Bonita Review
Previously, we developed custom business systems. We switched to Bonita because it cut down development time and is easier to demo to prospective clients.


Valuable Features:

With our own processes, we have found the extensible connector system to be very useful (our processes can connect with legacy and 3rd party systems in a simple, well defined way).

When we interact with clients, the BPM workflows from Bonita BPM make defining processes and clarifying system flow much easier.  We used to draw system diagrams on whiteboards; now, we create simple models as functional demos. 

Improvements to My Organization:

Our lead generation system involves both automated and human tasks. By centralizing the workflow to our internal Bonita BPM system, we have improved the conversion rate (leads to customers) and lowered the number of leads dropped. Things do not slip through the cracks any longer.

Room for Improvement:

A number of the problem areas that we have run into in the past have been addressed in the newest version (7.0 beta). Things like custom app integration and human task forms have been greatly simplified.

That said, creating custom connectors for 3rd party applications and APIs is still a challenging task. Debugging, in particular, is difficult. I feel that when the development process for custom connectors becomes simpler, there will be many more available connectors.

Use of Solution:

We have been using this software internally and for our clients since 2011

Deployment Issues:

We have always deployed servers using Apache Tomcat. Our team is most familiar with this Java Application Server. Since our applications have always run as stand alone systems, this makes sense - if they required a full JEE stack, we would look at JBoss (with it's increased functionality and complexity).

Stability Issues:

The deployed systems have been fairly stable. Most of the challenges we have run into have been as a result of the hardware and network infrastructures - not as a result of Bonita.

Scalability Issues:

So far, we have not had to scale beyond a single server install. The software has scaled up to hundreds of concurrent processes and run well on the single server.

Customer Service:

Generally, the customer service has been great. I have interacted with a number of people at BonitaSoft (Jon Sanchez and Olivia Halaimi stand out in my memory as particularly nice to work with), all have been pleasant and helpful.

Previous Solutions:

Previously, we developed custom business systems. We switched to Bonita because it cut down development time and is easier to demo to prospective clients.

Initial Setup:

The initial install of Bonita Studio is very simple.

The jump from Bonita Studio to a full installation requires a solid understanding of IS and the resources to implement internal server deployments. It's quite a large jump from a demonstration with a desktop studio to even a simple deployment in a real world system.

Implementation Team:

We implemented with our in-house team.

ROI:

The return on investment is difficult to quantify because Bonita BPM has become tightly integrated in all our internal processes.

I can say that 2014 saw a 50% increase in staffing and an 80% increase in gross revenue over 2013 (when we first implemented Bonita BPM internally). 2015 is on track to show even more significant increases.

Other Solutions Considered:

We took a look at a number of the open source BPM solutions (including Activiti, JBPM and Drools). We found that Bonita BPM provided the best balance of clarity for non-technical users and development flexibility.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Since the end of 2013, Geek Inc has been a registered Experto partner with BonitaSoft. We do BPM development (processes and connectors) for clients interested in using Bonita BPM.
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