Ultimus is very pleased to announce that we are celebrating the twentieth anniversary since our founding, marking twenty successful years of automating business operations in every major industry across the globe.
As we celebrate this milestone, let us take a look back on where it all began…
A Game Changing Visionary
Ultimus was founded in 1994 by Rashid Khan, a visionary who set out to build a company dedicated to improving the way businesses operated. Khan envisioned a new kind of workflow automation solution: a complete software suite that tightly integrated all necessary functionality and was intuitive and accessible to non-technical users. In 1994, when spreadsheets were all the rage, Khan held the belief that anyone who could use an Excel spreadsheet should be able to easily develop workflow processes. In contrast to existing products that were difficult to use and required sophisticated programming skills, Khan wanted a solution that would make solution deployments fast and cost-effective.
With this idea in mind, Khan created Ultimus and helped pioneer the concept of the Business Process Management Suite. Two decades later, Ultimus continues this revolutionary role in the BPM industry.
Expanding Global Industry Leader
Since our founding, Ultimus has quickly become an international operation, having expanded from our origins in Cary, North Carolina, to operating 14 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Central America, the Gulf and Middle East, and Asia. With this continuing expansion, we recently unveiled the opening of our New York City office, our new Corporate Headquarters.
Maintaining our global leadership as an enterprise solutions provider, Ultimus continues to support our customers in over 80 countries across every major industry, with software that is supported in 18 languages. We are a recognized leader in banking and financial services, government, technology, manufacturing, and telecommunications, and are honored to power some of the world’s biggest companies including Sanofi, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DHL, Lockheed Martin, Sony, Pfizer, and Sonoco, as well as over 75 retail and commercial banks.
Over the years, Ultimus also won recognition in the BPM industry with many accomplishments. These accolades include KMWorld Magazine's Trend-Setting Product Award, CRN Editor’s Choice Award, the e-Week Excellence Award, Kinetic's Process Innovation Award, PC Week’s Best of COMDEX, and more. We have also consistently achieved growth and profitability, winning Ultimus positions in Inc 500, Software Magazine’s Annual Software 500, and Deloitte & Touche’s Technology Fast 500. Ultimus has also been ranked among the leaders in the BPM industry by Forrester Research, Gartner Group, and the Butler Group.
Continuing Mr. Khan’s Vision
“This anniversary is a significant milestone for the company.” said Leigh Michl, Chairman and CEO of Ultimus. “The past 20 years have been filled with rapid growth and achievement and we’ve introduced many significant innovations into the BPM industry. We are proud of what we’ve achieved thus far, and are compelled to honor Rashid Khan’s genius and vision with new technologies that will be as revolutionary today as those introduced by Rashid.”
A Big Thank You
From everyone here at Ultimus, we’d like to give a big thank you to all of our customers and partners for your continued loyalty over the years and for giving us the opportunity to make the business world a better place!–
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Complete Solution with a New Name and New Features Increases Enterprise Productivity and Performance
Ultimus is pleased to announce the release of Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite 2014 R1. This release is the first of two planned releases of this latest version of Ultimus BPM Suite 8. Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite 2014 R1 includes an advanced set of new BPM features that rapidly enhance enterprise performance. Deployed at over 2,000 companies worldwide, Ultimus and its leading edge software suite provide the industry's most complete and scalable platform for modeling, automating, managing and optimizing business processes. The second planned release of Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite 2014 is scheduled for the end of September.
Change in Product Name
The new Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite 2014, the direct successor of Ultimus Version 8.4, utilizes a new naming convention so that customers can more easily identify corresponding versions among various Ultimus product families. Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite 2014 R1 has no technological, architectural, or usage breaks with its predecessor, meaning there are no migration requirements when upgrading from Ultimus 8.4.
New Product Features and Enhancements
With the Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite 2014 R1, Ultimus customers will experience significant usability and quality improvements, not to mention many new innovative features that will allow an organization’s automated process solutions to reap the many benefits of Ultimus Solution Framework technologies.
