Signs that BPM is Still Growing, Despite the Economy

Scott Francis
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Like everyone else, I’m reading a lot of press about the economy, and most of it is negative. But in our little bubble of BPM, things are cooking along pretty well. Sure there are ups and downs but the trend-lines are up. As if to underscore that, we’re starting to see the 1H2008 press releases from BPMS vendors. Lombardi’s is here (not to mention that it was well-covered by Bruce Silver’s blog, Sandy’s Blog, and the BPM in Action blog) and Savvion just released theirs here (if other vendors posted similar announcements I haven’t seen them yet). We’ve also seen some interesting investment news from Appian (a $10M investment round). Lombardi points to some impressive growth, especially regarding the license bookings (85% growth year over year). All indications are that the number could actually accelerate next year since they have seeded a much larger user base with Blueprint (their SaaS process mapping tool)- users that are likely to have positive impressions of the software and that may translate into more buys for the execution software (Teamworks). Savvion also points out some nice gains- most profitable quarter yet (operating profit). However, in comparison to the Lombardi release it lacks a lot of detail. We don’t know how much profit grew year over year or by how much it exceeds previous profit numbers. And we don’t know how they’re doing on key metrics that might point the path toward growth (license growth, maintenance revenue renewals, consulting $, etc.). Not that either of these companies are required to disclose numbers, as they’re private firms, but the amount of disclosure from Lombardi is clearly greater so far. That speaks volumes about their confidence vis-a-vis the other pure-play vendors which are not putting out the same level of detail. And it puts pressure on the other guys to start putting up the same details. Hopefully with the Metastorm IPO filing, we’ll start getting at least two sets of more complete numbers to look at for trends. Regardless of the shakeout in BPMS vendors, we believe the BPM segment is growing – the need for Process-oriented services is growing.  And we’re well-equipped to help customers with process-oriented solutions.  However, as an independent consulting firm, we keep our eyes open for this kind of trending data because we want to be playing good defense – we want to be where the ball is likely to go. That’s where the work will be, and that’s where we’ll make our investments. As a consultancy, we’d like to see all of these vendors grow at the kind of rates Lombardi is growing at, but we don’t have the numbers yet to know if Lombardi is typical, or the standout.  I think we have the most experienced Lombardi BPMS implementation team on the planet right now, but that’s another subject, and another post!

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