When you start to contemplate the amount of information that needs to be shared across the enterprise, it can be a little daunting. After all, it will be pretty routine in the not-too-distant future for data to travel from mobile computing devices accessing social networks all the way through to mainframes running complex transaction processing systems and back again.
At the IBM Impact 2011 conference today, IBM is making a concerted effort to provide a framework for managing all the business processes and related data that make up the modern enterprise. The company today released version 8.0 of the Websphere Application Server (WAS) while at the same time releasing a new IBM Business Process Manager offering that both combine the Lombardi business process management (BPM) software that IBM gained via its acquisition of Lombardi and the latest version of WAS.
According to Robert LeBlanc, IBM senior vice president for middleware software with the IBM Software Group, IBM is starting to take a more comprehensive approach to application development and management because customers are tired of having to spend most of their IT resources on integration. Instead, they want to spend more time deriving business value from those investments.
Unfortunately, says LeBlanc, most customers have been caught between two software extremes. On the one hand, there were inflexible packaged applications where the business logic was locked into the applications. On the other, customers were given a menu of technologies and told to do the integration work themselves. LeBlanc says that as BPM and software evolves, IBM is trying to give customers the ability to "assemble" software components to easily create custom business processes.
Whether most businesses are mature enough to create custom business processes is still debatable. But the fact remains that as enterprise computing evolves, LeBlanc says customers will soon gain a better understanding of "the art of what's possible" when it comes to next-generation BPM