Happy New Year! (2012 Edition)

Scott Francis
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Happy New Year to our readers! 2011 was a very good year for BP3 – again, thanks to our customers, and our team.  Our customers continued to invest in BP3 and in BPM, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to help customers achieve success with BPM.  We had some great moments this year – we spoke at IBM Impact with one of our customers, rolled out more production deployments than ever, and had our first all-hands meeting. Our team is the other major factor in our success.  It is a really good feeling to see teammates pulling together to help each other.  The maturity and experience of our team is the best, bar none.  And yet, our team is humble enough to keep trying to get better, to be well-aware of our weaknesses and strengths.  Every day we go to work thinking about how to improve. We also made the 2011 “Fast 50” list in Austin for the first time in 2011 (covering years 2008, 2009, and 2010).   We followed up with another banner year – we doubled revenue in 2011, above our expectations.  Without releasing the exact number, you can do the math based on previous publications.   One can argue that a rising tide lifts all boats, but it isn’t so much the big, general, service providers that I see getting traction in the market, it still appears to be the focused “pure play BPM” consultancies that are getting the most traction (and creating the most successes).  This isn’t just true in one vendor ecosystem – it appears to be true across several different OEM software vendor ecosystems. 2011 exposed several memes that were circulating among pundits and bloggers.  My summary of our learnings follows each:
  • BPM is Dead.  In fact, 2011 has seen BPM achieve more mainstream success (and press coverage) than ever before.  Far from dying, it is still fostering innovation, consolidation, and customer adoption.
  • BPM won’t do well as the economy improves.  I think we could all agree that the economy in 2011 was better, but not good enough to really test this theory.  I still contend that you can’t predict the next economic cycle based on the results of the last cycle – each one is just enough different to surprise you.  This one might be the one where companies continue to invest in process improvement even as growth resumes.
  • BPM innovation is over.  I still see interesting innovations happening across a number of vendors-  IBM BPM’s chief innovation has been leveraging IBM’s software in an environment that still feels like Lombardi’s user-friendly BPM environment- versioning and all.  Appian continues to innovate in cloud deployments and mobile BPM.  Isus continues to blaze its own path.  Tibco has picked up Nimbus to add to its own ActiveMatrix BPM.  Activiti and Bonitasoft continue to improve open source options – and Activiti in particular is taking a few different turns as they build out their feature set.  And that really doesn’t do justice to the other folks who are testing out innovative ways to build processes – from data mining for processes to using natural language to express them.
  • Austin and Texas will fare better than the US in general in 2011.  Based on Novembers statistics of a 6.6% unemployment rate in Austin, I’d say that’s true.  It appears likely to drop again for December.
  • The Process Body of Knowledge effort kicked off with the aim of being the wikipedia for BPM.  These kinds of efforts take a long time to get momentum and really take on an inertia and life of their own.  But if they can get it going, it should be really interesting for the BPM community.
  • We started to hear concerns from within the ACM community itself about its risk of  failure.  In fact, in February, ACM was declared dead by one of its own.
  • Simplicity and Experience.  These themes just seem to be driving value in the software and consumer markets right now.  And yet many enterprise software companies still aren’t paying attention to these key value propositions.
  • There is a lot to learn from startups, which can be applied to our BPM efforts. As startups examine the process of starting, and the process of product development and customer discovery, they’re exposing a lot of nuggets of wisdom about BPM, though the terminology and perspective is different.  Moreover, researchers and entrepreneurs are starting to coalesce around a set of processes for starting up companies and developing products.  It is really fascinating to both observe and participate in.
  • SXSW-interactive is a monsterThe conference continues to have an impact on tech and social media.  And despite being “too big” every year, it just keeps getting more interesting and evolving in unexpected ways.  The latest transformation seems to be more startup orientation.
  • BPM conferences’ attendance was up.  Both Impact and Gartner had much higher attendance in conferences closely aligned with BPM in 2011.
  • We had our first all-hands meeting.  We should have done it sooner.  Leadership and people are the heart of any business, and the heart of any BPM initiative.
  • There were several more acquisitions. Consolidation continues, even as new seeds are planted in new startups.
The future for BPM never looked brighter. And by implication, the future for BP3 has never looked brighter.  We see some really important opportunities in front of us, and we are, right now, making the investments that we think will position us to better help our customers going forward. We’ll have some interesting announcements to make in 2012 as we get deeper into the year.  We have a few opportunities to really improve our value proposition to the BPM market and intend to follow through on a couple of those this year, and we’re looking forward to sharing our thoughts about the future soon.  

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  • Jakob Freund

    congratulations, Scott. Actually I think BP3 and camunda are quite similar somehow, because we are both young companies, very dedicated to BPM and just love what we do, and fortunately we are both doing well without becoming too proud about it. Interesting to watch that kind of similar development about 8.5 thousand km away from each other (Austin-Berlin). Have a good 2012!

    Jakob

    • Thanks Jakob- and indeed it does seem like we have a lot of parallels, both coincidental (like our relative youth as companies) and intentional (culture, dedication to BPM as a practice not just a technology choice).  Really enjoy following your company’s developments as well!  If I get anywhere near Berlin I will try to connect with you in person!