BEA’s acquisition of Fuego – Interesting & Intriguing

On March 1, 2006 BEA Systems Inc announced the acquisition of Fuego Inc – provider of a pure-play Business Process Management System (BPMS). The announcement was very interesting at the same time very intriguing indeed.

Interesting because, this is one more significant announcement made by BEA after the acquisition of Plumtree in August 2005. In the month of January, in my blog entry Year 2006 – Beginning of the end for pure-play vendors? I had commented on SOA driven Composite Application software providers.

“…These are infrastructure software consisting of components such as BPM, Portal, Integration, Mobile, Analytics, Content Management, and Services design and deployment software. Composite application frameworks aim to bring together a wide spectrum of technologies, which have been so far dominated by pure-play vendors, under one roof.”

BEA’s Aqualogic, of which Fuego is going to be a part of, precisely aims to offer what Composite Application software aims to provide. Following is an excerpt from BEA’s FAQ on acquisition of Fuego.

“…The BEA AquaLogic Business Service Interaction product line is a new, integrated set of BEA AquaLogic products used to enable companies to compose services from a wide variety of information, applications and technologies to agilely support their end-to-end business processes. As business processes change, the services that support them can also change. Likewise, as underlying services change companies can simply “unplug” the old service, version and catalog the service, and plug-in the new service with no change to the business process, making it immediately available for use across the enterprise.”

Now about the intriguing part. In the workflow space, this is second acquisition by BEA. In the year 2000, BEA had announced acquisition of Workflow Automation – a Canadian firm providing workflow engine jFlow. jFlow was then supposed be relaunched as eProcess Integrator as part of BEA’s integration offering as well as stand alone BPM engine. Even today, BEA continues to offer BPM functionality as part of their Integration suite – BEA Weblogic Integration 8.1, which supports human as well as system to system workflow as part of the processes executed within and beyond the boundaries of the organization. If that was indeed the case, then why did BEA acquire Fuego when they already had a BPM engine? Also, is there a migration path for the users of current BPM engine? Reasons for BEA’s Fuego acquisition could be that BEA’s existing process engine may not offer strong human workflow capabilities and also could be weak in the area of process definition and process management – essential components of process lifecycle.

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