Tuesday, July 18, 2006
An unobjective review of Metastorm BPM 7
First the disclaimer, I used to work for Metastorm, I use Metastorm e-Work/BPM most days for my job and I'm a techy so may not be interested in the same things as a business user of the software. Finally I haven't got my hands on the software yet, so can't comment on stability etc. And because of all that, this review will be completely unobjective and uninformed. First up, and possibly the least important new change, the name. To my mind, e-Work was a good name, if only because my boss's company ranks highly on the search term 'Metastorm e-Work'. BPM on the other hand doesn't set the software apart from every other BPM product out there. It's like Microsoft calling their word processor software 'Word', what they did? OK, perhaps I'm wrong... Having had a quick look at the webinar, there are quite a few new features. Metastorm seem to be making a lot of fuss about the SharePoint integration, I'm not hugely interested in this but if you're a SharePoint shop already it looks pretty sweet and much improved over the previous ActiveX implementation, perhaps not in features but certainly in acceptability in the corporate world. The Designer gets a makeover, going down the Visual Studio route with dockable windows, which should be pretty useful in terms of screen real estate. There are new icons, but they look pretty ugly to my eyes. There are a few new features (including the ability to specify roles in a library which made me laugh since this used to be possible until it was pulled out of the product for some reason). You can now find which procedures use which libraries in the database, which is most welcome. Internationalization has improved but is not complete. It also hasn't been added to the Outlook client which is a shame and perhaps signifies the Outlook client may be coming towards the end of its life. There is a new Integration Manager, although I'm unclear what this is for, integrating with the bought out CommerceQuest stuff I guess. Overall I'm pleased to see there has been a reasonable amount of time spent on the core product, rather than features required to be buzzword compliant (anybody using that rules engine integration?). My personal bugbear with the product is the e-Work scripting language that just isn't powerful enough as a scripting language. Unfortunately the integration with other scripting languages still needs improving and it looks like these two issues haven't been addressed at all.