ACM and Product/Market fit

Scott Francis
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David Brakoniecki chimes in on ACM’s product/market fit problem, and hopefully he won’t mind me quoting liberally from his post.  On the one hand, there is the rock:  free or nearly free software from various providers that addresses the freelance/collaboration use case…
Freelance Web designers and developers need a tool to collaborate with clients and to manage projects. They simply can’t afford to pay much for it but there are thousands of them. Basecamp pretty much plays perfectly to this market. It’s SaaS delivery model and freemium pricing makes it easy for users to get started quickly.
On the other side is the hard place: difficult integrations that must be completed before something like ACM or BPM can be successfully implemented…
If your target market is hospitals or insurance companies then just setting up the integrations and data migration is a massive upfront investment. The promised business agility depends on getting the set-up right and the compelling difference with other case management and BPM technologies is less.
And in this latter market, you find yourself up against established technology companies with robust BPM and separately, robust integration offerings (often well-integrated into a single suite). This doesn’t shoot holes in the “methodology” side of the ACM pitch, but it sure points out a problem for the technology side of the house.  And there is some market evidence to support this view.  A few of the “ACM” vendors have run into the reefs – e.g. ActionBase (which I still think had the best articulation of a product that reflects ACM values, and yet was clearly not a BPMS).  

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