Bosch Software Innovations (the company that emerged from Bosch’s acquisition of Innovations Software Technology with its Visual Rules BRM suite some years ago) acquired inubit last year and has been working to develop an integrated portfolio. The inubit acquisition came after a number of joint projects where customers used both inubit Suite for BPM and Visual Rules Suite for BRM. Bosch Software Innovation is now about 450 people with a headquarters in Immenstaad, Germany. Bosch Software Innovation’s primary focus is on software for the “internet of things”, something Bosch regards as central to its long term growth. They have enterprise solutions for banking (such as risk management), energy (inubit has a strong presence in the management of the gas distribution network for instance) and other industries like healthcare and telco. They also do some systems and software as a service work. The core of our discussion was their third business area their software product portfolio – the inubit suite consisting of a portal, business process management, business rules management (the Visual Rules product) and data management.
inubit Suite 6 consists of 5 pieces:
- Process Center
Simulation, execution and monitoring of processes. Modeling supports organizational charts, process maps, and BPMN 2.0 process models that can be modeled in both a workbench and a web client. Lots of validation and guidance is provided and the suite creates an executable model from these models using an extended version BPEL. Extensive reporting across both design and execution is available.
- Integration Center
Enterprise Service Bus and integration technologies. They offer 70+ standard connectors as well as strong test and debugging features, hot deployment and thin client interfaces.
- Solution Center
A rapid application development environment with web 2.0 and portal support as well as a business repository. Domain models and detailed data models can be created and integrated and executable systems can be generated from these models also. Automatically generated views can be edited using a Web-based WYSIWYG editor. They offer a tight integration with the Liferay portal but support the JSR standards to allow integration into other portals. The portal can include models of the processes executing and process monitoring components.
- Rules Center
Visual Rules of which more below.
- Modeling Center
Collaborative web modeling using the same visual metaphors and information in the other components.
The suite is designed to support the whole modeling-simulation-implementation-monitoring cycle. They call this approach BPM+ in that it includes the core BPM functionality, structured and unstructured data management, user interaction beyond simple forms across portals and mobile devices, intelligent processes with business rules and business activity monitoring, and both less structured processes and dynamic case management.
Business rules in their model are used in the portal and UI components for validation and microflow control, for decision management in the process layer, for orchestration and integration and for data validation. Visual Rules is integrated into the suite for all these purposes.
Visual Rules (which I last reviewed in late 2010) has been focusing recently on the tight integration of the components that make up the Visual Rules Suite and usability of the tools and graphical interfaces. A new execution core provides hot deployment, handling of multiple rule versions and is easier to integrate with third party applications and multi-tenant deployments. Rule-controlled state flow diagrams have been added for state management and there have been some improvements to testing and simulation, with some nice ability to show how data is flowing through the rules in simulation. The core visual rule metaphor has also been made available as a thin client web interface.
Integration between the inubit and Visual Rules suites exists primarily at the execution level today where processes can execute rules for decision-making. Two separate workbenches are used to configure the products and two separate thin clients support the web versions of the process and rule modelers (though integrating this is a high priority). The rule server can use the inubit data integration features and ESB for data access of course and at a modeling level the BPMN model uses a Rule Task to link to a Visual Rules service. While there is no design-time integration at the moment, large joint customers have helped ensure that customers can really use them together inside a single lifecycle and get an integrated deployment.
They also have a published BPM methodology for the various phases of a business process project and support this methodology with their tooling. The methodology focuses on patterns and on best practices.
Bosch Software Innovations is one of the vendors listed in our Decision Management Systems Platform Technologies report.