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Be Informed is a software vendor headquartered in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. The company has offices in the United States, United Kingdom and Turkey; and is represented in Scandinavia, Latin America and the Caribbean.[1]

Market position

Throughout its development, the product, called Be Informed business process platform, has grown from a business rules engine to a business process management suite, and is now an example of what analyst firm Gartner labeled a model-driven application. In Gartner's definition of a model-driven application, "changes to solution behavior are made by altering the metadata model, rather than by changing code, turning switches on or off, or using tables or configuration files."[2] In other words, model-driven applications store all business logic in a model, instead of making it part of the application itself.

The Be Informed business process platform is not process-centric, but uses an approach called advanced case management, or as analyst firm Forrester calls it, dynamic case management. Forrester defines dynamic case management as "a highly structured, but also collaborative, dynamic and information-intensive process that is driven by outside events and requires incremental and progressive responses from the business domain handling the case. Examples of case folders include a patient record, a lawsuit, an insurance claim, or a contract, and the case folder would include all the documents, data, collaboration artefacts, policies, rules, analytics and other information needed to process and manage the case."[3]

Technology

Be Informed does not predefine processes and roles, sequence and workflow. Instead it derives a dynamic activity plan in real-time from a central model. This model, called a target operating model (TOM), contains all aspects of stakeholders, communication channels, activities, decision rules and registrations that are relevant to the business. This approach allows any combination or permutation of elements in a TOM to exist, as described in the model, bringing mass customization to administrative processes.

In order to be able to continuously recalculate and update the dynamic activity plan, the Be Informed inferencing engine is backward chaining. It starts with the goal of the process in mind, and words backwards through all possible activities to see what needs to be completed in order to reach the goal. Be Informed uses pre and post conditions to specify flexible business processes, a USPTO patent-pending approach.[4]

The Be Informed model containing all the business logic to execute the business process is built using Semantic Web technology. It uses a notation that follows Web Ontology Language (OWL), to describe meaningful relations between the individual concepts in the model. The Be Informed server does not generate any code, it directly executes the model, directly taking any changes into account.

Be Informed is an industry partner in several European Union-sponsored research projects, such as SEAL, Monnet and Molto. SEAL provides stakeholders of legislative processes with a supporting environment that enables the construction of legal documents.[5] According to the Monnet website, the project develops a solution to the cross-language information access problem by using a novel combination of Machine Translation and Semantic Web Technology.[6]. According to the Molto website, Molto's goal is to develop a set of tools for translating texts between multiple languages in real time with high quality. As its main technique, MOLTO uses domain-specific semantic grammars and ontology-based interlinguas. These components are implemented in GF (Grammatical Framework), which is a grammar formalism where multiple languages are related by a common abstract syntax.[7]

Recognition

Be Informed has received coverage from the main analyst firms.

  • Gartner called Be Informed a “cool vendor” in 2009 and wrote “Organizations that require ways to manage, improve, control and support their unstructured, knowledge-intensive processes should take a serious look at the innovations that Be Informed is bringing to this underexploited area of BPM.”[8]
  • Forrester dedicated a Vendor Snapshot to Be Informed in 2011 and wrote “Netherlands-based Be Informed has developed something truly new in the marketplace. Rather unusually, this radically different approach has developed a remarkable track record of success in a variety of large scale implementations.”[9]
  • Ovum Ltd. published an “On the Radar” report on Be Informed in 2012, saying “Be Informed delivers a next-generation business process platform that has substantial references in complex enterprise environments. Be Informed’s solutions have the potential to be a disruptive technology . Tangible results are measured in weeks and months, rather than quarters and years.”[10]

The Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure & Environment published that the WABO act, supported by a Be Informed application, saves the country over 130 million euro per year.[11]

Be Informed customers have won several awards. Dutch Immigration Service won the NAF Architecture Award 2009 and the iCMG Award in 2011[12][13]. Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation won the NAF Architecture Award in 2010.[14]

References

  1. Be Informed offices
  2. Gartner Research, “What Types of Model-Driven Applications Are Most Appropriate for a High Pace of Process Change?”, 15 March 2012, ID:G00228565
  3. Forrester Research, “Dynamic Case Management – An Old Idea Catches New Fire”, 28 December 2009
  4. Grondelle, J.C., Gülpers, M., “Specifying Flexible Business Processes using Pre and Post Conditions”, The Practice of Enterprise Modeling (2011), Volume: 92, Publisher: Springer, Pages: 38–51
  5. Casanovas, P., “Computable Models of the Law: Languages, Dialogues, Games, Ontologies”, 17 november 2008, Springer Verlag, page 13
  6. EU website: Molto – Multilingual online translation
  7. EU website: Monnet – Multilingual Ontologies for Networked Knowledge
  8. Gartner Research, “Cool Vendors in Business Process Management”, 12 March 2009, ID: G00165554
  9. Forrester Research, “Vendor Snapshot: Be Informed”, april 2011
  10. OVUM Ltd. “On the Radar: Be Informed”, 18 april 2012
  11. WABO Act announcement by Dutch government (Dutch, 2010)
  12. Press release NAF 2009 (Dutch)
  13. Press release iCMG Award 2011
  14. Press release NAF 2010 (Dutch)
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