SearchCIO's Podcast on #BPM Vendor Selection

Scott Francis
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Search CIO posted a good podcast about two weeks ago on the topic of selecting BPM tools / vendors, interviewing Mike Kravis.  There were a couple points I wanted to pull out from the transcript and expand on:
  • Mr. Kravis says the first step is to determine the requirements, which of course is true. But the real trick is to make sure that the requirements actually make sense.  Often requirements are proposed that are actually designed to make it hard for any vendor to succeed – this can happen when the Business or IT want to keep using the tool they have, or are worried about job security or skills.  Just make sure that the requirements are related to increasing business value or decreasing implementation cost, and not just Enterprise Architecture decoration or Buzzword Bingo.
  • Mr. Kravis points out that when he was choosing vendors previously, they really worried about the pure play vendors being acquired – but in fact it was the big vendors that got acquired while the pure plays stayed independent.  This was a pretty interesting trend a few years ago- several potential customers of pure play vendors were advised by BEA that they were takeover targets… but in fact BEA was the company that was acquired and swallowed up by Oracle.  The pure plays are still out there, and still look like the best options for those still in the buying process.
  • Kravis describes a good evaluation process, but it is an expensive process.  If you’re a smaller corporation, you need to push for a faster decision.  My recommendation is to push for a contingent license with a vendor you feel comfortable with, rather than doing extensive evaluations with 3-4 vendors (including onsite demonstrations, etc.).  The on-site demonstrations will help – but it will also drive up your licensing costs because it drives up the cost-of-sale for the vendors (It may not be obvious, but if you make it *easy* for a software vendor to sell you software, they’re likely to be more forgiving on price).
Overall its a good interview, and some good tips.

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Good Article on SearchCIO