I caught up with Miko Matsumura, Vice President and Chief Strategist at Software Ag, on July 27 to close the loop on a couple of different email strings he and I had going. One covered the June 29 general availability of WebMethods 8, and the other was a general "What's New?" Miko and I had not talked since back before Software Ag acquired WebMethods but it's just as well that the various scheduled meetings kept getting delayed. The wait gave us a chance to factor in the positioning of the July 1 Oracle Fusion 11g middleware announcement as it relates to comparable Software Ag information technology (IT), and the proposed acquisition of IDS Scheer by Software Ag, which changes the Software Ag stack yet again relative to Oracle and other competitors. Who knows what news would break if we waited another week.
In a sense, Webmethods release 8 represents the culmination of the 2-year-old merger of Webmethods and Software Ag but it can also be thought of as the culmination of the 3-year-ago acquisition of Infravio, where Miko was Vice President of Marketing and Technology Standards, by Webmethods. The result is a combination of the strengths of all three company's stack products. And Miko is the first to say that there is strength in their inherent heterogeneity; he is not trying to pretend that all of the functions were built together new from the ground up (like you know who is!). In fact, the whole idea of Software Ag's stack is to make sure the appropriate tools are available to the appropriate IT and business people to develop, administer and use all Software Ag products for services oriented architecture (SOA) projects, IT lifecycle management (ITLM) and business process management (BPM). When IDS Scheer is added--and presumably it will (my opinion)--because it is a friendly merger backed by Scheer's founders.
Miko and I covered a lot of ground, of which I'll post at various times in the future, but from a BPM perspective the new news is the availability of a unified, Eclipse-based environment for management across SOA, BPM and ITLM. The environment is role-based with a lot of the whiz-bang stuff only a developer could love but also introducing what the Software Ag press release billed as "Context-aware, intelligent portal-based applications for user-driven "personal workspaces" Put into English by Miko, that means that the long time Webmethods' Composite Application Framework can be used by us business people to build mashups. From a BPM perspective, that might be the most important part of the announcement, especially when it it paired with a Business Services Repository, a place to put the mashups.
-- Dennis Byron