One important new feature of this release is the ability for all Ultimus design and administration modules to work remotely. This allows modules to be installed on a separate computer from Ultimus BPM Server and be accessed through a login dialog that is protected through Active Directory or LDAP authentication. This makes it possible for the Ultimus BPM Server to remain completely locked and untouched directly after installation, which increases the security of Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite deployments.
Other significant enhancements to the product are related to its many integration capabilities. With new delimiters, Ultimus ASCII FloBot, the simple automation wizard for text file generation, now natively supports exports from CSV to Excel. New Enterprise Integration Kit (EIK) methods now also have the ability to retrieve history data of completed process incidents, which allows playback of process activity.
To ensure the success of customer process deployments, Ultimus BPM Suite 2014 R1 is compatible with newer versions of Ultimus product lines and other infrastructure technologies including the new Ultimus Advanced Task Service (UATS) with WebClient 3.0, as well as compatibility for new Microsoft technologies (IE11, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2014 R2). By supporting these latest technologies, Ultimus 2014 R1 allows customers to protect their investment in process solutions and extend the value of their BPM initiatives.
“Together with Ultimus' other product lines and new initiatives, Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite 2014 R1 is the next step of an important part in our enterprise solution strategy. Its power and flexibility builds on the premise that our customers will be able to move towards an enterprise approach to connect and streamline their business operations,” said Joachim Haas, Director Product Management Technology at Ultimus. "Ultimus 2014 R1 delivers unique capabilities and can be quickly adapted to our customers’ evolving business needs in order to deliver successful enterprise solutions."
In order to access Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite 2014 R1, customers and partners must first sign up to schedule an advisory call. During the call, we will assist you with the proper actions you will need to take in order to proceed.
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Support for the Latest Technologies, Improved Ultimus Engine and Server Performance, and Dozens of Ground Breaking Enhancements Make Ultimus 7.3 the Fastest and Most Reliable Ultimus 7 Release Yet
Ultimus, the leading global provider of BPM-based enterprise business solutions, and developer of one of the most widely used business process management (BPM) software suites in the world, is pleased to announce the availability of the Ultimus BPM Suite Version 7.3, enabling customers to upgrade to the latest release. Deployed throughout over 2,000 companies worldwide, Ultimus and its leading edge technology provide the industry's most complete and scalable platform for modeling, automating, managing and optimizing business processes.
New Product Enhancements and Improvements
With the Ultimus BPM Suite 7.3, Ultimus 7 customers will experience significant usability and quality improvements. Amongst the most noticeable, are a greatly improved BPM Server and Ultimus Engine. With increased robustness and stability, no issues were found during tests with over 100,000 incidents. Customers will also experience significantly improved Ultimus Engine and Server performance, allowing large amount of data to be handled 5-20% faster. Ultimus Report generation and Ultimus Administrator operations are now also up to 5 times faster. This ensures V7.3 meets business goals without impact to systems performance.
To ensure Ultimus customers’ process deployments are fully supported, Ultimus BPM Suite 7.3 now also supports newer versions of Ultimus and other infrastructure technologies. This includes native support for the new Ultimus Advanced Task Service with WebClient 3.0, as well as support for new Microsoft technologies (Windows 8 / 8.1, IE 10 and IE 11, Windows Server 2012 / 2012 R2, MS SQL Server 2012, Microsoft Office 2013). By supporting these latest technologies, V7.3 allows customers to protect their investment in process solutions and extend the value of their BPM initiatives.
Additional Ultimus BPM Suite 7.3 enhancements are based directly on customer feedback and Ultimus’ continued visionary leadership in the BPM space. "This 7.3 release is very important," said Joachim Haas, Director Product Management Technology at Ultimus. "It significantly improves the reliability and performance for the V7 installations of our large V7 customer base. With these enhancements, Ultimus 7.3 is the fastest and most reliable Ultimus 7 release yet."
