Metastorm brings workflow modeling to the cloud

The service from the BPM software provider is hosted on Microsoft Azure

Enterprise software provider Metastorm has launched an online workflow modeling service, called Metastorm M3, the company announced on Tuesday.

The service, which is hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform, can be used to model a variety of different enterprise concerns, such as goals, systems, workflows, rules and projects. The service provides 23 modeling objects from which models can be built.

"Our goal was to put the most popular modeling types up into the cloud in a much simpler environment, so organizations can involve more people in the modeling process," said Metastorm Vice President Laura Mooney. It is a subset of all the enterprise modeling perspectives the company offers in its standalone software.

The company has also redesigned its modeling interface for this new service, using Microsoft Silverlight. It includes built-in help guides for those new to enterprise modeling. The output from this service can be integrated with Metastorm's enterprise architecture, business process automation and business process management software.

Metastorm has not settled on how much to charge users for the service, or how the pricing will work. It will be offered as a free service until the end of the year, however.

In addition to Metastorm M3, the company has also released a new software package, called Metastorm Smart Business Workspace, that allows an organization to set up a browser-based workspace for its workers. A single page holds a dashboard, chat software, links to reports and various widgets. The software allows users to fuse data from different applications.

The package also includes a component, called the Metastorm Widget Designer, that can create small applications, called widgets, that draw data from Metastorm applications. "This allows people to mash up different capabilities of our software and different views into our software," Mooney said.

For instance, one pre-built widget allows users of the company's modeling software to peruse all the models in a collection, using small thumbnails. "It's almost like iTunes, where you flip through your albums using the album covers," Mooney said. "It's an efficient way for architects to flip through their model libraries."

Metastorm Smart Business Workspace will be available for no charge to all current users of Metastorm software and will be packaged with the company's software going forward.

With this new interface, Metastorm has become one of a growing number of BPM providers that have added collaboration capabilities to their software. Tibco has been offering a beta version of a Twitter-like messaging service called Tibbr. Oracle has also added social media capabilities to its Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11G.

"Collaboration allows people to work together as a team across departments or geographic locations," Mooney said. "We're trying to make it much more efficient for people to engage with one another by taking advantage of social-networking capabilities."

Joab Jackson covers enterpise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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