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First Look – AlignSpace

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I had an interesting chat with Miko Matsumura VP and Deputy CTO of Software AG the other day. While we ranged widely, the official topic was Software AG’s launch of AlignSpace. AlignSpace is a hosted “Social BPM” solution supporting collaborative process discovery. The idea is that it will combine:

  • Social networking (around process definitions)
  • Collaborative design of processes
  • Translation of a wide variety of process models
  • A process marketplace

There aren’t many specific details yet (the site has an overview of these things but no details) but Miko discussed some of the key characteristics he felt an offering would need to deliver on this idea of social BPM:

  • Easy to use, low barrier to entry so those with process know-how but not technical skills (in modeling for instance) can participate.
  • A pricing model that let’s people participate even those with a fairly small role
  • Widespread access so that everyone can participate
  • Independence so that companies are not excluded because of their technology or standards choices.
  • Community – it is not enough to have “social media” features, it must actually build a community around processes
  • A marketplace of experts, skills and information must be created so people can buy and sell process expertise.

All of which sounds about right. How long it will take for all this to happen remains a good question. Meanwhile, though, you can sign up for AlignSpace Beta now – just go to alignspace.com.

Of course I would like to see the model extended to decision-making and business rules. Just as process definitions can be shared and discussed, so can many rules. Some might be “secret sauce” but many are driven by industry standard policies or regulations that everyone must follow. Collaboration around these and sharing of workable approaches would be very useful. For now AlignSpace only considers processes first class objects for collaboration but, who knows, perhaps it will get extended to consider decisions too.

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