I spent some time at ProcessWorld, Software AG’s annual event. I very much enjoyed TUCON, Tibco’s event, and I wanted to hear about AG’s own events processing, SOA, collaboration and other initiatives.
The conference started off with a very promising positioning statement “We bring agility back to enterprises who have lost it by implementing packaged applications”.
Since AG tools like Aris have long helped companies document their enterprise processes (and in the 90s Aris was almost synonymous with SAP projects) I wanted to hear how AG breaks the “concrete” companies have poured around themselves with their ERP, CRM and other packages. I also wanted to hear about agility in companies which have similarly been stuck in long-term SOA projects.
Instead of sticking to that theme and showcasing case studies around it, the conference felt the need to latch itself to the hot buzzwords of today – Big Data, social, in-memory, mobile and cloud. So, the announcements around WebMethods 9.0 talk about extending its integration layer to cloud based applications. WebMethods Pulse supports instant mobile notification. Aris 9.0 introduces a Connect feature for social networking. The Terracotta acquisition allows distributed caching and in-memory computing for Java. Adabas is one of the oldest NoSQL databases around.
Cannot blame AG for wanting to leverage these market trends. I just don’t think it has enough customers around these new features. Indeed, I attended a nice awards ceremony today where 8 AG customers were honored for innovation. The categories reflected Software AG’s traditional value points – Process excellence, IT/Business Alignment, Productivity etc not the more recent Social, Big Data etc categories.
Having said that, like at TUCON, I saw a wide range of industries represented at the event – healthcare, casinos, beverages etc. And most talked about their innovations using AG tools rather than the sob stories of project overruns and upgrade headaches that you hear over and over at so many ERP conferences.
I would love to go back next year and see more substance around the Agility messaging, and yes, seeing the innovation categories reflect the social, mobile, Big Data so we can see more customers rather than just product announcements with those buzzwords.