Progress Software Builds Its Position An Enterprise Platform Provider

With its acquisition of BPM-software leader Savvion, Progress Software has taken a step closer to providing a full line of enterprise middleware. Progress has operated as a supermarket of middleware brands addressing mostly specialized needs, but now is creating broader enterprise application platforms out of its separate middleware brands [Figure 1.].

First up: Progress Actional for service management, Apama for event management, and Savvion for business process solutions. Progress has not stepped up to such integration in the past. Progress has other product-suite possibilities as well with its middleware portfolio.

Expect Progress to start the Actional-Apama-Savvion integration with bundled pricing deals. Next, expect Progress to integrate runtimes and create a common set of tools for application developers and business process pros, and infrastructure and operations pros. Progress is making no promises about combining today’s separate runtimes, but is likely to keep simplifying integration between them.

Savvion fills a big hole in Progress’ product line for the low price of about $50 million. John Bates, CTO, says Progress is also counting on Savvion to help it sell to business buyers as well as to IT customers. Progress says the two companies have little overlap among their respective customers. Savvion has a strong, mature BPM suite, which Progress will continue to sell under the Savvion name.

Progress is a relative newcomer to enterprise direct sales, and so has a lot of work to realize these ambitions. The "big dog" in BPM software -- IBM -- is already there. The new combination of IBM’s powerful direct sales channel and Lombardi’s expertise in business-level selling will be Progress-Savvion's toughest competitor.

But Progress and Savvion also hope to create a new generation of process applications that combine today’s BPM methods and software with business-event management, sometimes known as complex event processing. Bates founded and ran Apama before taking Progress’ CTO job. He’s seen first-hand how some organizations feed events from CEP platform into process engines events to create sense-and-respond apps. Other customers use CEP to expand their process visibility beyond what a process engine can “see.” Brokers (of all descriptions), e-commerce, gaming and gambling, network operators, and analytics services firms are moving in this direction as they adopt event-driven architectures.

Progress will need additional software to satisfy the demand for event-driven architectures, most notably a distributed caching platform.

Progress’ acquisition of Savvion is the next step in the expected consolidation of the BPM software market. Forrester expects Microsoft and Oracle to be the largest acquirers of BPM software during the next year.

Figure 1: Progress Software’s Middleware Portfolio

Category Progress Product
BPM Suite Savvion
ESB Sonic
SOA management Actional
CORBA Orbix
Data integration DataDirect
Event processing Apama
Business rules management Savvion