Microsoft Business Process Alliance Enables Mainstream Adoption of Business Process Management

SAN DIEGO — Feb. 26, 2007 — At the Gartner Business Process Management Summit, Microsoft Corp. today announced the formation of the Microsoft Business Process Alliance (BPA), which extends the benefits of business process management (BPM) to an array of companies and offers enhanced functionality to existing Microsoft customers. The Business Process Alliance is a group of 10 industry-leading software vendors focused on making BPM solutions more broadly accessible and helping companies take advantage of BPM tools based on the Microsoft® platform. Through this alliance, a broad range of customers will benefit from a powerful set of end-to-end tools for automating and optimizing business processes. The initial members of the BPA are AmberPoint, Ascentn, IDS Scheer, Fair Isaac, Global360, InRule, Metastorm, PNMsoft, RuleBurst and SourceCode Technology Holdings Inc. Microsoft also announced enhancements to its Windows® Workflow Foundation technology in the .NET Framework 3.0, adding support for the upcoming BPEL 2.0 standard and further providing capabilities and tools for developers and independent software vendors building BPEL-enabled workflow applications.

“The business process management space has become a classic case of the haves and have-nots between very large enterprises and the rest of the industry,” said Steven Martin, director of product management in the Connected Systems Division at Microsoft. “The formation of the Business Process Alliance serves as a great opportunity for a wider range of customers to adopt game-changing business process management technologies that drive efficiency through automation.”

Today, the adoption of business process management technologies has been primarily limited to the Fortune 500, due to the high cost and complexity of specialized BPM solutions. Microsoft is breaking down deployment blockers associated with BPM, such as high cost, complexity and application connectivity challenges. To this end, Microsoft has founded the Business Process Alliance to deliver end-to-end tools running on the Microsoft platform and enabling simple, cost-effective BPM options for organizations of all sizes.

According to Gartner Inc.,* “[Small and midsize businesses (SMBs)] have to support many of the same business processes as large enterprises. The difference is often one of scale and the ability to support their business processes using IT. Although transaction volumes may be different, SMBs must get the same job done with fewer personnel and a smaller budget at their disposal. Because of this, they are attracted to vendors that understand their unique challenges and that tailor their solutions to address these unique constraints.”

Microsoft has listened to customer feedback regarding critical needs for BPM functionality and has formed the BPA to meet specific needs in the areas of business process modeling and analysis, business rules management, human-centric workflow, process simulation and service-oriented architecture life-cycle management. By taking advantage of the technology offered by Microsoft and the partners in the BPA, customers benefit from the ability to build rich end-to-end processes without limiting functionality or requiring custom integration.

“Partnering with Microsoft is exciting for IDS Scheer as it helps extend the value of business process management to companies of all sizes,” said Kapi Attawar, vice president of strategic technology alliances at IDS Scheer. “Microsoft’s ability to bring BPM to the masses and get information workers involved in business processes via people-ready process functionality in the 2007 Microsoft Office system is a boon for customers.”

Microsoft also announced a road map for the adoption of the BPEL 2.0 standard in Windows Workflow Foundation to help drive industry interoperability and drive greater mainstream adoption of BPEL-enabled workflow applications. Microsoft will enable further integration between Windows Workflow Foundation and its BizTalk® Server product as part of the BizTalk Server 2006 R2 release, which will be generally available in the third quarter of 2007. The company also underscored upcoming advancements with Microsoft’s Office Business Application strategy, made possible by new platform capabilities in the 2007 Microsoft Office system, to enable customers to realize the People-Ready value from business processes by allowing information workers to use the familiar Microsoft Office system and Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007. Additional information on Microsoft’s BPM strategy and technologies can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/bpm; information on BPEL-standard support can be found at http://blogs.msdn.com/pandrew.

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