Do we need to Disrupt BPM?

  • February 7, 2013
  • Scott

Gary Comerford is thoughtful, as usual in his recent post on “BPM Disruption“:

There are certain individuals in the BPM stream who seek to disrupt the status quo. Some of them are blatantly provocative with what they say, others are more subtle and seek to try and influence people. They have made it their mission in life (sometimes as individuals, sometimes as heads of companies) to be deliberately inflammatory in their comments. Usually this is done to provoke a reaction and start a dialogue or a conversation.

I wonder if some of this native disruptive element in BPM circles is related to the fact that BPM practitioners are often in the business of disrupting within large companies, within customers. Winning people over to the promise of BPM and process improvement. Or, management by process, as some prefer.

But the kind of disruption I’m interested in isn’t the verbal kind, or the blogging kind, but the market-changing kind.  The rise of cloud computing and mobile devices has given vendors in myriad enterprise software categories an opportunity to disrupt the status quo.  Those who got behind BPMN early were able to disrupt many of the existing BPM vendors who favored BPEL or XPDL.  Open source software vendors seek to disrupt with pricing (free!) while others seek to disrupt with a different approach to creating business value  (ACM).

Proof of disruption is in the markets, not in blogs.  Blogs are like breadcrumbs, but public markets are where disruption is felt.  Just about every company in the space is looking for its own little piece of the disruption pie.  And that’s good news for the Fortune 1000 or Global 1000 companies looking to manage by process.



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  • theo_redux

    Small vendors are like breadcrumbs, large vendors have hoovers and they are quite happy to remove the trail that leads to market changing innovation and leaner, faster alternatives in favour of their clumsy bloatware.

    Disruption doesn’t always come from market forces, it can come from the client wanting something different. And we’re around to tell them. Blogs are an essential part of the market ecosystem.

    Anyway, you know how boring this industry would be without me 😉

    • well that’s another perspective 🙂

      what is “the client wanting something different” other than a market force 🙂
      I don’t give us bloggers too much credit – we can blog about all kinds of stuff- it is up to customers to separate wheat from chaff, breadcrumbs from dust and dirt.

      disruption is usually happening around a confluence of things – new entrant, new environment conditions (that the big vendor hasn’t fully come to grips with), and sometimes new tech or a tech reaches critical mass at just the right time.

  • theo_redux

    How timely, a tweet from Aaron Levie: Often it’s not the conclusion that sets the disruptor and disrupted apart, but the speed at which they act on it.

    • Very true- and the other distinction, between similar startups and the one that disrupts – the level of execution they bring to that action and speed…