Interest in enterprise mash-ups should not entirely dim interest in enterprise portals, should it? They may blend. They both gather disparage system data into a single view. One can adjudge that mash-ups will get more robust, and portals will get more loosely coupled and flexible, if history is a guide. Meanwhile, BPM is moving up in the mix. An Appian-SharePoint integration is a case in point.
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Assorted mash-up advances should not obscure this: Microsoft SharePoint portal continues to be a tremendous success. It also continues to attract third-party plug ins, to the list of which you can add the Appian for SharePoint module from Appian.
Appian for SharePoint can extend Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) systems to include Appian Enterprise BPM Suite. The new release features Form Pickers and new packaged Appian Smart Services, as well as updates to the Appian for SharePoint Web Services interface.
“We realized that what the portal was missing was process. I think of BPM and portals coming together,” said Malcom Ross, director of product management, Appian. “The problem with portals was they weren’t ‘actionable.’”
Ross’s take on SharePoint is that “it is a very popular data and collaboration area with great value.” What it was missing, he suggested, was an actionable aspect – the ability to process what was displayed.
Microsoft has been at work for years on improving the BPM story of BizTalk server, and at the same time bringing Windows Workflow Foundation [don’t call it WWF] to the enterprise, but these architectures are still the province of the Microsoft developer. Appian aims its BPM tools at the business analyst or user.
“We approach SOA from the point of view of the user,” said Ross.
Call it the long-tail, the revenge of the nerds or the tortoise and the hare, but the fact is that Microsoft’s SharePoint portal continues to find new adherents eager to quickly integrate apps. Watch for more link-ups between Shareapoint and other enterprise tool vendors going forward.