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Anne Stuart’s BPM in Action

Dennis Byron

Adobe BPM does not mean you're put in a .pdf box

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After the June 17, 2008 announcement that it was building the Alfresco open source content management software into its LiveCycle Enterprise Suite, I asked Adobe for an update on its business process management (BPM) capabilities.

“Adobe? BPM?? you say. Yes, Adobe.

Coincident with the Alfresco announcement, Upgrade 1 of LiveCycle Enterprise Suite also came out on June 17, 2008. Raja Hammoud, Group Product Marketing Manager for LiveCycle, and Ashish Agrawal, Group Product Manager, gave me the update I requested a few weeks later, refreshing my memory about some functionality I had first seen from a company called Acellio. Adobe acquired Acellio and its product Jetform in 2002. In 2007, Adobe combined a variety of products—including Jetform renamed and upgraded—into the suite.

Raja and Ashish seem to understand where I’m coming from when I say the big pay off for BPM is across firewalls but they say users can begin by automating data capture or by doing things as simple as distributing .pdfs before they go end to end. Adobe Flex developers are getting into the act as well using LiveCycle, they said.

And it works the other way: Adobe products can be piece parts in other vendors or in-house developed BPM suites. If Adobe is going to form the base, the suite’s foundation module comes with Process Modeling tools.

I make an assumption that I should not make and that Raja and Ashish tell me is wrong: Adobe-enabled BPM always has a .pdf involved. Ninety-nine percent are related to forms they say but not all to documents (.pdfs); rich Internet applications (RIA) and scannable forms are just as prevalent. They say they see users with a lot of processes that are very manual and others that are half manual/half OLTP.

I know I said back in March that I was mostly going to blog here about products with BPM somewhere in their name because, in my opinion, such products are best for business process flows that cross legal entities. But my limitation was because of time constraints, not a life view. If you’re really interested in BPM, don’t be as limited as I am forced to be.

The strength of an IBM, an Adobe, an Oracle, and so forth is that they can provide BPM to you any way you want it. The caution you hear—and it is a good one—is don’t buy a lot of shelfware while you’re at it.

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Business process management and optimization -- philosophies, policies, practices, and punditry.

Anne Stuart

I am the editor of ebizQ.

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