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webMethods Introduces the Next Generation of Business Process Management Suites with Fabric 7.0 Release

January 10, 2007; 07:05 AM
webMethods, Inc. (Nasdaq:WEBM), a leading business integration and optimization software company, today formally introduced webMethods Fabric™ 7.0. Building upon webMethods’ market-leading integration and governance capabilities, this latest release of webMethods’ flagship product suite delivers a fully-unified environment for process development, automation, and monitoring. Enterprises can leverage webMethods Fabric 7.0 to reduce the cost, time and effort associated with deploying and maintaining new processes and composite applications.

webMethods Fabric 7.0 is highlighted by the introduction of webMethods BPMS as a newly available component of the product suite. This full-feature business process management suite (BPMS) includes an Eclipse-based process modeling environment for codeless development, extensive support for both human-to-human and system-to-system task flow, business rules management, and a new semantic metadata library. A distinguishing feature of webMethods BPMS is its integrated and enhanced process monitoring and real-time business analytics, which deliver ‘actionable insight’ to rapidly improve business processes.

webMethods Fabric 7.0 is also differentiated by the inclusion of webMethods Infravio X-Registry and webMethods Infravio X-Broker for service-oriented architecture (SOA) governance [see separate announcement: webMethods Brings SOA Governance to the Mainstream, (November 7, 2006)]. As a result of this integration, users can include existing services in their process models for implementation.

“webMethods has put a lot into its new version of the offering, part of the Fabric 7.0 suite,” said Dr. Bruce Silver, author of the 2006 BPMS Report. “In addition to a real SOA platform under the covers, webMethods has put in some BPM features that will knock your socks off. A unified Eclipse design environment with separate perspectives for business analysts and developers, no-code, drag-and-drop design, including an Ajax-slick task UI, an enterprise metadata library (a result of the Cerebra acquisition), an integrated Blaze Advisor for business rules management (sourced from Fair Isaac and truly part of the BPMS). Also included is what has to be the best business activity monitoring (BAM) – by far – in the BPM space (and maybe even in the non-BPM BAM space as well).”

webMethods Fabric Accelerates Business Improvements and Competitive Differentiation

In its most recent analysis1, Forrester Research recognized webMethods as a “Leader” in Integration-Centric Business Process Management Suites (IC-BPMS): “One of the leading vendors in early service-orientation solutions, webMethods has augmented its traditional integration capability with extensive BPM capability, as well, resulting in the most comprehensive IC-BPMS in the market.” Within the independent research firm’s comprehensive evaluation of thirteen leading vendors, webMethods also earned the top overall score for Current Offering as well as Corporate Strategy, where it tied with one other vendor for this honor.

Leveraging webMethods’ long-term strength in business integration, key capabilities of webMethods Fabric include:

    * The creation, management and governance of reusable services within a service-oriented architecture;
    * the management and automation of business processes, human workflow and transactional systems;
    * the codeless development of composite applications, customized business processes and user dashboards from reusable components; and
    * the integrated monitoring and real-time analysis of business, process and operational performance.

By bringing these functions together within a single product suite, webMethods Fabric enables a more collaborative and holistic lifecycle approach to business process integration, management and improvement.

Latest Release Sets New Benchmark for Business Process Management Suites

Building upon the company’s long-term leadership in system-to-system business process management, webMethods BPMS’ breakthrough performance and innovative new features establish a new standard for business process management suites. webMethods BPMS delivers unprecedented control over existing business processes while accelerating the delivery of new processes and applications. It also offers ‘actionable insight’ for remediating day-to-day operational issues while creating sustained competitive advantage through continuous process improvements.

“Industry leaders recognize that process mastery is a competitive weapon. With more efficient and adaptive business processes, they can improve competitive differentiation and better serve customers. webMethods Fabric 7.0 makes this vision more readily achievable for our customers as it delivers the next-generation of BPMS,” said David Mitchell, president and CEO, webMethods, Inc. “Integrated process monitoring and enhanced business analytics facilitate process improvement, using real-time insight into operational performance to pinpoint areas for subsequent improvement. Coupled with an extremely rich development and collaboration environment and SOA-based integration with underlying systems, new processes can then be implemented precisely as designed and more easily managed across their lifecycle.”

Principal features of webMethods BPMS include:

Guided Process Improvement: Users will benefit immediately from a streamlined discovery process and more intuitive business reporting as webMethods’ business activity monitoring (BAM) capabilities have been greatly enriched with the new release. The underlying architecture has also been enhanced to deliver a tenfold improvement in scalability. webMethods’ BAM product is available as a core component of webMethods BPMS as well as on a standalone basis.

With more advanced business visualization and interactive, 3-D graph-based reporting of real-time performance, users can take advantage of these enhancements to more easily understand the state of their ‘as is’ process. In the case of continuous process improvement, as defined by methodologies like Six Sigma, this actionable insight, in the form of event correlation, automated baselining, and business impact analysis, is used to identify subsequent improvements. In the context of exception management and similar scenarios, it can be dynamically and continually applied to detect, diagnosis and remediate defective processes, transactions, and orders with automated alerts used to ensure that corrective action is taken in a timely manner.