Ultimus BPM Suite 7.3 Availability
Ultimus BPM Suite 7.3 is available for download to customers after a brief advisory call with an Ultimus Solutions Expert to ensure a fast and efficient upgrade. Those interested in upgrading, can sign up at www.ultimus.com/73-upgrade.
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Experience, knowledge and skills are required in many different areas for a Business Process Management initiative to achieve the anticipated goals. Ultimus provides these capabilities to customers in full or part, and constantly improves its technology, service and guidance to ensure BPM success.
As part of this effort, Ultimus has been collaborating with the University of Colorado in order to identify factors affecting BPM technology satisfaction, which have been determined instrumental in driving process management success. Without surprise, candidates that were satisfied with their training also found it easy to drive value out of BPM technology and accomplish their tasks successfully.
At the University of Colorado Denver, a Business Process Management course is taught to Graduate students using a textbook written by Rashid Khan, the founder of Ultimus. Every year, students use Ultimus technology for an assignment where they have to model and run processes, as well as identify bottlenecks in order to improve the simulated processes. Students modeled processes that mimicked “what if” scenarios based on a set of assumptions with varying data.
Ultimus Process Designer is a BPM tool that can help:
- document current processes
- identify areas of improvement
- capture requirements
- create specifications
Because Ultimus is continuously looking for new ways to improve BPM success, a pedagogical study was conducted from 2006 to 2012. This study involved collaboration between the University of Colorado and Ultimus in order to analyze the factors that affected user satisfaction with the BPM tool. This research is significant given that students’ satisfaction with BPM software can lead to the promotion of BPM in the workplace, and understanding the factors that cause said satisfaction can benefit organizations adopting business process management.
Before starting the assignment, which included process modeling, design, analysis, and process performance management, students participated in Ultimus Online Training. Ultimus provides training in the forms of eLearning, on-site training, and instructor led online training. This training allowed students to learn the fundamentals and become familiar with Process Designer features and functions. Ultimus then set up servers loaded with Process Designer to allow for it to be accessed remotely.
Perceived user satisfaction was measured on the basis of the Technology Acceptance Model. This illustrates that user satisfaction is determined by enjoyment, graphical design, information conveyed by the process models, and ease of use and usefulness, which are consequently affected by training and support. Therefore, after completion of the project, students submitted written commentary about their experiences based on ease of use, Ultimus Online Training, documentation and module features.
After analysis of the comments, the following was confirmed:
- Satisfaction with training courses and documentation in the help section directly correlated with ease of use.
- Ease of use with Process Designer features, such as Ultimus Reports, correlated with user satisfaction; the reports identified bottlenecks which allowed students to optimize and improve their processes, which lead to a positive user experience.
Overall, even though business process management is a difficult concept to understand for some, it can be concluded that BPM tools with strong training tutorials, documentation, and easy-to-use features, can still serve functional and painless, regardless of skill and BPM knowledge level. Ultimus Process Designer offers as a simple yet efficient solution to business process modeling. It has proven to be a successful learning tool at the University of Colorado and has given students a positive view towards Business Process Management and BPM software as a whole.
Ultimus is pleased to be a continuous part of the BPM course’s curriculum and would like to thank the University of Colorado and Professor Judy Scott for this research opportunity.
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Study conducted by Judy Scott
Associate Professor of Information Systems Management
University of Colorado Denver
While modern solution development allows for fast implementation and change, it would be a wrong conclusion to believe that process solution requirements don’t have to be fully specified and documented upfront. Comprehensive analysis of such requirements and tight change management are essential for project success. We therefore will recap the aspects of successful requirement capturing.
Process solution requirements need to be
- Complete: End-user expectations need to be fully captured and conceptualized so all required functionalities are considered.
- Accurate: Requirements need to be consistent across all steps and stakeholders, and should be described clearly so everyone can understand them. Relevant limitations or restrictions need to be well known.
