The Hunt for the "Universal Device"

Farhad Manjoo has a new article today at Slate on the trend towards "universal" devices.  No consumer (or corporation) is happy to buy or produce just an MP3 player.  Instead those devices bring in more functions (cameras, voice recorders, mail programs, phones, etc.) until they become truly universal devices:  small computers that we can use for a variety of functions.  That works, he asserts, when developers can keep the interface elegant and intuitive and ensure that the pieces work seamlessly together.  I'm an iPhone convert for those reasons exactly.

We see much the same trend in the BPM industry: once external technologies likes BAM/Reporting or Case Management are now assumed to be core functions of any Business Process Management Suite (BPMS).  Even rules engines are now considered a core part of any BPM infrastructure.  Pega once had to sell analysts on our rules and process capabilities as separate entities.  Those same analysts are now saying that a business rule capability is the core of any BPMS.   As these business process management suites become more and more powerful and are able to solve more and more application problems (more on that in a later post), the elegance and the intuitiveness of the interface becomes more and more important.  Are the functions separate products requiring separate installations and integrated only on a companies marketing collateral? Or have the been engineered from the ground up to work as once seamless solution?  I want my BPMS to as powerful and elegant--as unified--as my iPhone.  Wouldn't you?