Effektif and the Tom Baeyens BPM Machine

  • March 20, 2013
  • Scott

Tom Baeyens, previously a founding member of jBPM and then Activiti, has now started a new firm, Effektif, which will focus on BPM in the cloud.   Gero Decker of Signavio is involved as well as an investor and partner.

The news release references a few interesting facts:

  •    $1.2M Euros in funding from Signavio
  •    Effektif targets business users directly with a simple approach to process
  •    Focus is on collaboration and process

I talked with Tom about his plans and I’m very interested to see how things develop as he brings this new BPM product to market.  The partnership with Signavio gives Effektif a leg up on UI design for modeling. The focus at first looks to be relatively simple processes, in the category that a BlueworksLive or ACM tool might tackle.  But if I know Tom he has bigger plans down the road.

Sandy Kemsley has already written a nice blog about Effektif:

“The aim of Effektif is to provide a simpler cloud BPM platform than what is currently available, with a lower cost point to reduce the barriers to smaller organizations and non-technical users. It will be completely tooled for the cloud, as simple and streamlined as possible but with more complex functionality available. We talked a lot about that aspect – having a less technical, yet still complete, set of functionality for business people to create their own processes, and more technical perspectives for other personas and uses – and agreed that many existing products don’t do a good job of segmenting into usable layers by complexity or technical ability: typically, there are some required functions that are just too technical for business users, even if the product is billed as such.”

I liked the comparisons to IFTTT and Asana – good benchmarks with companies that don’t market nor see themselves as “BPM” tools.  For the ACM-crowd, I love that Tom is using BPMN engine behind the scenes to deal with ACM functionality:

For less-rigid ACM functionality/flexibility:

  • Allow adding new items to task list on the fly; switch to form editing view
  • Allow deviation from downstream process steps in current instance or all new instances
  • Activity feed shows what is happening, allows social interaction/collaboration
  • Can deactivate flexibility for more rigid steps/processes, but available by default

If done successfully, it will allow nice upward mobility to full-fledged BPMN solutions for those “ACM” processes that deserve promotion to something more formal.

Hosting will likely be in both central Europe and the US, and you can be sure that I reminded them about issues with data stored on US servers, particularly that owned by non-US companies, and how that would be a complete non-starter for most non-US companies.

Although, in North America, you can guess where most of the revenue is likely to come from.  Hopefully Amazon and/or Google will get good cloud servers up in Canada (or maybe they already have).

Bruce Silver, host of bpmNEXT, also chimed in with a quick review:

“Open-source BPM pioneer Tom Baeyens (jBPM, Activiti) today announced the launch of his new company Effektif, aiming to dramatically lower the cost and effort of human-centric process automation.  Unlike jBPM and Activiti, which targeted BPM developers, Effektif looks to empower ordinary end users with a cloud-based BPM tool.”

Again, emphasis on affordability and business users..

This looks to me a bit like the automation piece of IBM’s Blueworks Live – the part you don’t hear that much about – but obviously Effektif has a greater incentive than IBM does to expand its capabilities into the BPM/case mainstream.

Exactly. I think the incentive structure of Effektif might cause them to push the boundaries on this part more than IBM has with Blueworks since rolling out the automation pieces. Once again, innovation in BPM is alive and well! … best of luck to Tom and Gero Decker.  

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