BonitaBPM: where the open source rubber hits the BPM road

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“We are the best funded BPM startup on the market today” ~ a bold statement from Mac McConnell from Bonitasoft today as they unveiled their latest version, BonitaBPM 6, to an audience in central London. I’m a long time fan of the Bonitasoft story given their open source stance in a tough BPM market but its starting to pay off. With over 2 million downloads since 2001, 60,000 community members and 600+ customers they are starting stamp their authority. There was no context around revenues but this was primarily a product release event so let’s get to it.

The product line has now been renamed as BonitaBPM with a new tagline of “be efficient” and this runs with the simulation capabilities that they’ve aligned with Lean and Six Sigma. Release 6 represents the biggest upgrade to the suite in 3 years. Mac made the definitive statement that ‘they are a BPMS, not a business application platform’ and went insofar as to say that eventually BPM will eat Case Management. Contentious indeed.

BonitaBPM also brings with it new Mobile functionality, but unlike some vendors with a native app they’ve gone down the Mobile CSS route. With a Gmail look and feel about it in terms of how it represents process instances it remains to be seen whether they’ll eventually build an app through customer demand or natural R&D but the rendering via CSS didn’t detract.

The revised portal looks clean and easy to use. But more important features are under the skin:

- Error management can now be performed on the fly within the Admin portal
- Task reruns have been enabled whereas before this wasn’t possible once a process had been corrected
- The production environment now runs in Tomcat
- Actors are now an addition to the Studio
- With a service based architecture the new engine runs 4x as fast as the previous version

Perhaps the most widely discussed topic and feature today (and from I’ve heard in other workshops this week) is the addition of a Sub-Task feature that let’s the end user add a new task to a process instance they are performing on the fly and assign it to themselves or someone else to action. It’s new and unrefined right now but I’ll be interested to see how this develops, as it stands the governance side of it is not strong (for example limiting task management features by role access, SLA management etc) but it does open the possibilities of having pseudo-Case functionality or a strong task management solution embedded within a process instance. Time will tell how customers react and shape this but there are plenty of lean and social based tools out there to take cues from now.

The other thing which I was pleased to see, and not directly product related, was their services arm creating ready made “process templates”, something which I’m a strong advocate in from vendors and their partners. I hope to see this built out along with the product itself and encouraged in their community too.

It’s a strong release from Miguel and his crew, they are beginning to tighten up and with the new round of funding secured recently there’s more to invest in R&D and marketing, something which they’ve relied on the community too heavily on in recent years and need to step up a notch when competing for attention.

Mac finished the reveal by saying that all these features and what’s on the path to come will go some way to proving the value of BPM again, harnessing the tribal knowledge in the organization and create a process-driven application that truly meets the operational goals of an organization.

BonitaBPM 6 will be available for download tomorrow, Wednesday 5th June at 5pm CET. Grab the free Community Edition and play away. You might learn to like BPM again.

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2 responses to “BonitaBPM: where the open source rubber hits the BPM road

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