BPM is Doing Just Fine, Thankyou

  • April 12, 2010
  • Scott

There’s been a lot of gnashing of teeth about the state of BPM vendors, and the BPM segment, ever since IBM announced its acquisition of Lombardi (and followed quickly by Progress’ acquisition of Savvion).  Even before then, there was much discussion over whether BPM really was a bright spot in the enterprise software space – could it really be growing when everyone else was struggling to tread water?

And since these acquisitions, the attention has often turned to case management (or, the nom du jour, “Adaptive” Case Management), and some have argued that “BPM” as imagined by advocates of BPMN is in trouble.   Of course, as with many things, one way to measure “success” is by whether the businesses advocating a particular approach are doing well – and doing well is typically defined as increasing revenue (and/or profit).  Ironically, if such a firm makes money, critics will say this only proves that the firms are good at making money, not that the software or approach to BPM is adding value for customers.  But we have to accept that in the long run, averaged over *many* decisions, the market assesses value by assigning dollars (or euros, etc.) to the products that are perceived to add value, and starving the products that don’t add value by not making purchasing decisions.

Dennis Byron says the big enterprise software firms are well-positioned to take advantage of the BPM “explosion.”  Meanwhile the independents don’t appear to be suffering.  The latest report from MWD summarizes results from Appian and Active Endpoints, two vendors who wholeheartedly support BPMN (Appian with a SaaS model, and Active Endpoints with a BPMN-up-front and BPEL-in-the-back approach).

Key data points:

Appian highlighted the growth of customer orders by 58% from Q4 2009 to Q1 2010 (and this isn’t a seasonal thing with Appian; in 2008 its Q4 was its largest quarter). Active Endpoints highlighted revenue from new customers: it tripled in Q1 2010 over the same quarter in 2009 – contributing to an overall doubling in revenue against the same period a year earlier.

Bigger firms like Pega are doing just fine as well, according to their quarterly reports.  So this is a good indicator of increasing demand for BPM software.  The increased demand for BPM skills, education, and even consulting is sure to follow.  It is an exciting time to be in the BPM market. Congratulations to these firms for having good Q1 results.

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