Process Applications – the new Black?

Scott Francis
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Are Process Applications the new Black of enterprise software solutions? It seems that there have been a flurry of announcements of new process applications.  Certainly some of these announcements are no surprise at all – when they come from an Oracle, IBM, or SAP.  But recently there have been other examples: the Callidus announcement (combining BPM and incentive management), and another from Austin-based SiteStuff announcing PROCUREplus (I’ll never understand why companies play with capitalization so much). The SiteStuff announcement was a surprise to me.  Surprise that they’re offering a new service?  No.  But surprised that the pitch is surprisingly BPM-like:
SiteStuff today announced that it will soon offer three new business process improvement solutions aimed at increasing efficiency, lowering back office costs and promoting sustainability within the real estate industry. These new additions will complement the existing procurement solution, SiteStuff PROCUREplus™ for which the company has been widely recognized.
They could have left the “business process improvement” terminology out of the release and made most of the same points about value creation – but clearly including the business process improvement slant makes it clear what value proposition they are offering.  I think it is a sign that business process management and business process improvement are gaining currency across a wide spectrum of companies that provide solutions designed to make your business more efficient.  They aren’t all BPM vendors.  However, I would say that all of these vendors would benefit from the inclusion of robust pureplay style BPM engines.  Why?  Because it will give them the opportunity to quickly roll-out process change, or process-customization, for their customers, without the same software development overhead.