IBM today announced new software that can help companies establish a more detailed roadmap of their business operations. With a better view of how business processes such as customer service, claims processing or supply chain management are being executed across disparate, far-flung networks, companies can detect slowdowns, look for efficiencies and respond faster to customer demand and changing market conditions.

The new software, WebSphere Business Integration Modeler Version 5, uses the latest industry standards and IBM’s leading integration software and development tools to help companies and other organizations model the flow of myriad business processes across their I.T. systems. Companies want to reduce time, cost and complexity as they engineer these increasingly automated processes.

Business process modeling is a core component of Business Performance Management, an industry term for the effort by companies to manage both business processes and IT systems within an integrated framework. WebSphere Business Integration Modeler makes it possible for company management to visualize, design and chart the various operations of their organizations, providing a means for evaluating performance and modifying processes in cases where slow downs or flaws are detected.

“Enabling our clients to manage their end-to-end business processes and drive transformation and best practices is crucial to helping them become on demand businesses,” said Marie Wieck, General Manager, Business Integration and Industry Solutions. “WebSphere Business Integration Modeler reflects the key requirements we have seen from our customers, partners and IBM internally.”

Until recently, organizations took their chances when establishing business processes, since there wasn’t an easy and reliable way to visualize how the operations would impact the enterprise before committing to an infrastructure. Now, with WebSphere Business Integration Modeler, companies have a bird’s eye view into how proposed IT operations will roll out across the organization, and management can tweak implementations and plans based on process models. This is especially useful for providing business value to organizations in today’s climate of mergers and acquisitions, business process outsourcing, process reengineering and automation of formerly manual processes, since companies want to avoid the hassle and expense of re-tooling a process that didn’t perform as expected.

IT analyst firm Gartner anticipates that 70 percent of enterprises will have conducted business process efforts by the end of 2005, helping them improve capabilities to cut costs and boost competitive advantage. Gartner also expects anticipated and active business changes to drive the need for more business modeling, ultimately helping organizations to keep current in a dynamic business world.*

The Star Alliance, a network of 15 airlines, is implementing an IBM modeling solution using the new WebSphere software in order to further enhance collaboration and agreement upon business processes across its members, taking into account the different cultural, geographic and organizational backgrounds.

“Our goal is to optimize collaboration efforts across our wide range of members, and we looked to IBM WebSphere Business Integration Modeler to help facilitate this endeavor,” said Brian Cook, Vice President of Information Technology, Star Alliance. “Modeling technology is helping us to create standards for reducing complexity, achieving harmonization and creating value for our member carriers.”

WebSphere Business Integration Modeler is the only modeling tool built to open standards and based on Eclipse, a universal open source software tool platform, which means it can easily be integrated an organization’s existing architecture. The software is based on BPEL (Business Process Execution Language), an XML-based open standard for defining how to combine Web services to implement business processes, and provides support for WebSphere Business Integration Server Foundation, WebSphere MQ message queuing software and Rational Rose XDE development tools. This open architecture allows customers to work with existing content they may have based on standards like XML or product content like Microsoft Visio, and extend it using WebSphere Business Integration Modeler’s simulation and modeling capabilities.

The Principal Financial Group, a global financial institution offering businesses and individuals a range of financial products and services, is implementing the new IBM software to better model business processes across its many offices, which serve more than 13 million customers worldwide. “We are excited that the new release of WebSphere Business Integration Modeler is powered by Eclipse technology,” said Brian Cornelison, Enterprise Application Integration, Principal Financial Group. “This approach allows the new software to effectively interact with our Eclipse-based source code management tooling, thereby enhancing our ability to use a team approach for model development.”

Pricing and Availability
WebSphere Business Integration Modeler version 5 will be general available on August 12, with multiple language versions available September 30. Pricing starts at $1,250 and includes one year of maintenance support.