I arrived at bpmNEXT along with Ivan Kornienko, the night before it started in Santa Barbara.? And it started with dinner with a professional services competitor and a couple of BPM engine developers from Europe.
And that's a pretty good microcosm for the event.? This is one place where you see competitors let their guard down a bit and relate to each other as friends and colleagues in the pursuit of process and decision excellence.
bpmNEXT has always been about what's "next".? The format lends itself to that - a 5 minute Ignite presentation followed by 15-20 minutes of demo, then a few minutes for Q&A.? And in recent years the organizers - Nathaniel Palmer and Bruce Silver - have done a great job of sprinkling in content from leading analysts as well.
This year's conference presented a few themes:
- The absence of Pega and Appian, and no presentation from IBM.? Interestingly, 3 of IBM's partners were represented by presenters at bpmNEXT (I don't believe any Pega or Appian partners presented).
- Although RPA vendors didn't present, their work was represented by other vendors in partnership.
- Open source entrants are feeling confident.? Bonitasoft and Camunda both represented well. Edorasware was a new entrant to the conference, showing off another open source BPM solution.
- Process Mining is alive and well - new entrant Minit showed well.
- SAP and Oracle are finally making the moves they needed to make to have a relevant BPM offering: a reasonably modern process modeling environment and new effort around the BPM Engine.
Underneath the above: Some of the established vendors are starting to OEM the open source engines.? I've wondered why this didn't happen sooner, to be honest. It looks like it is finally happening. SAP shared that they are OEM'ing the Activiti engine for example, and there were rumors about a couple of other interesting OEM conversations.? Like Apache for http servers, these are moves that were overdue, because the engines are becoming commoditized (from a commercial perspective).
Each day started with breakfast on the roof (or in my case, coffee at Handelbar Coffee Roasters), lunch on the roof, and a group happy hour/dinner.? I have bpmNEXT to thank for the lifelong friends I have had the pleasure of meeting here.? This is a good time to say thank you to Nathaniel & Heather Palmer and Bruce Silver, who got this event started and have really fostered and nurtured it.
I'll share more about the event in a series of posts that follow.