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It’s been a busy year for OpenText in the business process management space with the acquisition of Metastorm in February followed by Global 360 in July. To close the year, OpenText has announced the creation of a new BPM unit and what looks like the development of a new BPM strategy.

The new unit, which will be called the Business Process Solutions (BPS) group, will bring together the capabilities that OpenText gained with its two major acquisitions this year. While there were questions at the time about overlaps with the two purchases, it seems that the Canadian enterprise content management (ECM) giant is streamlining and putting it all under the same roof.

Metastorm, Global 360 and BPM

You may recall that the Metastorm acquisition was about extending the functionality of its ECM rather than -- as it appeared at the time -- creating a separate BPM product, while the Global 360 acquisition was about delivering dynamic case management.

Combined, the two look like a formidable product offering, even if the details of that product offering are still, for the moment, a bit unclear.

There is also a strong association between the two acquired companies and Microsoft. At the time of the Global 360 buy, OpenText explained that one of the things that attracted it to Global 360 was its role as Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and as part of the Microsoft SharePoint ISV Partner Advisory Council.

At the beginning of this year OpenText wasn’t really a contender in the business process management space; at the end of the year, it looks like it is going to pack a serious punch moving into 2012.

In this respect, it is worth noting that last year Global 360 was one of the leaders in the Forrester Wave for Dynamic Case Management, while Metastrom made it into Gartner’s ‘Cool Vendor’ list for BPM.

Generally speaking, the OpenText BPS platform will address wider case management and business process use, including document, content and case-centric processes as well, of course, as straightforward business process management.

Business Process Management Strategy

OpenText says that it will offer its clients a solution that will take them from strategic planning through execution and solution and will come with a user-centric interface developed for ease-of-use.
And with this new focus comes a new strategy, the bones of which follow:

  • Enterprise mobility: To enable the initiation of, or participation in, business processes via smart phones.
  • Social workspace: Social workspaces for easier interaction between users.
  • Flexible cloud deployments: The new solutions will be offered as SaaS, on-premise, on private clouds or in hybrid combinations.
  • Content integration: Content to be provided in the context of the work being performed with content delivered where it’s needed.
  • Business visualization: Enabling businesses to plan their processes from inception to execution.

Without the details of how this is going to happen it doesn’t look very original, but the goal is to harness all this into a single business group and, presumably, produce products according to business needs.

It is OpenText, too, and OpenText with a clear business process management strategy.

Kamran Kheirolomoom, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Business Process Solutions, OpenText said of the new focus:

…business process management is shifting from automation to innovation, differentiation, business agility, and improved customer satisfaction…We gain a deep understanding of our customer’s problem and look at the spectrum of processes required, who’s involved in the process, and the metrics that are important to the business in order to help each customer achieve success.”

Product-wise, the company says the first things they will be looking at are social collaboration capabilities and mobile access to the software suite.

OpenText says Social BPM will enhance an organizations’ ability to improve process participant productivity, particularly with unstructured work, by applying social technologies like instant messenger and social media to process improvement.

What exact products it has in mind have not yet been nailed down, but we’re likely to see the answers sooner rather than later.