Corechange adds BPM fuel to corporate portal

Enterprise portal software vendor Corechange Inc. on Monday unveiled software designed to let business users create and manage automated business processes through its Coreport portal framework.

Available as an optional, add-on product to the company's Coreport portal, CoreProcess uses Web services standards such as UDDI, WSDL, and SOAP to map a business process and integrate with back-end systems.

The pain point the product targets is the lack of automated and integrated business processes, according to Jeffrey Spotts, executive vice president of marketing at Corechange, in Boston.

"At the end of the day a business is nothing more than a collection of processes -- many of them still manual, some of them quasi-automated," he said. "The real challenge is to integrate those processes end to end, and put the business users in control of them."

CoreProcess is designed to let business users model a business process that leverages and reuses existing application infrastructure. The software uses a visual metaphor to construct an end-to-end workflow of a complex process that spans multiple enterprise systems, according to Spotts.

"What this adds is the ability to assemble and automate these processes and then deliver them through portal-based interfaces," he said.

XML and Web services protocols are used throughout the CoreProcess Server and also form the connections among Coreport portal and CoreProcess components.

Using a tool called the CoreProcess Designer, a business user can visually map a business process, denoting workflow, user-level interactions, and system interactions, said Spotts.

Web services can be consumed and orchestrated within a business process, and SOAP is the object calling mechanism used to tie into back-end systems.

As corporate portals evolve to give business users more control and management of workflow, adding core functionality for the creation and management of business process is essential, according to Rob Perry, principal analyst at research firm Precision Thinking, in Hingham, Mass.

"One direction portals are moving is [toward] a business application platform that can be deployed by the business user rather than IT. One thing you need to be able to do then is wrap the business processes [portal users] need into an application to communicate with partners or customers," he said.

Furthermore, as business processes connect into more tools and different data types, the portal can form a UI for process management, he said.

"The portal is becoming a place for both content creation and application access, and you need to take that application access into more of a workflow. There isn't really a standard application that spans all these different tools, but the portal can become that," Perry said.

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