Business process fusion will create demand for next-generation cross-functional applications, but vendors are still struggling to position themselves in this emerging area.
Simon Hayward, vice president and research fellow at Gartner, warned vendors that the movement towards business process fusion is not just a matter of extending application products.
"Business process fusion takes business applications vendors into a new field of competition: the application platform," he said in a statement.
"This field brings new challenges, such as competitors that have traditionally delivered components of this technology platform, such as Tibco Software and Vitria Technology, as well as competitors with comprehensive platform offerings, such as BEA Systems and IBM."
Gartner believes that business process fusion is a set of trends impacting business applications, software infrastructure and their role in supporting business processes.
Adoption of the processes will transform business activities as previously autonomous business processes are integrated, the analyst predicted.
This will in turn drive stronger alignment of IT with core business processes, and link operational and management processes.
The technology platform for fusion applications will, according to Gartner, combine the infrastructure of application servers and integration brokers with portal, content management and collaboration support technology.
Gartner analysts said that, although application vendors with a vision for fusion, including SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle, which can provide the basic technology components, most components are relatively immature and primarily optimised for each vendors' application environment.
"Enterprises must make strategic decisions regarding how far to consolidate IT purchases with a single vendor, as opposed to maintaining vendor independence between application categories, and between applications and infrastructure," said Hayward.
"They also need to view the extended enterprise as a network of interdependent business processes, rather than a collection of independent functions. This is a major cultural challenge, more than a technology problem."
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