BP3 is BPM: Life in the #IBMImpact Trade Show Floor with BP3 by

In this post we just want to give you a little bit of a feel for what it was like to be at the BP3 booth on the tradeshow floor. But first, let’s take a diversion to the General Session, to get a sense for how BPM took an even bigger role in IBM’s messaging…

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The general sessions on Monday and Tuesday were a good dose of music, customer stories, and IBM execs holding forth on IBM’s strategy and direction.  Neil Ward-Dutton has a good recap of the conference on his blog, noting that Smarter Process is about moving a $100B needle for IBM.  And:

For the past couple of years IBM has been completely rebuilding the way it creates and executes marketing initiatives, and the majority of its marketing resources are now directed towards a relatively small number of cross-IBM programs that are judged as having the potential to add billions of dollars to IBM’s top line every year – stuff that will really move the needle. In the main, these programs are labelled ‘Smarter XYZ’.

Over the past couple of years we’ve had Smarter Analytics, Smarter Commerce and more; now we also have Smarter Process (and others, like Smarter Computing). Smarter Process is a signal from IBM that it sees a very significant revenue opportunity in helping companies reinvent their business processes with technology. It’s trying to tell a story that shows how technology can help improve customer-centricity while also delivering on operational expectations; it’s pitching this story not only to CIOs and line-of-business heads, but also to COOs. It expects that this initiative will move the revenue needle, against a backdrop annual revenue haul of over $100bn.

IBM more serious than ever about BPM in its broad sense, even though it uses a different term.

A more concise explanation of IBM’s “Smarter” branding I have not seen.  And if you couple this with the prominent placement of BPM (Smarter Process) customers in

If IBM’s BPM message was bigger, so, too, was BP3′s -exemplified by the trade show floor. First of all, we staked out our ground very clearly with our banner:

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 That’s right:  “BP3 is BPM”.

Our goal was to make sure there was no confusion in anyone's mind what BP3 stands for.  Based on feedback from customers and partners (and even the competition): mission accomplished.

We were pretty happy with the traffic at our booth this year.  We had a successful preview at the Solution Center reception on Sunday night, and again in the main customer reception on Monday night.

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There is no doubt that we saw better traffic flow in general, but more interest directly, in BP3 and our offerings.  In fact, we had 5x the leads scanned this year over last year, and many more contacts made besides the ones that got scanned.

With the overall themes of Process, Mobile, and Cloud - here we stood at the intersection of those trends.  Our Brazos UI Toolkit drew a lot of interest as a way to build great-looking UI that also works like a native interface on your smart phone or tablet.  Fully compatible with IBM Worklight, and fully supported by IBM BPM product features and APIs, our toolkit was getting a lot of attention - from IBM execs and technical experts, from Partners, and from IBM BPM customers.

Quite a few people approached us and asked if this was something IBM built.  When we said no, we built it, some of them asked, "why?"  But of course the why is that we're trying to make BPM easier for our customers. Brazos shortens the investment cycle for achieving amazing interfaces for our processes.

We had people ask us "well, yes, but how does it compare to <insert another UI toolkit>" (there were several comparison points).  From what we've seen, the other toolkits take a very sound approach of just improving on the existing IBM frameworks.  The downsides:

  • You need to either use the controls exactly as is or really understand DOJO to customize or enhance their controls.
  • DOJO just isn't the ideal javascript framework for building mobile HTML5.  There are newer, better frameworks available today, which BP3 has leveraged to build the Brazos UI Toolkit.
  • The other toolkits aren't responsive UIs.  They don't adapt to mobile screen sizes, touch interfaces, and native mobile controls.
  • They often don't look substantially better than IBM's out of the box UI controls.

Brazos starts with a great-looking interface.  On any device form factor.  It is touch-enabled, and it leverages native mobile interface controls, and it is lightweight enough that your interface is nearly as fast as a native iOS app.  You can customize Brazos UIs through configuration, CSS, HTML5, or Javascript.  There's no need to learn DOJO to do this.

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We understand there are several companies building UI frameworks for IBM BPM.  But BP3 has a few advantages that just aren't fair.  We understand the internal workings of IBM BPM better than anyone, and we've been deeply invested in mobile and BPM interfaces for a long time.  The other unfair advantage is that we simply can afford to invest more than anyone else in building the right UI solutions for IBM BPM.  We have the luxury of deploying Brazos right now with three customers simultaneously.

Register for the Brazos Toolkit here.

Other interesting notes from the floor:

  • There was an unmanned BlackBerry booth on Sunday night that disappeared at some point on Monday...
  • We lucked out and had a food station right next to our booth both Sunday and Monday night - easy eating and easier to draw in a crowd!
  • Kudos to IBM for fixing the WIFI issues from last year - our WIFI in the trade show floor worked flawlessly.
  • And thanks to our fearless booth team for keeping the BP3 presence up throughout all of the Solution Center hours!  These folks were tireless and represented BP3 well!

 A bit more to come on our other activities at IBM Impact...