Companies looking to assess their readiness for BPM (business process management) are being offered a free tool by BEA Systems.

The company has made its BPM Assessment Tool available as a download from the BEA website to help customers to benchmark themselves against their peers and develop a basis for internal measurement.

The web-based tool offers users a way to benchmark their own implementation of BPM against the peers in similar organisations or the same vertical sector. BEA's senior technical evangelist for Europe, Martin Percival said that the decision to offer the assessment tool followed the company's similar implementation of a tool to assess readiness for SOA. "We ran a successful too in the SOA space and it made sense for us to offer something similar in BPM."

Percival stressed that this was not because the company was of the opinion that BPM was a new technology in the same way that SOA was, but because there was a growing change in the way that companies were viewing BMP and the impact that this thinking had on enterprises. "There’s a new willingness to look at BPM as a whole," said Percival.

He noted that this change meant that business managers and techies were moving in closer agreement on a variety of issues. "We have encouraged a mixture of people - both on the business side and IT - to have a look at the tool."

He said that there were four key areas where the tool would help in BPM assessment: analysis, orchestration, optimisation and innovation. The survey, which BEA claimed would only take a few minutes to complete, would enable companies to compare their implementations with that of their peers. He said it was too early to give an indication of how many companies would be using the tool but said that the SOA one has attracted between 15,000 to 20,000 users so far.

Percival said that the tool would work with any company's software and was not confined to BEA users. "It has value in its own right," he said. "Although," he added, "we'd be very keen to talk to anyone about what we can do for them. The tool is a great conversation opener."