Business Applications in the Age of BPM

Scott Francis
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One of the best articles I’ve seen recently from a BPM analyst was written by Connie Moore.  Having left one of the major research firms, it feels like the kind of writing that might have been on her mind for a long time and now has a vehicle to get out onto black and white.  Key predictions from her new role at Digital Clarity Group:

  • BPM market should grow from $4.71B to $10.73B by 2019.  

But she asks the question, why is the BPM market this “small”, given its long history and proven ROI?  There are three key issues holding BPM back, in her view:

  • BPM software doesn’t have a natural home or advocacy group within the organization.
  • Business users typically fall in line with IT
  • Process excellence teams are small

I think Connie has pretty well nailed it. These three statements are generally true at most companies.  There are a few companies that are exceptions that have fantastic BPM programs because they have overcome this organizational barrier to success.  We take great pride at BP3 that we have been part of building several of these exceptional success stories over the years. But we also worry greatly about how to help our customers be successful given these challenges – and we work hard to build our culture, organization, and technology to overcome all three.

Connie proposes that BPM pushes forward on two fronts in the future.  But I also see a third, based on what I see in the market:  process application development tooling.  In other words, some of the BPM vendors are now positioning themselves as a modern day Visual Basic or 4GL – the application builder for your business team.  The words business process management occupy less and less of their screen real estate on their blogs, websites, and product brochures, but they’re still, at their core, BPM companies. 

Connie’s two paths forward are:

First, as a next-generation business process platform that incorporates new capabilities and modes of working.  In other words: what it has been doing over the last 10 years (co-opting mobile, case, cloud, and other technologies and use cases), but more so.

Second, as a new class of dynamic, collaborative out-of-the-box business applications. And this is something I find particularly interesting.

If you’re coming to Interconnect in a few weeks, you’ll get your first glimpse into how we at BP3 are thinking about Connie’s second front of BPM: business applications in the age of BPM.  It is our goal to advance the state of the art for our customers – and to help them achieve aspirational goals around customer experience, customer satisfaction, and business outcomes.   We now have the size and scale to invest in building great business process applications for our customers.

A hat tip to Connie for providing a simple framework from which to understand how the market might look going forward.  To an extent, if you’re looking for what’s next from BP3, we’ll be playing in all three modes- the evolution of BPM, a new class of process-enabled business applications, and process application development tooling.  In particular, we have the organization, technology, and expertise to help customers overcome the challenges for BPM programs that Connie calls out.