Metastorm Moves Beyond BPMS With Proforma Buy


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This acquisition delivers one-stop-shopping for best-of-breed technology supporting business architecture, BPA and BPM. Value greater than the sum of the parts will be delivered in 18 to 24 months.

News Analysis


On 1 August 2007, Metastorm, a provider of business process management (BPM) software, announced that it has acquired Proforma, a provider of enterprise modeling solutions for enterprise architecture (EA) and business process analysis (BPA). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


This acquisition underscores the ongoing convergence of EA and BPA tools, and the business process management suite (BPMS) market. A process-driven enterprise strives for greater collaboration across key process-centric roles, such as enterprise architects, process architects, business process analysts and process consultants. "Siloed" technologies supporting these roles undermine their efforts. While vendors such as IBM, BEA, Oracle and Software AG have been acquiring best-of-breed service-oriented architecture and BPM-enabling technologies to create best-of-brand BPM suites, this acquisition positions Metastorm to move beyond being a best-of-breed, cross-platform (that is, .NET and Java Platform, Enterprise Edition) BPMS tool provider to become a more comprehensive EA/BPM alternative platform provider.

Like Metastorm's other acquisitions, we expect this one to go smoothly, with no disruption to existing users, prospects and partners. These tools already work well together through bridges and interoperability standards, so technology integration issues should be minimal. The two companies have similar cultures, with a focus on business analysis, ease of use, customer support and relationship management. Cross-selling opportunities are strong: Metastorm will provide new sales channels for Proforma in the eastern U.S. and globally, while Proforma has a strong market presence in the western U.S.

However, to deliver value greater than the sum of these parts, during the next 12 to 18 months Metastorm will need to change its product architecture to reconcile metamodels and move to a common repository, ideally built on ProVision's stronger capabilities. This will provide tighter integration than is possible now and more than is possible through either vendor's existing partnerships. This will also mean a future migration for users.

Although ProVision’s EA capabilities were attractive to Metastorm, we believe Metastorm's interest is limited to providing a strategic context for BPA and BPM. Since 2005, Proforma has decreased its focus on EA. While the emphasis on BPA and BPM will continue to be useful to organizations that have a strong business architecture focus, other Proforma users and prospects counting on strong support for technology, information and solution architectures could be frustrated. For example, the ability to exchange information with software and data design tools and the ability to import information for IT management tools, middleware, security directories and other runtime environments might not receive the attention it should for ProVision to remain a leading EA tool.


All organizations: Consider this combination of technologies if you are looking for end-to-end process visibility from a business architecture context all the way through to physical execution, and you are willing to give up pure EA depth to achieve it.

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