- Verifiable: Along with these requirements, methods need to be specified in order to define how requirements can be measured and when they are fulfilled.
- Necessary: Above all, requirements need to be relevant to business goals and prioritized according to their impact. This will help make smart choices when designing and implementing the solution.
It is highly recommended to fully document the requirements and handle all additions that come up after finalizing the requirements phase through change management. To minimize the impact of changes in a later phase, it is important to carefully listen to all stakeholders of the solution and avoid thinking about implementation when capturing the requirements.
Using a structured approach for capturing user expectations, eases the process and ensures all aspects are adequately covered. Ultimus recommends a phased approach in its methodology and workshops that has proven to be successfully within many years of project experience.
Initially, it is important to understand the user environment, which impacts solution architecture. Requirements like organizational structure, locations, network access and communication, response times, integration needs etc. are gathered in this phase.
The second step is related to individual processes and their goals. Process modeling helps understand the current state of the process (“as-is”) and predicts what it needs “to be”. Key performance indicators related to process goals are set up to measure the success of the new solution flow. This is a tough phase, taking process models from theory to functional requirements by using the five “W’s”:
- Who makes What?
- With what?
- and Why?
Finally, all step level requirements are captured, reviewing the inputs and outputs, the forms, interfaces and data. We recommend starting with the output of the process and the step. This helps clearly define all required input and functionality. There are many details on this level, with settings, form design, escalations, rules etc. that need to be considered, making it the most critical for complete requirement documentation.
Use the top down approach to capture solution requirements:
What are your experiences?
Senior Process Consultant
Best Practices in Process Solution Infrastructure
Business continuity and agility are tightly linked to a solid IT infrastructure. Successful process deployments therefore show alignment of business needs, process solutions and technology infrastructure. Below are some best practices that our Professional Service team follows to ensure our customers achieve the results they expect.
Design for users
People enjoy working with applications when they provide value, are well designed and meet their expectations in respect to speed and availability. Server capacity, network bandwidth as well as solution functionality, architecture and technology have a significant impact on the usability of process solutions. When choosing the right configuration, make sure the technology is well suited for the purpose. Production databases e.g. are mainly designed to store current data and not intended for storing process data for archiving or business intelligence. Making the wrong selection can impact the performance of the solution and result in poor usability.
Plan for change
Process solutions are frequently adapted to changing business requirements. Ultimus therefore empowers business users to handle many adjustments themselves. Significant changes require a redesign of the process and can hold challenges, if not anticipated from the start. Here is an example: When process incidents have a long lifetime, it is recommended to split the process into smaller portions and creating process chains. This minimizes the risk and maintenance effort for existing process incidents, whenever changes need to be published to the production environment.
Anticipate the future
One of the most quoted best practices for BPM is “Think big – start small”. While the latter part is very important, it is equally important to consider the mid-term future usage scenario. Expected incident volumes and lifetimes, load peaks etc. impact the original decisions in respect to scalability, database configurations or solution architecture e.g. With enhancement plans in place, you are well prepared to handle rapidly growing process needs without impacting user satisfaction.
Consider the dependencies
Processes interact with many different people and systems, which may not always perform as planned. Directory servers may not be available, users might have different browsers and language settings, process solutions may require local installations, require support for multilingual environments or interact with different product versions like Office. It is important to take all current and future dependencies into consideration when choosing the connections, designing the process and maintaining heterogeneous IT environments.
We are looking forward to your questions and comments. If you would like to discuss your Infrastructure Architecture plans, please contact us to schedule a meeting with our Process Consultants.
Senior Process Consultant
Employee Performance Review
While important, conducting employee reviews is often a challenge in organizations. Human Resource (HR) employees invest a significant amount of time in preparing, managing and ensuring performance evaluations are delivered on time. Instead, companies need to focus on identifying and developing human capital to remain competitive and to grow profitability. To be successful, it is important for HR employees to shift focus from unproductive routines to developing intellectual assets for their organization.
