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Intalio Boosts BPMS
Intalio plans to speed adoption of its business process management suite with an open-source-like license, increasing the availability of process modeling and development skills and moving the software to mainstream users.


On 12 December 2006, Intalio announced that Intalio/BPMS Community Edition will be released under the Mozilla Public License (MPL), amended with an attribution provision. The amended MPL allows others to use, share and improve the software but limits the ability of commercial competitors to redistribute modified versions. Intalio/BPMS Community Edition uses existing open-source technologies, such as MySQL and JBoss, and includes new capabilities developed by Intalio. It has fewer features than Intalio's Enterprise Edition.


Increasingly, businesses find open-source software to be a viable way to encourage the adoption of new technologies. For a tiny company like Intalio, this channel is more effective than the company Web site at raising awareness and promoting use of its software. Intalio's new zero-cost, publicly available business process management suite (BPMS) is credible, meeting Gartner's minimum BPMS feature set.

Prior to this announcement, there was not a credible open-source BPMS. Users wanting support for business process management (BPM) initiatives would have to rely on commercial BPMS vendors. As the technology matured and market acceptance increased prices climbed, making it difficult for novices to get hands-on experience in requisite BPM technology skills. Intalio offered its BPMS/Community Edition at no cost, but the company lacked a distribution channel and effective marketing. Its decision to eschew the more traditional, expensive route of using a direct sales force and instead adopt a license-based approach to the open-source community demonstrates an aggressive effort to seed the market and competitively position the company, with the opportunity to sell upgrades to its full Enterprise Edition.

This move is Intalio's latest attempt to create a more profitable business model. However, success hinges on Intalio's ability to catalyze and sustain an open-source user community that broadly upgrades to its Enterprise Edition. Other vendors (such as SugarCRM, Pentaho and Zimbra) use open-source-like licenses in a similar way. Their licenses encourage use, partnerships and user improvements. However, a controversial attribution requirement, submitted for approval to the Open Source Initiative in November 2006, makes it harder for competitors to redistribute modified versions.

Usage of this product by a large number of people will increase the availability of individuals skilled in Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) modeling, development and deployment. This announcement will put some short-term pricing pressure on commercial vendors and force them to further differentiate, especially in ease of use for business users as well as IT professionals. However, users who upgrade to Intalio's Enterprise Edition may find that it is no less expensive than alternative commercial offerings.

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