Salesforce.com launches new Visual Process Designer

Salesforce.com is broadening the range of its Force.com cloud development platform with a new visual tool set for designing business processes, the company announced Wednesday.

Visual Process Manager is the result of Salesforce.com’s recent acquisition of U.K. firm Informavores. Using a flowchart-style, drag-and-drop interface, users can design a wide variety of business processes, from call center scripts to employee performance management. The tool employs building blocks such as question forms and decision trees.

It has four components, including the process designer, a “wizard builder” for creating step-by-step guides for end-users, a simulation tool for testing processes before they go live, and a process execution engine.

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Completed processes, such as for getting an insurance quote, could also be surfaced through a corporate Web site, allowing the public to access them, said Ariel Kelman, vice president of platform marketing.

Pricing is US$50 per user per month for customers of Salesforce.com’s Enterprise or Unlimited editions.

Visual Process Manager joins Salesforce.com’s existing development tool set, which includes the Apex programming language and the Visualforce user interface design environment.

The announcement represents Salesforce.com’s desire to increase the number of users that are developing software on its platform, said 451 Group analyst China Martens.

Several years ago, when the company first introduced Force.com, its focus on Apex and more sophisticated programming models meant it lost a big audience, Martens said. “They didn’t go for the point-and-click guys,” she said. “Lower-end people haven’t really jumped on board as much as they thought they would.”

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Commentary

What a palava this is causing on the net newswires. Saleforce.com comes up with a process workflow tool and it’s suddenly a BPM solution provider that threatens the world. Calm down. There are already solutions which offer the same simplicity, Casewise Synergy is one that springs to mind I saw last year. Fair enough it’s not a Cloud solution (yet) but it offers the same web modelling capability by a business user to automate workflow simply using form based methods. Ask Alcatel who have been using it extensively for a year. It was built in conjunction with PNMSoft btw…

 

 


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3 responses to “Salesforce.com launches new Visual Process Designer

  1. Here is the line I was looking for in the article link "…then instantly deploy it to your Sales, Service, or Custom Cloud applications"By a show of hands, when o’ when has there ever been something that was just draw and "click" your way into a production rollout? I’ve seen the same level of hype surrounding Business Rules Engines (BRE) in the past and none, not one, could ever live up to that expectation, but it certainly drove IT crazy….Frank

  2. Just to clarify – Casewise Synergy is actually an OEMed version of PNMSoft’s SEQUENCE. You’re right that this is hardly a tool to beat the best of the pure-play BPM vendors; but that doesn’t mean it’s not significant… in the context of Salesforce’s wider bid to deliver a rich platform for enterprise apps in the Cloud.

  3. Wow, finally Salesforce has a way of representing the essential workflows that make up a structured business. But really is this worth the 50 bucks per user per month? Is that $50 per developer? That makes little sense to me.In my opinion, Force is looking like an ever more complex cloud based development environment. Human centric BPM has been striving to get less technical, not more (or at least hiding the technology better), and I don’t think that any of us will be trusting our business analysts to build new solutions, especially with the complexity of having to deal with the proprietary APEX programming language to do virtually anything.Other SaaS options are available – Appian leverages the Amazon cloud, and I run a small company that offers an alternative take on BPM to rapidly build workflow based solution – Consected. Either way, this Force.com workflow is valuable for anyone wanting to lock all their data into Salesforce and a proprietary development environment. They will have to work hard to make it more than just another development tool in the ever more complex toolbag. This is not BPM, any more than the workflow in SAP is BPM.Phil Ayres

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