IBM Puts a Business Face on SOA

IBM today unleashed a tidal wave of product announcements under the heading "SOA from a Business Centric Perspective." Details on individual offerings are still sketchy. This was mostly shock and awe: Surrender Earthlings, our technology is simply too vast and powerful...

And it really is an impressive array of stuff. In addition to enhancements to WebSphere Business Modeler, Monitor, Process Server, and Integration Developer - all the components of the WebSphere BPM suite - IBM is throwing a bunch of new stuff into the mix. Notable are the inclusion of DB2 Content Manager and Workplace technology. I could never understand why IBM, which had decent workflow technology in its 1990s-era document management products, ever built this giant Chinese wall between BPM and Content Manager. Maybe it was that branding thing - if products were in two different IBM "brands" they may as well have been from separate companies.

But it looks like that wall has come down. IBM is introducing a QuickStart Toolkit that integrates DB2 Content Manager with WebSphere BPM as a set of service components, and allows CM to act as a repository of Workplace Forms. (Why not a repository of process models as well?)

The other significant piece of IBM-to-IBM integration is WebSphere Portal, which is not only being integrated with Process Server but appears to be going full-bore with Ajax, including a whole new Ajax Toolkit Framework, much of it open-source. That should make all you Kool-Aid-drinking mashup-loving Web 2.0 geeks happy. Throw in the Bowstreet portlet factory stuff and the Workplace Dashboard components (still not sure how these complement/compete with WebSphere Business Monitor), and you have the makings of a comprehensive BPMS steamroller.

The various offerings announced today will be released over the next 6 months. More news on these when the "deep-dive" briefings begin.