Can't Wait for Google Wave, Part II -- Introducing ActionBase

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I had an interesting discussion on November 10 with Jacob Ukelson, CTO of ActionBase, the business process management (BPM) software supplier that prefers the term human process management (HPM). Actionbase released version 6.1 of its core product in October and also announced an interesting solution - called Audit.Tracker - in August based on the core. ActionBase also offers two other solutions similar to Audit.Tracker for compliance and decision tracking. These solutions provide templates and canned reports to get ActionBase HPM users off and running.


The distinction between HPM and BPM, which I consider a distinction looking for a difference, is a concentration on unstructured processes - what McKinsey calls tacit processes - and other enterprise activity that tends to get done using e-mail, documents and calendarization. The thing that caught my eye about the latest announcements was the move by ActionBase to compare its HPM capability to Google Wave. Jacob makes the point that Google emphasizes different functionality in Wave than he does in ActionBase, but not counting some real-time aspects of Wave (which he believes are not appropriate for large enterprises and large-scale collaboration anyway), he says ActionBase offers a similar line-up of features (see this illustration for a comparison). For example, ActionMail is a shared mail with a sort of Wiki underneath.


Basically, Jacob is saying that a Wave conversation and an ActionBase collaboration are similar. Of course, he goes on to say that ActionBase is a better approach because it offers a complete audit trail of "conversations" and in how it relates documents to a collaboration/conversation and unstructured processes. Version 6.1 is based on the previously available platform but offers meeting control without opening up a Word document, the ability to not just document unstructured processes but to follow up on them and make sure they are tracked and acted upon, and a graphical view of the flow.


ActionBase currently works within Microsoft Outlook and Office applications and is like Lotus Collaboration, which I superficially compared to Wave in this recent blog post: Can't Wait for Google Wave: Consider Lotus Notes. So again, if you don't want to wait for Wave to get tested in the line of fire, ActionBase offers another choice. ActionBase is primarily marketed in Europe but is increasingly available in North America and can be seen by contacting the company directly.