When the employee review process is paper-based, supervisors and HR departments lose visibility as to where the review stands in the approval process, resulting in inefficiencies and additional work. Process automation is key to ensuring future success of the employee review processes.
Key Benefits of Process Automation:
1.) Improved operational efficiency of HR
- Reduce administrative and managerial overhead
- Automatic transfer of data to related systems, eliminating rework and making it instantly available to human resources and payroll
2.) Increased visibility into operations
- Instant access to operational data, such as amount of reviews conducted, overdue, escalated and outstanding, ratings and pay raises suggested and approved, time elapsed for each step and from start to finish, etc. that provide insight and can trigger corrective actions
- All information is readily available in real-time and without any manual work.
3.) Greater control, reliability and quality
- Tasks are conducted on time by authorized people and are documented auditable. Companies control document related challenges like lost reviews, incorrect or incomplete information and lack of audit trail.
- Human resources no longer have to monitor performance reviews and take corrective actions that can be easily handled by predefined procedures.
By automating employee review forms, companies will see this process run much more efficiently and effectively. Process automation will ensure accuracy of information, connect company departments and divisions, and assist HR departments with record-keeping. End users will appreciate the ease-of-use and visibility with each automated employee review.
Screenshot – Employee Performance Review
To learn more about the Ultimus Employee Review Process, click here. For additional information or questions as to how this process can benefit your company, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
¿Cambiamos o nos cambian?
¿Cuántas veces hemos oído aquello de “mis usuarios se van a sentir vigilados, nos va a costar que usen este enfoque”? Yo lo he escuchado en múltiples ocasiones – 3 desde el último blog-enunciado de diferentes formas o con más pesimismo si cabe.
Es un tema recurrente y común que no es exclusivo del área de la gestión por procesos, aunque si es dónde puede escucharse en más ocasiones. Creo que la causa radica en el hecho de que la ‘Gestión por Procesos’ implica el gobierno de la actividad, saber cuál es la forma de trabajar y el rendimiento de la organización.
La gestión al cambio es un eufemismo en realidad lo que se intenta es vencer la resistencia a cambiar. Y, la resistencia proviene de la inercia acumulada en el tiempo
haciendo la misma actividad, y de la duda; ¿seremos capaces de aprender?
En los proyectos BPM, cuando nuestro interlocutor habla de riesgo de adopción lo hace pensando en personas. Personas con nombres y apellidos que; a) bien acumulan más inercia, porque llevan mucho tiempo trabajando de la misma manera; b) bien se sienten más inseguros, porque dudan de su capacidad para adquirir nuevos conocimientos.
Los primeros muestran un patrón de ingente actividad –real o no- (que roba el tiempo). Mientras que, los segundos muestran una reserva notable a la comunicación y al trabajo en grupo (que dilata el tiempo). Estamos tratando con personas y con su trabajo, que es lo que les hace sentirse útiles y siempre defenderán esta posición. La misión de la gestión del cambio es convertir esa posición en el punto de apoyo para las transformaciones que requieren las empresas.
En ambos situaciones la forma de proceder para superar las barreras es similar: identificar, comprender el patrón, y acompañar en la transformación.
La Gestión del Cambio es una acción individualizada si bien en ocasiones hay que recurrir al grupo; como los encierros de San Fermines. Esta acción individual debe emplear al máximo herramientas que permitan la cooperación y la comunicación en el trabajo. Y, evitar estrategias de enfrentamiento o de comparación. Esto es muy, muy, relevante porque la planificación y la estrategia son diametralmente distintas. La Gestión del Cambio no es un plan de acción sino una forma de gestionar todos los días.
