Sunday, May 30, 2010

Its not just standalone BPM that is dead!

There was a thread recently on InfoQ asking whether standalone BPMS is dead.

Yes it is dead.

But, that's not the only standalone thing that is dead! Standalone Business Rules Systems is dead. Standalone Application Servers are dead. Standalone ETL products are dead. Standalone Messaging products are dead. Standalone ESBs are dead. Standalone Enterprise Content Management systems are dead. Standalone Security products are dead. Yes, they're all dead.

They're all dead because customers are tired of being integration companies. What happens when a customer buys one of these standalone BPMS/BRS/ETL/etc. products is that the customer has to figure out how to integrate it to the other standalone products they've bought from other vendors. How does that help the customer's IT shop deliver business value to their organization?

Enterprise problems don't come neatly packaged into BPM problems or Business Rules problems or Data Transformation problems or any one such well defined category. Instead, enterprise problems are complex problems that require an entire repertoire of tools which can be combined nicely to solve the problem at hand. Attempting to build solutions to these complex problems with a single sledgehammer approach is one of the reasons why many IT projects take so long to complete and end up being so expensive.

The customer's IT shop is like the place which maintains the vehicle that the enterprise's IT is. What happens after a few years of taking standalone products and trying to live by their rules (not to mention their expensive consultants) and creating hodge-podge solutions is that the car ends up looking like this:
That's why enterprise middleware needs to be 100% internally self-consistent and fully integrated. Without that, every turn may drive the IT shop into a wall. Behind every dark spot on the road could be a pot hole. Or, at best, the IT shop is not able to drive the car down the freeway with cruise control turned on .. instead its constantly hitting speedbumps.

Don't like that? Well then you need middleware that can scale up and offer exactly the features that you need to solve the problem cleanly. Your IBM/Oracle/Tibco/JBoss middleware can't do that? Well then you have to try WSO2 Carbon based products .. and your car will end up looking like this :-).
The best part of course is that all of our products are 100% open source under Apache license and free for you to use. If you want absolutely world class enterprise support, call us and we'll sell it to you at $8000/server. All very simple.


Hi10 said...

All I can say is - It's insane viewpoint, especially when someone tries to boast their product suite like this. There are tons and tons of successful implementations with cross-integration of multiple vendors in an enterprise architectures..It all depends on the practices and patterns used to implement the products..IBM, Oracle, Tibco are not naive vendors...WSO2 is..I personally have seen many flaws and limitations in WSO2 products..So, please do not always boast your products just based on the fact that it is 100% open source..The real value of any product is it should function as it claims. Not just bragging at a high level on blogs and websites using terms like "world-class etc etc..." and failing when implementing the simple use-cases..WSO2 is going good with a superb vision but there are numerous flaws yet and need to mature to compete with other vendors...It's too early to blog/brag about WSO2 at the moment.

Sanjiva Weerawarana said...

@Hi10: Of course there are tons of successful deployments of multiple products. However, it is a fact that 70% of IT budgets go towards integration and that many many IT projects fail to deliver business value.

I believe that one of the reasons for such failures and expense is the complexity of the toolset.

Yes I of course know that WSO2's products are not as fully featured as some of the others are. If you did find issues please do report them to us - see Or better yet send a patch :).

I will keep blogging and bragging about how much radical impact simplification can have. We're not done yet but we have already created a significantly simpler environment than our competitors!

I'm sure people said the same thing about Linux sometime ago .. "good for simple stuff but the big boys need AIX or HPUX or ..". Times have changed :).

Sanjiva Weerawarana said...

There's an interesting by Randy Heffner of Forrester on how SOA is not an isolated thing. Makes a point similar to what I am making in this post. See:,289142,sid26_gci1514349,00.html


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