Unified Design Environment: A new, Eclipse-based modeling environment improves productivity and collaboration through the use of a single, fully-unified toolset for addressing the entire process lifecycle. Business analysts, developers and other users can leverage the role-based personas offered by this new platform to more easily and instinctively measure, model, orchestrate, manage and automate, and improve business processes. Within this unified design environment, every component of a process – models, swim lanes, Key Performance Indicator (KPI) trees, step transitions and user interfaces – can be depicted and configured into unique business processes from the desktop. Supported standards include BPMN and BPEL for process models with integrated testing used to identify potential break points in the run-time process as a means for ensuring flawless execution at implementation.

Codeless Assembly of AJAX-Based Applications: With the adoption of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) as the standard user interface (UI) for webMethods Fabric, webMethods BPMS also delivers a significantly enriched user experience. Specific benefits include the elimination of latency from the user experience, which improves productivity while streamlining access to real-time information. Through the use of a ’drag-and-drop’ library of more than 200 AJAX-based UI elements, end-users can quickly create composite applications and process interfaces without the need for additional coding. With built-in support for key standards, including JSR-168 and WSRP, these applications can be subsequently reused across nearly any implementation.

Sophisticated Task Management: webMethods BPMS supports advanced activity routing encompassing large workgroups with varying roles and responsibilities. Process actors can leverage role-based, end-user applications to streamline access to needed information while simplifying task management and execution. Other key features include notification, delegation and ad hoc routing; integrated document management and other collaboration tools; and full audit capabilities.

Industry-Leading Business Rules Management: Recognizing that the lifecycle for business rules is just as complex as those for business logic, webMethods BPMS also incorporates proven business rules management from Fair Isaac as a key feature. Using the Fair Isaac Blaze Advisor business rules engine, highly complex scenarios involving multiple sets, arrays and string manipulations can be created, managed and deployed by business users from the desktop. This auditable approach improves accountability by providing process owners with the ability to directly manage key decision criteria.

Semantic Metadata Library: Based on the acquired semantic inferencing technology of Cerebra, the semantic metadata library offered by webMethods BPMS leverages the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL) to automatically establish relationships and dependencies between assets. As a result, users can easily initiate concept-based searches across broad classes of IT assets, including services, process models and KPI trees, business rules, templates, and interfaces, to find the right asset for a specific application. This works to shorten development cycles while fostering greater reuse of existing artifacts across multiple projects and implementations.

“webMethods BPMS has been optimized for the constant change associated with complex business processes spanning multiple users and systems,” said Kristin Muhlner, executive vice president for Product Development, webMethods, Inc. “With business activity monitoring guiding process improvement, enterprises can more readily detect, diagnose and resolve operational bottlenecks. Alignment with the business is enhanced through the use of a common, role-based development platform as a means for ensuring more productive collaboration. Our embrace of a lifecycle approach for managing IT assets makes these resources easier to locate, reuse and maintain. Leveraging the underlying integration and Web services management offered by webMethods Fabric, these assets can ultimately be more readily redeployed, as new processes are transparently enacted without the need for an intermediary. Collectively, these approaches allow IT to deliver faster development, improved accountability, greater efficiencies and continuous improvement.”

Out-of-the-Box, Enterprise-Ready Performance

Key webMethods partners have already certified consultants on webMethods Fabric 7.0 with more partners expected to follow. During an intensive, four-week program, participants from Accenture, Infosys, L & T Infotech, Tata Consultancy Services, and Wipro Technologies worked collaboratively with webMethods developers to field test the release as part of the “Partners in Excellence” program.

webMethods’ commitment to customer success is further reinforced by the rapid ramp-up program being launched in support of the new release. Customers participating in the program will benefit from on-site support from webMethods Global Services, direct access to named technical services and product development resources for additional support, and exclusive training on webMethods Fabric 7.0. In addition, webMethods’ Business Case Accelerator methodology will be used to identify specific process improvement objectives that can be readily addressed with the product suite’s initial deployment.

Product Availability

The webMethods Fabric v. 7.0 product suite is available now. As a means for accelerating time-to-benefit, webMethods is introducing “Quick Start” editions of webMethods Fabric with project-scope pricing for common scenarios. These promotional configurations address specific user requirements associated with business integration, trading partner network management (B2B), SOA governance, business activity monitoring, and business process management.

1 The Forrester Wave™: Integration-Centric Business Process Management Suites, Q4 2006 by Ken Vollmer and Henry Peyret with Mike Gilpin (December 20, 2006)

About webMethods, Inc.

webMethods (Nasdaq:WEBM) provides business integration software to integrate, assemble and optimize available IT assets to drive business process productivity. webMethods delivers an innovative, enterprise-class business integration platform that incorporates proven integration technology with next generation capabilities into one interoperable set of tools that delivers a unique combination of efficiency, agility and control. webMethods combines industry leadership with a zealous commitment to customers to deliver tangible business value to more than 1,400 global customers. webMethods is headquartered in Fairfax, Va., with offices throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia Pacific and Japan. More information about the company can be found at www.webMethods.com.

The webMethods name and logo are registered trademarks of, and webMethods Fabric is a trademark of, webMethods, Inc. All other marks mentioned are trademarks or service marks of their respective companies.



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