Sandy Kemsley on the Tibco ActiveMatrix BPM Update

Scott Francis
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Sandy Kemsley recently attended Tibco’s user conference and covered some of the updates to the BPM portfolio while there:

He next gave us a statement of direction on the product lines, including more self-service assessment, proof of concept and purchasing of products for faster selection and deployment. By the end of 2016, expect to see a new cloud-based business process execution and application development product from TIBCO, which will not be just a cloud layer on their existing products, but a new technology stack. It will be targeted at departmental self-service, with good enough functionality at a reasonable price point to get people started in BPM, and part of TIBCO’s overall multi-tenant cloud ecosystem. The application composition environment will be case-centric, although will allow processes to be defined with a simplified BPMN modeling syntax, all in a browser environment. There will be bundled applications that can be cloned and modified.

The key phrase I pulled out in this paragraph is this one (emphasis added): “By the end of 2016, expect to see a new cloud-based business process execution and application development product from TIBCO, which will not be just a cloud layer on their existing products, but a new technology stack”

Technologists often love to tell the market two things:

  1. We’re rewriting the engine (product) from the ground up  (the original Active Matrix BPM sales pitch)
  2. We’re using a new (better) technology stack (the current pitch for going to the Cloud)

This is hardly unique to Tibco, so forgive me for picking on them, somewhat.  What consultants and customers and executives hear is: 

  1. All dates committed should be given high degree of skepticism
  2. The code is really immature
  3. My existing investment in this technology is now at risk

I know from talking to software vendors that they disagree. They think that customers work with them because they are cutting edge, or because they are innovating and developing amazing new technologies. They also think that it is important for them to talk about their inside baseball. 

That may all be true.  But customers and partners are also working with software vendors for stability, judgment, and wisdom in technology investments.  Statements about rewriting or replacing technology stacks are not reassuring to customers and partners and it isn’t what we want to hear.  What we want to hear is that you’ve already made the investment to make the transition seamless – if not invisible.

We wouldn’t be us if we didn’t eat our own dog food in this respect. At BP3, we’ve navigated every version of IBM BPM from version 8.0.1 to 8.5.7, and 4 different UI framework standards and kept our Brazos Platform up to date and in the lead in every single release.  And we did that without abandoning customers – we brought them through every zig and zag over 4 years – always forward compatible, always bringing the old work up to the current state.

In our view that is just part of the customer focus, and the craftsmanship, behind a good software practice.