#IBMImpact themes: Consumability and Consolidation

Scott Francis
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I was fortunate to finally meet Neil Ward-Dutton in person at IBM Impact this year.  We attended different sessions for the most part, so our one meeting was just for a few minutes by the escalators.  And I’ve often found MWD’s analysis of BPM vendors (and other adjacent markets) to be insightful and to the point. So I’ve been looking forward to seeing Neil’s writeup for MWD. Neil starts with a little history of the IBM Impact event – how it has evolved from Websphere to SOA to BPM – and with a legitimate business track in effect now.  As Neil pointed out – BPM wasn’t the only theme getting traction at IBM Impact (though you might get that impression reading my blog posts, because that’s what I’m focused on) – but it did get its share of attention in they keynotes.
What was more telling here was not the platitudes about the importance of business processes – but the frequency with which technology from recently-acquired Lombardi was placed front and centre in those same keynote sessions (see Bruce Silver’s note). And as Scott Francis from BPM implementation specialist BP3 pointed out the Lombardi-specific breakouts were very heavily attended – this stuff clearly impressed attendees from what I heard and saw.
I agree-  the surprise was how they put Lombardi front-and-center.  It wasn’t the “what’s new” from Lombardi, it was the wholehearted adoption of the new acquisition that was surprising (and if you’re a BPM advocate, encouraging). Neil identifies twin themes in IBM’s recent acquisitions of Lombardi and Cast Iron:  consumability of the software (ease of use), and consolidating vendor relationships that require smart competitive tactics. I’m going to write more about the first theme-  I think that ease of use will be critical for BPM success going forward.  It may be the most important factor in the end… He goes on to say that time is of the essence in defining its go-to-market strategy – not because the customers must have an architecturally perfect solution tomorrow, but because the competition has gotten its act together, and BPM is hitting the mainstream – so firing on all cylinders now is critical for success.  I think his analysis is spot-on.