On October 22 I noted that Macronetics' business process management (BPM) software was being bundled into the JNetDirect business intelligence (BI) software. The combination is an example of the intelligent process automation trend I described here. Except I see such capability coming in the future from just one supplier (my friends at TIBCO will want to try to convince me they already have it and they may be right).
But I digress. The real thing I found interesting about the Macronetics/JNet announcement was that Macronetics was prospering. When I first met Dr. Vinh Nguyen, CEO at Macronetics, in 2005 the company was still incubating. At that cynical time in my life (IDC analyst with 100 BPM companies to "follow") I was often asking the question:
"What do we need another BPM software company for?"
The answer is that Macronetics had an interesting approach to automating workflow that it has since executed on. It is based on a powerful little context-based workflow modeling engine. At the heart of Macronetics' Automate BPM" suite is a finite state machine embedded in a data environment. Data is bound to user forms, external applications, databases, web services, and other data in the context to make workflow business rules. In fact, the only way to change the workflow status is through manipulation of the context data.
I am not sure I am expressing this technically correctly but I think of it as like the data dictionary that sat under some early ERP systems like J.D. Edwards' World. It makes for data-driven rather than the more common event-driven BPM.
Macronetics also appears to be implementing a good partnering strategy with JNetDirect a recent addition to partnerships with different prime government contractors and other industry-specific software and service suppliers. This is also a trend similar to the Metastorm/Align announcement of October 19. In a recent interview, Vinh Nguyen said he is primarily looking to sales of his suite positioned as a platform and selling the platform more to the operations people than to IT management and staff. That's where the partners come in.
Now that I no longer have to enter a hundred companies' data in the IDC database, the more the merrier in BPM.