October 01, 2008 12:18 ET

IBM Helps Clients Make Faster, Smarter Decisions With New Business Process Management Software and Services

ARMONK, NY--(Marketwire - October 1, 2008) - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new software and services built upon service oriented architecture (SOA) to help clients redefine and improve their existing business processes. The ability to proactively manage their business processes allows leaders to better align their businesses and make smarter decisions. This can help reduce overall business costs and make a business more responsive to changes in the global marketplace.

If an organization's business processes are truly unique and differentiated, the cost savings and competitive advantages can be enormous. Additionally, there is the potential to streamline existing processes or create new business models altogether. New business model innovation is one of the driving forces behind the rapid growth of the business process management (BPM) market. For example, by monitoring key business process indicators on energy and water consumption during a heat wave, a facility manager can take action to redistribute resources. As a result, policies can be put in place to redirect production hours and the location of employees, which can save costs while enabling a company to reduce its carbon footprint.

To help clients accelerate this process improvement and business performance using BPM, IBM is introducing "business space." A customized and continuously updated desktop view of their business processes, business space allows clients to not just monitor business objects, but to anticipate operational risks and act upon the information. This new role-based, collaborative BPM capability is powered by WebSphere software and built using SOA.

Clients can view these metrics in a customized business space, which can highlight relevant business process status, appropriate application content, user collaboration tools, graphics and alerts -- all utilizing Web 2.0 functionality. By providing a consolidated view of business process content and enabling contextual collaboration around processes in one location, business space enables clients to manage their processes more effectively, make smarter decisions, and take action more quickly.

One example of the success of IBM business process management is Ball State University, which needed to simplify its Distance Education Program. This program allows students to take courses while they are not at the University, but due to a lack of system integration, students who would attempt to register for a course on the Web site were often denied access as the course would fill, before their registration request could be processed.

"We were able to streamline our processes surrounding class registration," said Fred Nay, Director, Computer Services, Ball State University. "Because we can update multiple different systems behind the scenes in real time, we have changed what was a tedious three day class registration process for students into an instantaneous experience."

Today, many great ideas for new business processes are discussed in meetings, sketched on whiteboards or entered into Visio drawing and diagramming software. It is then up to the IT team to read these artifacts and interpret them into the proper business modeling program, which is wasteful, time consuming and often leads to small mistakes that don't fully capture the original intent. Recognizing this problem, IBM has incorporated a number of plug-ins into WebSphere Business Modeler that allow users to import these ideas from common tools such as Visio, IDS Scheer and Microsoft PowerPoint. This leads to more effective collaboration between business leaders and their technical designers.

To further help clients assess their business processes, IBM is also announcing the availability of a new BPM Healthcheck. Clients who take advantage of the Healthcheck will be able to identify current strengths and shortcomings across different dimensions of their business processes. Based on this assessment, Healthcheck will suggest a BPM Strategic Roadmap that identifies the best entry points and practices for a successful deployment.

The new products and services deliver the capabilities necessary to help optimize business processes and adapt them to rapidly changing needs. As part of today's announcement, IBM is also introducing:

  • New capabilities to WebSphere Dynamic Process Edition, including industry-specific assets to accelerate composite business application assembly for healthcare, insurance, telecommunications and banking.
  • Enhancements to WebSphere Process Server that help clients modify the flow of steps within in-flight process instances by skipping activities, jumping forward and backward between activities, and adding additional activities from within their business space.
  • New Product Lifecycle Management content packs for the automotive, electronics, aerospace and defense industries.
  • Additional enhancements for the IBM FileNet Active Content Edition that can streamline, automate and optimize content-centric business processes by increasing process performance, reducing cycle times and improving productivity.
  • Updated Cognos 8 software that helps IT and Finance engage, inform and align business users through more efficient and effective performance management processes. This can help drive better business outcomes such as growth, profitability, and timely, confident stakeholder reporting.
  • Faculty from more than 100 universities worldwide have now used or are evaluating IBM's serious video game, INNOV8: a BPM Simulator.

"Our clients are increasingly realizing that their key differentiators and competitive advantages are contained in their business processes -- not just their products or services," said Tom Rosamilia, general manager, IBM WebSphere. "Businesses are asking for visibility into these business processes and the ability to change them on the fly or iteratively to drive continuous improvement, cost-savings and innovation. Across all industries, clients require agility to succeed in today's challenging environments. IBM's BPM-powered SOA portfolio enables enterprises to look at and manage their business models in ways never before possible."

IBM is the industry marketshare leader in business process management software(1), a segment that is expected to grow by more than 35 percent and exceed $6.2 billion by 2011(2). IBM has more than 4,600 BPM client engagements and 450 BPM business partners in more than 30 countries.

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IBM, WebSphere, SmartSOA and the IBM e-business logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. For a list of additional IBM trademarks, please see

All other company, product or service names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of others. Statements concerning IBM's future development plans and schedules are made for planning purposes only, and are subject to change or withdrawal without notice. Reseller prices may vary.

(1) Gartner 2007 BPMS marketshare report
(2) Forrester worldwide business process management market growth 2006-2011

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