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In my last article I gave you an overview about the features of Oracle BPA Suite (OBPA) if you consider it as a single modeling tool. Now I want to explain how the ARIS products and OBPA are playing together at customer side.

Positioning and field aspects

Very often there is the question in the field, how ARIS and Oracle BPA Suite are positioned against each other. Because OBPA contains a complete ARIS Business Architect (only with a slightly reduced method) the customer would be principally able to use this product for classical Business Process Analysis projects or other use cases normally covered by IDS Scheer. During the contract negotiations there was a very clear agreement between Oracle and us: The only use case where OBPA should be positioned is the business process based implementation of Oracle Fusion Middleware!

Of course at customer side sometime occurs the question when they should use the ARIS product family and when Oracle BPA Suite. The following points might help to answer this question:

  • ARIS is very strong in business-process modeling based on EPC, OBPA is strong in the BPMN-based round-tripping between business and technical modeling tool
  • ARIS and OBPA share a major part of methodology, OBPA is extended regarding process execution with Fusion Middleware, the ARIS method is extended by SAP-specific extensions and other interfaces to execution platforms
  • OBPA focuses on modeling, simulation and technical completion with its functionality. Other uses cases like Enterprise Architecture Modeling, Process Cost Analysis, Balanced Scorecard or Process Governance Implementation are supported by additional IDS Scheer products like ARIS IT Architect or ARIS Process Governance
  • IDS Scheer sells products and services for the “normal and generic” BPM approach, Oracle delivers everything you need to successfully implement these processes with Fusion Middleware

Another frequently asked question is, what does the BEA acquisition by Oracle mean for our partnership? And has the acquisition of IDS Scheer by Software AG an impact on the partnership? As far as I know Oracle has a clear vision how OBPA and Oracle BPM (former BEA Weblogic) are positioned against each other. The BPM tools are mandatory for the process implementation based on Oracle Process Manager. If a customer wants to do a quick  implementation of a process, without a strong alignment to business level modeling, OBPM is very good applicable. But if he wants to follow the vision of business process based Fusion implementation, he cannot do without BPA Suite.

Also the IDS Scheer takeover by Software AG has no short term impact. Of course we are now more competitors than before, because Software AG BPM (webMethods) stands direct against Oracle Fusion, but Oracle seems to be convinced that this kind of Co-opetition will be more and more normal in the future, if the consolidation in IT sector moves on. And the advantages of working together in the Business Modeling and EA area should have much more positive effect than the completion on execution level will bring conflicts.

The new enrichment scenario

One critical point in the past was, that ARIS products and OBPA could be installed on the same machine, but were not able to work integrated on the same database or repository. This will change with the current version 11g.

The idea was, that a customer might start either with ARIS or with OBPA, and with a dedicated “enrichment” setup he is able to create an integrated tool landscape on his machine. After an enrichment setup he will only have one server able to supply different clients (pure ARIS, pure OBPA, combined) with the according content.

Enrichment paths and ways of client-server-communication
Enrichment paths and ways of client-server-communication

The OBPA client remains as it is, the behavior does not change compared to a pure OBPA installation except the fact, that now ARIS databases can be accessed. But in most cases the customer will use the combined client, because this combined client offers all the functionality from both sides. If a customer e.g. first buys OBPA and later enriches this installation with ARIS IT Architect, he can use in the combined client the IT Architect specific functionality at the same time together with the OBPA specifics.

The “Enrichment of ARIS with OBPA” will be sold exclusively by Oracle, the “Enrichment of OBPA with ARIS” will be sold exclusively by IDS Scheer. In any case, the complete product landscape (client and server side) has to be enriched. Add-on products from the IDS Scheer price list like ARIS BSC cannot enrich directly an OBPA installation. In this case always the basic products (like ARIS Business Designer etc. plus ARIS Server) have to be purchased and used for the enrichment too.

Conclusions

With the release of Oracle BPA Suite 11g the last planned big milestone will be reached. I expect to continue as development lead in the cooperation with Oracle, but although I’d like to have a look back and summarize the work of the last years.

My duty as development manager of the Oracle BPA Suite project was very interesting and I really appreciated the experience, even if we had to face many problems and difficulties. The company cultures and mentality of Oracle and IDS Scheer are quite different, so it was sometimes a challenge (I assume for both sides) to reach the optimal results in an acceptable time. We had to learn that partially the first effort estimations were much too optimistic and both sides had to assign dramatically more budget than expected. But the result is worth all these difficulties. We released the very first product with complete round-trip support and set the standards in this domain.

I’d like to thank the Oracle product management and development team for the trustful and good cooperation and of course all involved people at IDS Scheer side for their high commitment, engagement, and quality of their work. I’m looking forward to the next phases of our joint development.

Tags: soa ARIS