IBM’s Smarter Process Agenda

Scott Francis
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Neil Ward-Dutton was fortunate enough to be invited to one of IBM’s small-scale analyst events.  They have been doing these for a few years – one for analysts and one for customers and prospects – and I’ve heard great things about these sessions as being really high-value for all the attendees.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to convince IBM that it would be in their best interest to invite me to one of these two events as well!

When I say small-scale, I mean small-scale; there were only around a dozen analysts, and we were outnumbered by IBMers – which made for an interesting dynamic. Rather than this being a big presentation fest, it was much more geared around one-to-one meetings and small roundtable sessions. I got the impression that IBM was genuinely interested in having proper conversations with the analysts, rather than just broadcasting – a really refreshing experience for me.

This is one of the high points from what I’ve heard- intimate setting.  But getting to the point, what was the message from IBM?

IBM is articulating Smarter Process as its “approach for reinventing business operations – to enable greater customer-centricity – in the age of mobile, social, cloud and big data – while driving efficiency and optimization into end-to-end processes”. What does this mean? [..] It means IBM is going to attempt to sell Smarter Process to COOs, while at the same time tying its offerings into client’s agendas around customer-centricity and customer experience excellence. It’s going to need to tell stories that bring in consulting capabilities from its own teams and those of its partners, as well as from its technology.

(Emphasis added)  This is clearly the mission going forward for IBM BPM aka Smarter Process. But additionally, Neil hit it spot on in terms of consulting capabilities.  And when it comes to BPM and ODM, the partners represent a critical element of customer experience.

One of the things I really like about having IBM as a partner, is that they’re a good partner.  We can really invest around their platform:  APIs are stable and high-quality, product strategies make sense, they’re supportive of partners adding value to their software offerings, and their policies toward partners and products have a consistency over time.  The relationship we have with IBM and IBM’s technology groups is what allows us to invest in innovations like Brazos.

Historically, analysts and software vendors have underestimated the value of great services providers.  I see some signs of that changing – in MWD’s coverage, and in recent reports from Gartner and Forrester, as well as in some upcoming reports.  But most of all, we’ve observed a shift for the better in how customers perceive the value of great services teams like BP3’s.