I recently saw the review of AWD 10 from Bruce Silver (http://www.awdbpm.com/bruce_silver_on_awd10_oct_2010.pdf), where he was outlining the virtues of AWD 10. Now to be open I have been bitten by AWD in the past and have some painful memories. These were not necessarily all the fault of AWD, but partially that we were trying to use it outside of its main areas of strength. However, I still have the scars.
AWD has been around for a long time. Originally built by DST to manage its BPO operations I believe it started life in the 70’s / 80’s written in Cobol – and this heritage always remained in the constraints in the fixed length data models. Over its life it was ported to a combination of C and Java and a number of add-ons were bolted on to the side. During the last 5 – 10 years there seemed to be a significant lack of investment in the product itself, and it went from a position of being a market leader to a boundary player.
AWD is used extensively by DST systems for operations processing. This, in conjunction with the joint ventures with State Street and FDI was always the reason why the install base was so large. Used in this way, I have seen AWD being used very effectively for large volumes of transactions.
From first glance through the report, it appears that AWD 10 bolts together all of the components that were emerging as add-ons in previous incarnations – such as the form designer, service designer, and smart forms. These were previously always add-ons, developed separately, and licensed as add-ons.
In the past the challenges that we have encountered with AWD have been based around:
- The complexity of the operating and development environments. The lack of version control and release management capabilities in particular – although this is an area that Lombardi 6 struggled, it has now put these largely to bed with 7.x. It was not clear from the report whether this has been addressed at all.
- Integration into any other portal or technology – for example for presenting tasks lists through a partner portal.
- The number of and integration between add-ons which were not seamless.
- The data dictionary – especially around field name lengths and handling of collections.