Miguel Valdés-Faura is the CEO and co-founder of BonitaSoft, a software company with the mission of democratizing the Business Process Management. Miguel founded the Bonita project in 2001, with the vision that BPM would become mainstream in every company’s IT portfolio. Prior to Bonitasoft, Miguel led R&D, pre-sales and support for the BPM division of Bull Information Systems, a major European systems provider. Miguel holds a degree in computer science from the URV and a master’s degree from Nancy and Metz universities.
Sramana: Miguel, let’s start with your story. Where are you from? Where were you raised? What is the story of BonitaSoft?
Miguel Valdés-Faura: I am from Barcelona, Spain. Most of the story behind the company and the open source software that we push at BonitaSoft was initially built in France. Everything started in 2001 when I was moving from Barcelona to northern France. I was just finishing my degree in computer science, and I was working in a research center in Europe that is pretty well respected. I was working with people who were very specialized in building collaboration solutions.
As we worked through our various research efforts, we talked about collaboration, which inevitably leads to discussions about workflow and process. That was the origin of our technology as well as the company. In 2001 I joined the research lab, and a few years later it became an open source project called Bonita as a workflow and business process management solution. Between 2001 and 2003, I pushed hard on our management to promote the technology.
Sramana: Did you come up with the technology while working for the lab?
Miguel Valdés-Faura: Yes. My job there was to build this new BPM technology to be more collaborative. I was pushing hard for open source capabilities. I told them if they wanted to get huge visibility for all the work their PhDs had been doing for the past year that open source was the way to go. My day-to-day job was to get the open source community to start contributing to this project. I was the driver behind the first version of this technology called Bonita. I was also the guy that was coding this version of the software.
Sramana: Did the lab give you resources to take this technology further?
Miguel Valdés-Faura: Everyone thought the open source concept was a good idea. We were seeing the beginning of the open source enterprise software movement in 2001. That was just after the big success of Linux. Other people were working on application servers for business intelligence, databases, content management (including companies and projects such as well as groups like Red Hat and MySQL). They were all building enterprise software in the open source community. It seemed like a good idea at that time to push business process management software into the open source space because there was not really anyone else doing it there.