MWD on BPM in 2011

Post by
Scott Francis

I'm a fan of MWD and their coverage of BPM and related topics.? They have a bit of edge to their analysis, and aren't afraid to go out on a limb.

So it was with great interest that I clicked on the link to read the 2011 outlook for BPM.? Right off the bat, MWD notes that the BPM value proposition is holding strong even as the economy improves (something, I'll note, that we at BP3 predicted in early 2010).? MWD reminds us of four value propositions from BPM:

BPM has four ways it can add value: driving operational efficiency and quality; driving product and service innovation; driving business model innovation; and lastly, driving improved collaboration between IT and business teams.

Typically everyone gets stuck on the first two.? Or, we dismiss the last one as not a value proposition in and of itself, but a constraint that needs to be addressed in order to achieve the value of BPM.

The one prediction MWD makes that I disagree with: the decline of the BPM Suite.? While the arguments MWD makes in this regard make sense and hold together, the force for consolidating SKUs among large software vendors is just too strong.? The labeling (BPM Suite) may change, and the specific components may change (perhaps BI, reporting, etc. will be split out... while rules and the like might be more explicitly included - we'll find out!).? And bundling vertically in the stack (for example, including the application server with the BPM product) will likely continue.

I found MWD's take on ACM interesting:

Adaptive case management (ACM) ? Most importantly, perhaps, a group of vendors has spent significant marketing money and effort through 2010 attempting to "break away" from the BPM technology market segment, at least in part as a response to the impact in the market of activity from software platform vendors like IBM, Oracle and TIBCO.

That aligns with what I felt was going on with the ACM movement over the last year - more marketing and positioning than substantive differentiation.? Although, one can hardly blame them for trying to change the terms of debate, and the terms of product selection.? If you can create a new market segment you have a chance to be evaluated by every company in that segment. If you're competing for the same market segment, many customers have already bought "one of those" and may not want to buy another one.

MWD also turns their attention to consultants and integrators, noting that their market momentum is increasing.? As MWD notes:? "Until a couple of years ago, almost all the activity from systems integrators and consultants associated with BPM practice was carried out by small, local specialist firms rather than the big players."? MWD sees the big players finally getting serious about BPM practices - and he's right.? But it is still the case that the most capable firms are these small, local, specialist firms - some might even say boutique(!) firms.? (As an example in the IBM Lombardi niche, I believe BP3 represents both the biggest and the most experienced firm for Lombardi BPM deployment.? We would definitely be considered a smaller firm, despite our ability to cover the US geography.)

Read the report - and get used to reading MWD's analysis - it is among the best out there, and they often put out free or registration-only reports that can help keep you informed.

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