Is the Shakeup Continuing?

  • December 18, 2009
  • Scott

There’s been a lot of coverage of what it means for IBM to buy Lombardi.  Jaisundar proposed that this would upset the balance of power and cause more acquisitions… But perhaps the side effect he (and others) didn’t foresee was the positioning of the remaining BPM vendors (pureplay or otherwise) for the benefit of their suitors.

First we have Appian’s CEO posting here.  I don’t blame him for putting a stake in the ground that Appian is going to win, and positioning that the only two vendors left that matter are Appian and Pega.  Savvion might disagree, as would a few others, but nevermind.  He states that they’re the only ones strong enough to survive (by which, I would suppose he means financial strength, but he leaves that as an exercise for the reader’s imagination.  I don’t blame him for slagging IBM as killing innovation – in any acquisition like this, that is a very real possibility, and will determine whether this is a successful buy or not (at least, for folks who don’t work for IBM).  But methinks he doth protest too much, and may be trying to make sure that potential suitors remember that Appian still exists in case they want to get in the game by buying something.

Next, we have ActionBase, one of my favorite non-traditional BPM offerings.  In a previous post Jacob Ukelson made the argument that Sharepoint should be a better BPM tool than it is.  Now he argues that Sharepoint + Actionbase is that BPM dream team:  unstructured content + unstructured process… If that isn’t a pitch for Microsoft buying a nice Sharepoint add-on I don’t know what is.  Analysts are frothy thinking about how Microsoft or SAP might want to counter IBM’s move, and this is one option.

I’m not sure that unstructured process + unstructured data is the dream of every IT shop, but it is certainly a combination prevalent in many processes and organizations.  And of course those two offerings could work well together.

So it looks like everyone is putting on their finest Holiday Sweaters and looking to make a good impression for their potential sweethearts.  It’ll be interesting to see if there really is a wave of acquisitions or if this is it.

Its the creative destruction process of capitalism at work.  I just hope BPM doesn’t get lost in the woods in the process.

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