IBM BPMS Announcement Decoded

It seems my post yesterday, drawn from the press release, keynote slides, and mini-briefing, missed the coded messages in IBM's BPMS announcement. Here is the decoded version.

The announcement of an "IBM BPM Suite" represents a big deal internally at IBM. It is intended to signify a commitment to a single BPMS based on interworking components from separate divisions - WebSphere, FileNet, Lotus, Rational, GBS, etc. It required signoff from all the various warlords - Rosamilia, Goyal, LeBlanc, Bowden, etc. Apparently a big deal. They know they're not there yet, but the commitment to get there is new.

Second point is investment protection. The starter sets - one for WebSphere and the other for FileNet - are meant to signal that customer investments in those technologies will be protected going forward as the BPMS takes shape. IBM (unlike FileNet) is well known for this. We'll see how well it works. I sense they are willing to take their hits in the Magic Quadrants rather than rattle the installed base.

Third point is interworking of components across traditional brand boundaries. It always seems to be harder to do that at IBM than at other places. They obsess over details like unifying the install, test, and support. But again the commitment to integrate across brands in the BPMS is apparently significant.

The June-July v6.1.2 release now seems less like a major step forward and more like the first step on a long journey.