It's not your father's Visio.
BPM modeling tools are bridging the gap between business and IT, so both sides can take advantage of emerging technology trends including Web 2.0 and cloud computing, says John Goble, vice president product marketing, Vitria Technology Inc.
A leader in this new wave of tooling is Vitria's M3O, which offers "the ability to model, manage, monitor, and optimize not only the business processes but the business. So that's your three Ms and the O," Goble explains.
M3O caught the eye of Ken Vollmer, principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., who compares the modeling tool's interface to an iPod. "It's a very slick interface," the analyst says.
Vitria even created a YouTube video that highlights the iPod interface.
Vitria describes M3O as "a complete business process and event management suite." Goble said it is unique because it not only lets business people and developers collaborate on modeling "but the model is the executable program."
It replaces the old method where business people used triangles and rectangles connected by lines and then sent that diagram over to IT where developers did their best to translate the picture into a program, Goble said.
That method wastes time, he argues, because the visual model has to be hand coded into an application that may or may not represent the original business process diagram.
The new generation of modeling tools, including M3O, allow the business people to model the processes they know best and then let the developers do the finishing work.
"M3O lets business and IT each do what they do best," Goble said. "The business people and the IT people can collaborate and what you model is what you execute."
Once the model is translated into the Web 2.0 dashboard applications it moves into the optimization phases where a wireless provider can monitor the process for activating newly sold phones in one customer example Goble offers. If dashboard data indicates a slowdown in activations, a business user can spot a problem such as a wrong activation code and modify it to get things running smoothly again.
So the M3O model not only becomes the application but also provides the monitoring and optimization capability for on-going process improvement.
Vitria offers M3O both as an on-premise or compute cloud-based application, Goble said. Both the modeling tools and the BPM application can be hosted in the cloud if that is what the customer requires, he added.