BPM Lives On

Scott Francis
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After all the mergers and acquisitions in the BPM space over the last 2+ years, you could hardly blame people for thinking the BPM space was going to be dead or at least lacking innovation. However, some of us argued that innovation would continue – both within the independents that were left standing, and even somewhat among the biggest players.  We have some evidence of that today with BonitaSoft’s press release – 350% growth year over year with their open source BPM platform. First, the positives:
  1. This is a great achievement for BonitaSoft
  2. It shows that there is a wider, deeper demand for BPM software than what the big commercial software packages are addressing.  This also indicates there is likely an umbrella underneath current commercial software pricing where a lot of the demand is dormant.
  3. An open source package can get real adoption (200 customers+).
  4. Innovation and market shifts continue in the BPM market
Now, for the questions (the answers to which might make these positives or negatives):
  1. Where does the revenue come from?  The site mentions subscriptions and I assume one can get pricing but prices aren’t on the website (note: BonitaSoft manifesto includes “transparency” as a core value :)
  2. Is it all open source or just some of it?  One thing I note is that BonitaSoft, while flying the open source flag, says in its overview: “Bonitasoft is already developing additional versions of Bonita with professional grade technical support and advanced features to facilitate collaborative work and to industrialize Bonita deployments.  BonitaSoft reserves the right to give access to these versions on a subscription basis to its customers only.”  That sounds like closed-source on top of open source to me.  The fact that it is subscription based is a minor tweak to the traditional commercial model.  There’s nothing wrong with this, per se, it just means that these subscription packages don’t benefit from being open source in the same way that a truly open source project might.
  3. 350% year-over-year… starting from what number?  $1? $1000? $1MM?  Without context it is really hard to put this great performance in context.  According to one source, revenues were under $10MM as of June 2011.
Regardless of the answers, 350% is a great number to put up, the answers just put color around it.  It is great to see the BPM space still producing growth numbers that surprise. Looking forward to more updates from BonitaSoft in 2012!      

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