalio in their effort to realise a complete solution for their BPM 2.0 vision. InfoQ took the opportunity to interview Ismael Ghalimi, Intalio CEO, and Arnaud Blandin, EMEA Director, about the new release.

InfoQ: What is Intalio|BPMS, and what is new in the 5.0 release?

IG: Intalio|BPMS is the first and only open-source BPM Suite. It includes a process design tool built on top of Eclipse and allowing business analysts and IT people to collaborate on the development of executable business processes using the standard BPMN notation, a process runtime built on top of J2EE and supporting the standard BPEL 2.0 process execution language (as well as past versions, including BPEL 1.0 and BPEL 1.1), and a workflow framework supporting the emerging BPEL4People standard.

AB: This new release brings a lot of advanced functionalities to allow IT engineers to manipulate the data associated to a business process. For instance the Data Mapper has been enhanced to support the creation of scoped variables from any XML Schema types or elements and WSDL documents are integrated in one single-click. The integration of forms within a process has been greatly enhanced and it is now possible to drag and drop forms in a process without requiring prior knowledge of any form technologies. It ships with a Form Editor that enables complex forms to be designed, and the code generation has been optimized and all the complex process patterns are now supported. Moreover this new version targets the business analysts community thanks a completely new BPMN Process Modeler that allows modeling processes on the fly. Intalio|BPMS 5.0 Entreprise Edition also ships with the first release of Intalio|BPMS Real Run, our real time BAM solution

InfoQ: The Intalio|BPMS product line is fulfiling a vision that you call BPM 2.0. What is BPM 2.0?

IG: BPM 2.0 is all about making BPM technology consumable by the market at large, including end customers, system integrators, and independent software vendors.

AB: It is simply the adaptation of the BPM concepts to the world we live in today. For instance, it states that a BPM 2.0 solution must leverage the industry standards such as BPEL 2.0 or BPMN. It can be used by Process Analysts that have both a technical understanding of the IT systems and a business view on how the company operates.

InfoQ: According to a blog post of yours it has been a long and though journey to realize the BPM 2.0 vision. Are you satisfied with the result, and how does the BPM 2.0 concept affect the rest of the industry?

IG: Very satisfied. It was long and hard, but totally worth the effort. It affects the entire industry, for it sets the standard for all players to match. We are also working on a first conference on BPM 2.0, to take place in San Francisco in March or April of next year.

InfoQ: Your business model is based on open source. Can you explain how this business model works?

IG: We have two editions for our product, the community edition and the enterprise edition. The community edition is entirely free of charge, and it's runtime components 100% open source (some parts of the tool are kept proprietary). The enterprise edition adds the following to the community edition:

  • Support & maintenance
  • Access to patch updates for automated upgrades
  • Indemnification against software patent litigation
  • Clustering for load balancing and failover
  • Connectors to enterprise applications (SAP, Oracle, etc.)

AB: What we have done is to invert he traditional sales process by putting the user at the center of the model. If a user likes what he has downloaded, he can register to one of our public training sessions. We host training sessions every week in EMEA and in the US, those training sessions are essential to smooth the learning curve, discover the capabilities of the product and meet the Intalio team. Once a user is trained on a product, he can choose to work with an Intalio Certified Partner to implement its project and Intalio will provide the needed support and maintenance through the Intalio Customer Network. Accessing to the Intalio Customer Network is a guarantee to access automatic patches, Entreprise class features and advanced documentation. Furthermore, I'd like to mention our Demand Driven Development program that allows users to syndicate in order to ask for new features and fund those features. For instance new features of Intalio|BPMS Workflow were built through that program.

InfoQ: Intalio has donated both the BPEL engine to the Apache ODE project and the BPMN Modeler to Eclipse. How is the cooperation with these organizations working?

AB: We experience a very sound and professional cooperation. Indeed participating to an Apache and Eclipse project helps us being transparent in the features we develop on the product. Furthermore we cooperate with developers from other companies which help us building the best BPEL and BPMN implementation. Each project has its own lifecycle and is developed by the Community. We are very proud that Apache ODE has been accepted as a top level project just like Geronimo or ActiveMQ and our BPMN Modeler is now part of the Eclipse Europa release.

InfoQ: BPMN is one of the core standard on which Intalio|BPMS is based on. One problem with BPMN is that it only standardize the graphical notation for processes, not formats for how to exchange BPMN processes between designer tools from different vendors. What is your view of the future of BPMN - both adoption wise and with regards to the need for a export/import standard?

AB: BPMN is now adopted as the standard for modeling processes, it clearly lacks an exchange format. The OMG is currently working on it but it takes time to materialize. It forces us to develop some import tools to ensure we could import processes from other designer tools. For instance Intalio|BPMS Designer can import ARIS processes. Our team has designed its own inter-exchange format which is based on XMI, the already existing standard for storing UML diagrams. The format is fully documented and available at our Eclipse website. Any developer is welcome to use it.

InfoQ: So, what is the next step for Intalio?

AB: Our team has already started working on the next release that will bring several key features such as the ability to graphically define a hierarchy of processes which is today supported at the technical level. We will also give a strong emphasis to our Workflow product which has been deployed by most of our customers and we received very good feedback on features that can be built to enhance it. We are also working with our technical partners to create an integrated platform to address the needs of Entreprise customers with open source solutions.

More information about Intalio|BPMS can be found on the Intalio homepage and in their BPMS section. If you want to take the product for a test drive, you can download the Community Edtion here (registration required).

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