Alfresco Partnership for Activiti BPM

Business process management (BPM) is one of the key capabilities in our layered architecture. When you're building out services—liberating the data and functions from your back-end systems—you're only doing that for one purpose; to operate on those systems through external channels. You want these capabilities to be available to your customers, your business partners and your internal business processes. A stand-alone business process engine enables you to manage and orchestrate processes that cut across system and organizational boundaries. These processes consist of automated tasks as well as human tasks.

Introducing humans into a process brings extra concerns such as identity, organizational roles, security, long duration tasks, escalation and forms-based user interfaces. We're used to finding these facilities in workflow platforms which are quite mature and commonly used in large enterprises. However most of these workflow platforms are extremely heavyweight, difficult to use, difficult to operate and carry expensive price-tags.

We're all about bringing the best open-source tools to bear for medium to large enterprises. All the enterprise capabilities you expect are now available on more modern, lightweight architectures with pricing and support models that make sense to agile organizations who prefer to start small and iterate with their BPM initiatives. As we've said elsewhere, agile methods and open-source software work well together to foster a more agile and responsive business.

One of the open-source BPM platforms that we really like is Activiti. Alfresco sponsors Activiti and embeds it within their enterprise content management platform. We reached out to Alfresco a few months ago and were very pleased to learn about their plans for commercial support of Activiti BPM. With Alfresco as a mature and successful business in our part of the world, with a well established customer base, it is a natural step for us to work together to help grow the open-source BPM community in Australia.

So Sixtree is now an Alfresco Gold Partner concentrating on BPM and Activiti. As with our other partners, this means we have expertise, patterns and templates tuned to Activiti implementations. It also means that we can incorporate Activiti into our "Sixtree Stack"—the suite of open-source products that we use to deliver business value and composite solutions to our customers.

We really like how easy it is to deploy and run Activiti in a distributed environment. There is a comprehensive administration dashboard and online BPMN process design which is easy to use and highly accessible. As with the other products we work with, Activiti plays very well in the developer ecosystem. Activiti is built in Java and integrates nicely with MuleSoft and Red Hat. It also works well with the testing frameworks and continuous delivery platforms that are vital to our agile delivery methods.

The combination of Activiti's licencing, ease of use and ease of deployment makes it very easy for any organization to try BPM in their business. Rather than betting a huge up-front investment in licensing, training and infrastructure, with Activiti they can start small and increment on success. If they fail or falter, the failure is small and they can easily pivot, building on those lessons learned. This is the agile way to learn, expand and benefit from the "democratization" of BPM.

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