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Open source enters BPM market

Business process management (BPM) vendor Intalio has taken its product suite into open source waters with the purchase of FiveSight.

Open source entered a new area of information technology today when business process management (BPM) firm Intalio Inc. announced that it had acquired FiveSight Technologies.

FiveSight is a privately held Chicago-based firm that is responsible for bringing the first open source implementation of the BPEL 2.0 specification, which had been developed to address a growing need for BPM in the enterprise.

Intalio, based in Redwood City, Calif., bills itself as the "open source business process management suite company," and does so with good reason -- founder and CEO Ishmael Ghalimi said his company is one of the first to take BPM technology into the hands of the open source community.

Ishmael Ghalimi on open source BPM

"BPM is a pretty new concept of open source. It allows companies to implement new business processes on existing systems without adding to the code. Because it is open source it changes more rapidly to business processes. BPM technology emerged five to six years ago, with BPM or BPM systems. There has been very little news involving open source versions.

What has happened is that BPM has more and more become the fabric of enterprise infrastructure, especially with service oriented architectures (SOAs). The reason why we are bringing open source to it is because the customers are asking for it. They want to use BPM on a very large scale, and they want the flexibility and security that can be provided with an open source community."

-- Ishmael Ghalimi

BPM has the ability to have end-to-end visibility and control over all parts of a long-lived, multi-step information request or transaction that spans multiple applications and people in one or more companies. BPM means harnessing and enhancing business processes wherever they reside within the extended enterprise and whomever they involve.

With the edition of FiveSight, Ghalimi said Intalio would now have the necessary piece to support and maintain the first commercial open source BMP suite on the market.

"Intalio was started as an open source company [in 1999] and initiated several major open source projects, such as OpenEJB, which served as a foundation for Apache Geronimo," Ghalimi said.

According to Ghalimi, Intalio has incorporated FiveSight technology within Intalio BPMS 4.0, which is currently available through an early adopter program and will be released to the public in the first quarter of 2006.

Intalio is planning to continue the development of the FiveSight BPEL 2.0 engine under the open source Common Public License, and will release its BPMN process designer and BPEL4People workflow suite under similar open source licenses later in 2006.

The FiveSight product line has been previously embedded in other open source projects, including the ServiceMix Enterprise Service Bus and leading development tools like Sun's Java Studio Enterprise.

"BPEL [Business Process Execution Language] provides a language for the formal specification of business processes and business interaction protocols," Ghalimi said. "By doing so, it extends the Web services interaction model and enables it to support business transactions. BPEL 2.0 is developed by the OASIS with the authorship of companies such as IBM, BEA Systems and Intalio."

"In terms of open source BPM, we are first to have an open source BPMS, which is the complete suite. Nobody has put all pieces together yet with BPM, so that's what we did," Ghalimi said.

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