Thoughts on the Forrester Wave for BPM

  • December 30, 2015
  • Scott

Back in November the Forrester Wave came out.  You can find it in various interesting places if you’re willing to pay with your registration info! The high level picture doesn’t change much of the thinking in the market, currently, putting IBM, Pega, and Appian in the coveted Leaders wave. 

Certain details, as usual, are off on these things.  Market presence doesn’t have enough variance, for example, to show that IBM’s market share is 2x Pega’s, and probably 4x Appian’s.  And it doesn’t show what that market presence looks like globally versus in the US (Pega and IBM would show bigger compared to some of the other vendors, relatively speaking). 

Perhaps more interesting than looking at the Three Vendors that Matter, is looking at the Contenders wave… Tibco and Red Hat are down there.  Tibco, still struggling after major technology shifts in their BPM approach, were once the 800lb gorilla in BPM when they bought Staffware more than 10 years ago.  Red Hat, once the proud shepherd of jBPM seems to have lost its way entirely since that team vacated for other open source projects. 

If it were my chart, I likely would have downgraded OpenText to Contenders as well, as their buy-and-hope strategy hasn’t seemed to yield much in the way of market penetration. 

If I could suggest an interesting addition to these waves it would be to add a directional arrow from the previous – showing a velocity or rate of change if you will. And then asking the analyst firms to justify the change, not just the current value, but what has really changed to justify the change in position on the chart? If the product hasn’t gotten worse, what are the market conditions that lead to a change in the positioning? If it has gotten better but the position is worse, what is the context?



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