BPM Vendor Assessments from MWD

Scott Francis
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Just saw this come across my inbox: a new set of vendor assessments from MWD in the BPM space.

It looks like they sell a subscription service, but they’re offering these particular BPM assessments for free in exchange for registration information. Looks like they have assessments for Lombardi, Appian, IBM, Oracle, Software AG, TIBCO, and the newest addition, Pegasystems.

Not sure why they don’t have Intalio or at least some representative from the opensource world, but still its a good set of research to be able to lay hands on at only the cost of some contact information.  There’s also a teaser for a comparison report that will come out soon.

After reading two of the reports, there is a strong product-focus in the reports, but no discussion of financial viability or market presence.  In a way, that’s refreshing as you see too many of these kinds of evaluations colored by areas outside of product capability, as if a healthy balance sheet alone will make the software work better for you as a customer.

On the other hand, like most evaluations of software, some of the subtleties of the software capabilities are missed.  These products don’t all deal with versioning, simulation, integration, and reporting to the same degree of competency, but from reading the descriptions you might feel that they are equivalent in these respects.  I think this is because some of the difficulties of each platform (and strengths!) are not apparent from a demonstration or even the first 5 minutes, but require working on an end-to-end deployment to uncover.  There probably isn’t an economical way for an analyst-firm to get to that level of expertise on all the products in the BPM space. My complements to MWD for getting these reports out in a publicly consumable way!

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  • neilwd

    Thanks very much for the pointer Scott. I’d like to come back to you on a couple of points if that’s OK!
    First off: the reason there aren’t more vendors represented today (including Intalio) is purely a matter of available time and resources. We picked a set of vendors that we thought represented a good spread of the more established players. We plan to add more: this isn’t a one-off exercise but a snapshot of an ongoing programme (like you might see from Gartner or Forrester for example). So watch this space. Intalio is one vendor we’re talking to among others.
    Second – re: vendor viability etc. You’re right and that was quite deliberate. For one, other analysts do a fair job of helping customers think about viability / “ability to execute”. Also, any customer with half a brain can quickly see how many customers a vendor has, what its revenues are, etc. Even the privately held ones will give some kind of indication.
    Third – re: the descriptions of capabilities – I’d have to disagree. There aren’t any scores in the free assessments, that’s true – the reports are purely descriptive. But the descriptions do, I think, provide quite a bit of depth when you read them closely. The individual reports aren’t super-easy to compare side-by-side, I’ll accept that – and that’s why we also just released a free comparison overview report with some high-level “scoring” in it. Can I ask for some feedback from you on that – what do you think?
    The other point to make here is that for paying subscribers, there’s a much more in-depth, online, personalisable comparison tool – based on the same underlying assessment model – that they can use to not only get much more detailed scoring, but also add weightings and filters to those scores to reflect their own constraints and preferences.
    Thanks again for the reference – and I’ll hope to hear what you think of the free comparison overview report…
    Neil Ward-Dutton / MWD

  • neilwd

    Thanks very much for the pointer Scott. I’d like to come back to you on a couple of points if that’s OK!
    First off: the reason there aren’t more vendors represented today (including Intalio) is purely a matter of available time and resources. We picked a set of vendors that we thought represented a good spread of the more established players. We plan to add more: this isn’t a one-off exercise but a snapshot of an ongoing programme (like you might see from Gartner or Forrester for example). So watch this space. Intalio is one vendor we’re talking to among others.
    Second – re: vendor viability etc. You’re right and that was quite deliberate. For one, other analysts do a fair job of helping customers think about viability / “ability to execute”. Also, any customer with half a brain can quickly see how many customers a vendor has, what its revenues are, etc. Even the privately held ones will give some kind of indication.
    Third – re: the descriptions of capabilities – I’d have to disagree. There aren’t any scores in the free assessments, that’s true – the reports are purely descriptive. But the descriptions do, I think, provide quite a bit of depth when you read them closely. The individual reports aren’t super-easy to compare side-by-side, I’ll accept that – and that’s why we also just released a free comparison overview report with some high-level “scoring” in it. Can I ask for some feedback from you on that – what do you think?
    The other point to make here is that for paying subscribers, there’s a much more in-depth, online, personalisable comparison tool – based on the same underlying assessment model – that they can use to not only get much more detailed scoring, but also add weightings and filters to those scores to reflect their own constraints and preferences.
    Thanks again for the reference – and I’ll hope to hear what you think of the free comparison overview report…
    Neil Ward-Dutton / MWD

  • Neil –
    thanks for a very thorough and thoughtful reply to our post! I should expect nothing less from MWD, obviously :)

    On the # of vendors: perfectly reasonable that it takes time to build up the list of players that are examined- and given that a portion of the research is made available free of charge, I’m hardly in a position to complain. If you do endeavor to add an open source vendor, my 2 cents of advice would be to try to look at more than one open source option at once. I suspect that for many clients, they are either interested in open source alternatives, or they’re not. Or, put the other way, they’re either interested in paying for commercial software, or they’re not. And there isn’t just one open-source alternative out there, though obviously there are a number of differences in the offerings in terms of scope and completeness.

    Vendor viability: I hope my statement on that count didn’t come across as a criticism. As I said in the original post, it was kind of refreshing to not have an IBM at the top of the heap on “ability to execute” just because they are very large. I would argue financial viability and ability to execute are different things, but you’d never know it in some articles and research.

    I’ll check out the comparison report (re: description of capabilities) – it’s been on my to-do list, and I’d be happy to share my thoughts with you once I read it (and the blog if appropriate). Thanks for commenting and responding to our post, Neil.

  • Neil –
    thanks for a very thorough and thoughtful reply to our post! I should expect nothing less from MWD, obviously :)

    On the # of vendors: perfectly reasonable that it takes time to build up the list of players that are examined- and given that a portion of the research is made available free of charge, I’m hardly in a position to complain. If you do endeavor to add an open source vendor, my 2 cents of advice would be to try to look at more than one open source option at once. I suspect that for many clients, they are either interested in open source alternatives, or they’re not. Or, put the other way, they’re either interested in paying for commercial software, or they’re not. And there isn’t just one open-source alternative out there, though obviously there are a number of differences in the offerings in terms of scope and completeness.

    Vendor viability: I hope my statement on that count didn’t come across as a criticism. As I said in the original post, it was kind of refreshing to not have an IBM at the top of the heap on “ability to execute” just because they are very large. I would argue financial viability and ability to execute are different things, but you’d never know it in some articles and research.

    I’ll check out the comparison report (re: description of capabilities) – it’s been on my to-do list, and I’d be happy to share my thoughts with you once I read it (and the blog if appropriate). Thanks for commenting and responding to our post, Neil.

  • neilwd

    Scott,
    Thanks for the response! I look forward to hearing about what you think of the comparison report. Also I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts on F/OSS vendors to cover (apart from Intalio of course) – if you’d like, you can always email me at: neilwd at mwdadvisors dot com.

  • neilwd

    Scott,
    Thanks for the response! I look forward to hearing about what you think of the comparison report. Also I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts on F/OSS vendors to cover (apart from Intalio of course) – if you’d like, you can always email me at: neilwd at mwdadvisors dot com.

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