Metastorm Buys Proforma to Converge BPM with Enterprise Architecture

The acquisition extends Metastorm's portfolio from implementation to design, but will it alienate CIF partners?

August 2, 2007

1 Min Read
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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.

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