Heard on the Street: Misinformation about the SPARK UI Toolkit

By bpmMasters Posted November 10, 2016 In SPARK
Heard on the Street_ Misinformation about the SPARK UI Toolkit

Increasingly, we are noticing misinformation generated by some of Salient’s competition regarding the SPARK UI Toolkit. This misinformation equates to trying to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt in order to confuse IBM BPM customers. We understand marketing is one of the mediums needed to gain competitive advantage – which every business wants. However, when the noise is made to the detriment of customers’ best interest, and of reality, we feel obligated to correct certain misconceptions. Whether those misconceptions stem from simple misinformation or actual disingenuousness is left for the reader to decide.

Misconception #1: IBM hasn’t committed to integrating SPARK UI into IBM BPM

Fact: IBM entered into an acquisition agreement with Salient for the SPARK UI Toolkit in June of 2016. IBM is bound by corporate policy-driven restrictions to avoid favoritism for specific Business Partners. Because IBM didn’t acquire Salient Process, but instead acquired the SPARK UI Toolkit, the tone of the following articles is understandably tempered -- but not ambiguous:

  • IBM’s June 7th, 2016: IBM’s official SPARK Product Announcement. The wording of the “Statement of general direction” section of the announcement is unambiguous: IBM intends to incorporate technology from Salient Process SPARK Toolkits into a future update to IBM BPM. These technologies are intended to enhance the Coach user interface capabilities that are included with IBM BPM.”
  • Dennis Parrot’s (IBM - Senior Offering Manager for IBM BPM) blog: 5 Things to Know about Designing IBM BPM User Interfaces: “IBM and Salient Process have partnered together to make the SPARK UI Toolkit the UI toolkit of choice for IBM BPM customers. There are already efforts underway to incorporate the SPARK UI Toolkit into the IBM BPM product.
  • Chris Vavra’s (IBM – Program Director, Product Management for IBM BPM) blog Turbocharge your IBM BPM user experience with new Salient Process partnershipToday IBM is pleased to announce an expanded partnership with Salient Process to enhance and extend the custom user interface capabilities within IBM Business Process Manager (BPM).  Under the new partnership, we are now reselling technical support for the Salient Process SPARK UI Toolkits for IBM BPM, we have obtained the rights to use the technology in IBM products, and we are collaborating with Salient Process in its ongoing development.

The simple, undecorated truth is Salient has been working daily with IBM engineering and their Senior Offering Manager since June of this year to take SPARK through the intensive IBM “Bluewash” process every product IBM acquires goes through. This process will be completed sometime in the second half of 2017, at which point the SPARK product will be fully integrated into and will be part of IBM BPM. Also, the SPARK suite of Toolkits, including SPARK UI, can be purchased directly through IBM which cannot be said of any other UI Toolkit.

Misconception #2: Anything built with SPARK today will likely require a migration to a productized / Bluewashed version later.

Fact: During the SPARK acquisition negotiation with IBM, Salient Process insisted on a seamless upgrade as a key outcome of the Bluewash process. We wouldn’t have sold the product to IBM without such a guarantee.

Salient Process has been undeviating on the promise of a “soft landing” for customers that invested in SPARK. Our customers trusted us, in collaboration with IBM, to deliver on this promise. We are absolutely committed to fulfilling this promise. On this, the IBM Engineering team, Product Management team, and Salient’s Innovation team are fully aligned.

Because of Salient’s unique agreement with IBM, SPARK UI customers are by far best positioned to experience a smooth transition – especially as features unique to SPARK are rolled into the core BPM product.

There is no migration with SPARK from version to version. All the IBM BPM customer needs to do is install the new version of the SPARK UI Toolkit which corresponds with the new version of IBM BPM. That’s it. It just works. Simple, just like the rest of the SPARK UI Toolkit. We are in lockstep with IBM’s release process and are a part of their beta program so that we have the appropriate version of SPARK ready for the next release of IBM BPM.

What really needs to be answered by competitors is how their Toolkit will migrate to a productized / Bluewashed version of SPARK? What needs to be answered by you is are you willing to take the risk of using a Toolkit not endorsed by IBM and risk your hard work having to be redone when you upgrade to the version of IBM BPM which includes SPARK UI? What is even more interesting is Misconception #1 and Misconception #2 cannot possibly both happen. Think about it...

Misconception #3: In third party side by side tests, competition toolkit has beat the SPARK UI Toolkit in speed of development by days for a single screen.

Fact: One of the things we encourage those who are evaluating UI Toolkits do is to set up a blind test. Set up a scenario for a set of coaches you would like built. Do not tell the UI Toolkit competitors what the scenario is. Set up a time where each competing vendor must build the coaches right in front of you (have each vendor do this at separate times obviously). Make the requirements real world and complex, so the bar is set high. When a vendor must build something right in front of you without any previous preparation, they cannot hide warts in their product. You are the real winner because you get to see what is real and what is fluff.

Obviously, with us encouraging those evaluating multiple UI Toolkits to do a blind test we are quite confident we will win. As a result of going through a blind test, you will see how we can claim a 3X improvement in productivity for building IBM BPM Coaches using the SPARK UI Toolkit. We guarantee this 3X improvement over using any other Toolkit or IBM BPM out of the box coaches. If you don’t find that is true, the SPARK UI Toolkit is free.

Hopefully, we have cleared up some misconceptions being propagated in the marketplace. To summarize, IBM is integrating SPARK UI into their IBM BPM suite. That is a fact. It is indisputable and documented. IBM did an exhaustive four-month analysis of the UI Toolkits on the market and chose SPARK because it is the best UI Toolkit available. The other facts to leave you with are we guarantee you a 3X improvement in your UI development productivity or the product is free; no questions asked. Also, we guarantee we will beat any competitor’s UI Toolkit in a blind test of your choice, or you can have our SPARK Enterprise Edition UI Toolkit for free. Lastly, we guarantee a seamless upgrade from version to version.

Feel free to reach out with any questions. To get more information on SPARK visit our site.

Video: IBM Digital Business Automation Platform