Open sourcing a new type of BPM system

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By Tom Baeyens

Effektif product announcement

Today we released the workflow engine of Effektif as an open source project.
This is a big win for developers. Before diving into the details of the open source project, I’ll sketch the the bigger picture of how this step fits in the Effektif mission because that might be less obvious. We aim at nothing less than to define a new category of BPM system. On the one hand, it’s a series of evolutionary steps. But on the other hand, the end result is something completely different from the traditional notion of a BPM suite.

Why Effektif is different

The 2 key differences are:

  • Business manager simplicity. Tech savvy professionals are be able to build their own basic workflows without requiring an IT project.
  • Developer freedom. Developers can embed the workflow system inside their own application, instead of building “on top of” a preconfigured application development platform.

The traditional BPM suites provide great value for business managers and executives. Improved alignment with the IT department, faster delivery cycles, compliance and quality control are the most obvious motivations. But they always require an IT team to automate the workflows, even the fairly basic ones. And on the other hand, developers saw the BPM Suites as a preconfigured application development environment. Some like this approach, but most hard core developers like to define their own architecture and use a BPM system as an embedded component. Effektif is delivering business manager simplicity. Throughout the whole product, we ensure and validate that non technical users can build and execute basic workflows. The big advantage of this is that automating basic workflows don’t require an IT project any more. This makes it a lot cheaper and faster. Also it scales in the organization because building workflows is not limited any more to a single corporate BPM initiative.

Embeddable BPM

With the open source launch, we now also deliver on the developer freedom. I’ve been pushing embeddable BPM since 2006. The newest Effektif engine is another step to ensure that developers can now embed the Effektif engine in even the newest architectures. The new persistence strategy saves before each activity and doesn’t rely on transactions. This fits better with microservices architectures. We’ve also made the persistence pluggable and the internals a lot simpler. As the next step we’re working towards allowing user to plug in their own activities, even in the workflow builder. We like to be transparent about our business model. This open source project is the complete engine without limitations or crippling. Effektif’s business model is focused on hosting and providing tools on top of the open source engine. Effektif will (soon) offer a free online account that includes the intuitive workflow builder. Open source engine users will be able to use to create and export their workflows, if they prefer that over writing workflows in Java or BPMN. The free online account is limited to 1 user and cases will be deleted after 30 days.

The following services require a paid subscription:

  • Running workflows in an online account
  • Support on the open source engine
  • Using the tools like the workflow builder, analytics and monitoring on-premise

The project is located at github.com/effektif/effektif

The Effektif engine wiki is the starting point for all the documentation and it includes the roadmap. If you want to get in touch, you can find us on Gitter Enjoy!

By Tom Baeyens, CEO Effektif GmbH