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Open Source BPM - An Interview With The BonitaSoft CEO

10.20.2010
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Business Process Management software adoption is increasing among companies of all sizes.  This means opportunities for developers who can customize BPM packages for their company's unique applications.  The Bonita Open Solution is one example of a Java-based BPM platform that is free to download and custom-fit for your company.

The France-based open source BPM company known as BonitaSoft announced this week that they are opening a new shop in the US.   BonitaSoft CEO Miguel Valdes-Faura says that their Bonita BPM platform is the first truly open source BPM solution to have a shop in the US.  BonitaSoft is also announcing the release of the 5.3 version of their Bonita Execution Engine.  Here is the interview that DZone had with Miguel Valdes-Faura:

DZone:  Can you talk a bit about BPM and its status today?  Why should an enterprise Java developer take interest in BPM?

Miguel Valdes-Faura:  You can't build an application without a process, and BPM software offers a way to design and model workflow processes. While a lot of talk is devoted to standalone BPM suites geared towards end-users, there's also a strong Java play present in custom BPM packages. As an open source company, we offer a product that is constantly evolving from the contributions of a global community that includes a large number of Java developers.

BonitaSoft provides service and support for Bonita Open Solution. This BPM solution includes the Bonita Execution Engine, an open source BPM engine written in Java. It has been designed to provide customization and flexibility through service injection. The Bonita Execution Engine is completely configurable using an XML file called "environment." This configuration describes all services used. You can change all of them, or replace them with your own implementation. Additionally, Bonita Execution Engine is non-intrusive--it requires only Java. You can run it in any JVM and deploy it in any web/JEE container of your choice, or simply use it as a Java library.

DZone:  Tell us a bit about the Bonita open source community.  Why did BonitaSoft decide to open an office in North America?

Miguel:  BonitaSoft exists to provide commercial service and support for Bonita Open Solution, an open source movement that consists of +2000 developers worldwide. Bonita's community has grown exponentially since I co-founded the project nearly a decade ago--we've averaged nearly 40,000 downloads of Bonita Open Solution per month in 2010 alone. We've seen a large percentage of downloads coming from the U.S., even though we've yet to establish a dedicated presence there. Given that momentum and the fact that there's no true open source BPM option in the U.S., we've decided to open our first office there.

                           

DZone:  What type of company does Bonita's BPM software target?  


Miguel:  Bonita is an extremely flexible software package--there's no one specific type of company that we target. I come from a developer background and initially designed a BPM execution engine for developers to customize and embed into business applications. Since that time, Bonita has evolved and we've also developed a fully integrated BPM suite for business users. We generally work with project managers and developers that are working on custom projects within companies of all sizes.

DZone:  What's unique about Bonita BPM software?


Miguel:  Bonita is the only true open source BPM option available in today's market. While other companies are charging six figures for BPM solutions, you can download Bonita Open Solution at no cost. We offer a standalone suite comprised of three Java-based packages, which can also be embedded into custom applications: the Bonita Execution Engine, Bonita Studio and Bonita User Experience.

DZone:  What's new in today's release of the 5.3 version of the Bonita BPM engine?

Miguel:  We've made serious enhancements to BPMN2 errors management feature. We’ve also added to this version a fairly new business process simulation module to improve business processes modeled. Last but not least, we’ve added a RESTful API and multi-tenancy support for cloud deployments.

DZone:  What's the difference between BonitaSoft's free and commercial offerings?

Miguel:  We're a fully open source company, and it's important for us to preserve our integrity as such. You can download the entire Bonita BPM suite (or specific, customizable packages) here. BonitaSoft provides commercial-grade services and support for companies using Bonita Open Solution.

DZone:  What do you think is the trajectory of BPM? 

Miguel:  I think we're going to see a continued increase in BPM adoption from companies of all sizes, but particularly larger enterprises that seek unified workflow processes across large networks. There's certainly a growing market for developers that can customize and embed BPM packages into company-specific applications, and many of these packages (including Bonita) are written in Java.