Today, open-source digital process automation (DPA) platform vendor Bonitasoft is announcing the availability of the newest release of their Bonita platform.
While it was offered in the public cloud previously, as well as on-prem, it is now available in a new managed cloud edition that is fully operated by Bonitasoft. Support for low-code application development has been extended, and the way scalability is managed in the engine has also been improved.
Bonitasoft is a ten-year old French-based company that was created to commercialize the Bonita open source business process management and workflow application platform. The company is now situated in the DPA category, which has a more explicit digital transformation focus. While it emphasizes a focus on continuous delivery and the customer experience, it also points with pride to developer having pride of place in the focus of their platform.
“Bonitasoft started focused on professional developers, while a majority of our competitors targeted business guys,” said Miguel Valdés Faura, Bonitasoft CEO and co-founder. “Over time, we have extended that to also involve other people. Still, in a market where everyone is now talking about ‘citizen developers,’ and giving non-technical people access, we are still focused on making sure that professional developers can deliver projects on time.”
Valdés Faura also highlighted Bonita’s ability to be selective in the capabilities it can provide to users as another differentiation for the company.
“Process automation platforms can be very heavy, if they are designed to support all expected capabilities,” he said. “We allow only using specific ones, like say the automation engine. If you want to let Bonita do the hard automation work, you can just embed that. If you just want to use the graphical UI, you can do just that. It lets you pick and choose functionality. That means the platform is also highly extensible. That helps us open opportunities in big companies, and get a foothold in new accounts. We often start with one component.”
While most process automation companies start in the enterprise and move downmarket, Valdés Faura said that Bonitasoft has been the opposite.
“We started 10 years ago serving small and medium sized companies, and by 2014, about a third were small businesses, a third mid-sized, and a third large, over 5000 people and up. We found though that we had a lot of churn with smaller companies because they used us for non-mission critical applications. So three years ago we changed our focus to concentrate on midsize and larger organizations, and today the majority are 5000 and up. We try to make our first project a mission-critical one, which makes us stickier and increases our ability to get into more projects once the platform is adopted. We now have a 93 per cent renewal rate, which is high for this industry.”
The channel’s role in Bonitasoft’s go-to-market strategy is significant.
“We started selling direct, but by 2012, we had begun to start building our partner ecosystem,” Valdés Faura indicated. “It is made of two types. One is technology vendors like DocuSign and UiPath, and the second is SIs and resellers. We have a little more than 100 of the second group of partners certified, which is a reduction from about 200 in recent years, to let us concentrate on the quality partners. 65 per cent of new customers are sold through or influenced by partners, and they are involved in every Bonita implementation unless a customer has their own team in place.” The channel program was recently revamped last year. It was simplified, reduced to one level, and has some new elements added.
With this release, the Bonita platform is now available in the cloud as a hosted option from Bonitasoft.
“We started with the cloud product by making sure that it was certified into well-known public clouds,” Valdés Faura said. “Now we are making it possible to manage operations for customers, where we do all the monitoring for them. The product itself is exactly the same, whether it is the on-prem version, the public cloud version, or the version where operation of the cloud is delegated to Bonitasoft.”
Support for low-code application development has also been enhanced with this release, including the ability to dramatically accelerate UI development for a highly customized user experience.
“Any DPA vendor by definition is a low-code platform, but we have been improving the ability for non-technical people to collaborate with developers,” Valdés Faura noted. “We let them use GitHub, where the technical parts are all hidden from the business people. At the same time though, we let the technical people use Jenkins.”
Other refinements have been made to enhance performance.
“We have expanded the way in which we manage scalability in the engine, especially for people building microservices-based applications,” Valdés Faura said. “The engine is based on microservices principles and uses serverless technologies, to offer a broader automation capability to people working on distributed applications.”