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Metastorm Buys Proforma to Converge BPM with Enterprise Architecture

BPM (business process management) vendor Metastorm is moving into the
BPA (business process analysis) and EA (enterprise architecture) markets
through acquisition, buying Proforma Corp.
for an undisclosed amount. Metastorm already resold Proforma's ProVision
suite, so in the short term the move will make little difference to its
customers. In the long term, the company's plan is to extend the Proforma data and
service modeling technologies to all Metastorm products.

The move looks like a good one for Metastorm: The BPM market is getting
crowded as large vendors and SOA players move into it, so adding
ProVision helps Metastorm stand out. However, EA is still aimed at
fairly different customers from BPM. While both are intended to handle
both IT and human-centric business processes, EA is more of a top-down
discipline, focusing on greenfield SOA deployments or enterprises that want
to fully understand their business processes before applying new
technology. BPM is a natural fit for implementing EA strategies, but it
also attracts other users who have already implemented parts of SOA and
are looking for more immediate returns.

Still, Metastorm isn't the only BPM vendor interested in EA and BPA.
ProVision is most notable for its CIF (Common Interchange Format), which
has become a de-facto standard for interoperability between BPM and BPA,
embraced by much of the industry. In addition to Metastorm itself, the
CIF Consortium includes BPM vendors Appian, DST Technologies, Fuego,
Fujitsu, Image Technology, inRule, Lombardi Software, OpenConnect,
Pegasystems, Savvion, Trinity Millennium and Workpoint, all of which
ProVision considered partners. Though Metastorm hopes to continue these
partnerships, most of them are its competitors in BPM, and the Consortium
may fracture.