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Process specialist Intalio takes open-source route

Looking to undercut larger rivals, work flow software vendor brings its high-end product to the open-source set.

Six-year-old software company Intalio is adopting an open-source business model in an effort to get a bigger foothold in the business process software market.

The company in the second quarter of this year plans to make its high-end business process server and designer tool set open source, according to Intalio CEO Ismael Ghalimi.

Business process software is designed for writing and running applications that automate a company work flow, such as insurance claims processing or financial-transaction settlements.

Intalio's strategy calls for the company to open-source the enterprise edition of its Intalio BPMS suite, which includes a work flow server and application design tools.

The Enterprise Edition will include the same products as the lower-end Community Edition, but customers will have to pay Intalio a $25,000 per-processor fee to run the software on closed-source infrastructure software, Ghalimi said.

The Community Edition can be deployed only on the open-source Geronimo application server and the open-source MySQL database which, in general, do not have the same high-end features as proprietary products.

Intalio also intends to charge an annual fee for support services on the Community and Enterprise editions, Ghalimi said.

Larger vendors IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and BEA Systems each have developed business process management or work flow software. The entry of larger companies into the field over the past few years has made success more difficult for specialized companies to achieve, according to analysts.

To better compete against larger companies and other specialized providers, Intalio decided to adopt an open-source business model, Ghalimi said. Making the software freely available allows potential customers to easily use the software.

"I'm open-source, and I'm cross-platform, and a systems integration firm loves that model because they can use us, giving the software to the customer without having to call the sales guy at IBM or Oracle," Ghalimi said. "The customer can decide what to deploy at a later stage."

Another important piece to Intalio's conversion to open source is the December acquisition of FiveSight, which made an open-source process server based on the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) 2.0 specification.