La plataforma de Ultimus proporciona los servicios que facilitan la cooperación y la comunicación. Así como aquellos servicios que
dotan de más competencias (‘job empowement”) al puesto de trabajo, ya sean de decisión, ya de definición. El resultado es siempre positivo, se liberan recursos que incrementan la productividad.
Para finalizar, me gustaría indicar que
Vencer la resistencia al cambio compete a todos los que participamos en la organización de una empresa. Las personas tenemos que saber gestionar nuestro cambio.
Regional Manager- Ultimus Iberia
Ultimus is proud to announce that it will be hosting the 2011 Interact Web Conference on Thursday, November 17 from 9am-4pm EDT.
Through this Web Conference, we hope all attendees gain a better understanding of Ultimus’ offerings, how we can help your company achieve future success, and what BPM is as well as how it can be used. Please find the agenda along with registration links here. Each webinar is categorized as either technology- or business-related. Please sign up for any or all Web conferences of interest. Each webinar will feature a Q&A session at the end to ensure all questions and concerns are addressed.
Topics that will be covered during the Web conferences include: Ultimus Going Forward; How to use Ultimus in Web & SharePoint; Ultimus for Human Resources Management; Common BPM Pitfalls and How to Avoid them; Evolving Workflow into BPM; and Selecting the Right Support Packages.
We look forward to making the 2011 Interact Web Conference a success!
Senior Marketing Specialist
Contrariamente a lo que pensáis no es el precio sino la capacidad de proporcionar el comportamiento y el rendimiento que necesita un cliente. Es decir, no dejar al cliente a mitad del camino. Para evitar malinterpretaciones, quiero indicar que, a veces, optar por el 2º segmento es lo adecuado. Mientrass se haya considerado que la evolución estará limitada en alcance y ámbito. A partir de cuyo límite será necesario optar por el otro segmento.
Hay otros dos factores muy, muy importantes para desplegar con éxito un BPMS en una organización:
- Facilidad de construcción, ¿cuántas veces ha escuchado el cliente que no es necesario programar, sin decirle bajo qué condiciones? Mi pesadilla es llegar a un cliente que ha pasado por esta situación: No me cree, y tampoco le culpo.
- Agilidad (y solidez) en la gestión de configuración. En este campo ya la lucha se reduce a muy pocos, sobran los dedos de una mano. Todos sabéis la complejidad y criticidad de trasvasar las aplicaciones desde el entorno de desarrollo, al de pruebas, y, al final, a producción. Con sus idas y venidas.
Así desgrane mi discurso y llegue a darle el nombre del único competidor que tenemos. A pesar de lo que digan los “Analistas de Mercados”.
Por último, visitamos brevemente el mundo del “gran intruso”; los gestores documentales.
Aquí mi respuesta es diáfana, y la resumo con el siguiente axioma. La actividad de las personas genera los datos con los que se construyen documentos, no al revés.
Por tanto, un modelo –implementado en un producto- definido para satisfacer un resultado (el documento) NUNCA podrá satisfacer las necesidades del generador (la actividad). Lo atestiguan los fracasos en tiempo y dinero que he observado repetidamente a lo largo de mi dilatada experiencia en el sector.
Por otro lado, cuando los fabricantes de gestores documentales se dedican a comprar productos de BPM lo hacen completando ‘stack’ de lo que dicen que es un BPM completo: BPAs, BPR, … pero nunca para reemplazar el “workflow”, ¿qué creéis que harían sus clientes si les dicen que tienen que tirar y volver a hacer? Además, los sistemas operativos actuales: MS Windows 2008 R2, MacOS X ya llevan incorporados los servicios de gestión documental: versiones, metadatos, derechos de acceso, derechos de uso, búsqueda semántica,… más que muchos gestores del mercado.
Y, ésta fue mi respuesta. Maticé al cliente que ninguna decisión que tomé es mala en tanto en cuanto sus fundamentos sean: objetivos, asumidos y recordados.
Hasta mi próxima bitácora.
Regional Manager- Ultimus Iberia