The bpmNEXT conference is a gathering of all the most innovative vendors in BPM every year. This is its third year of operation, where vendors give a short presentation and then dive into a 15 minute demonstration.? The demos are meant to be cutting edge - if not for the industry, for the vendor:? the new stuff.
Clay Richardson from Forrester Research put it in a nutshell: ?bpmNEXT means ?Show me yours, I?ll show you mine'?.
And mostly, over three years, the vendors have done just that.? Shown off what they're working on, in exchange for seeing what everyone else is up to.? And of course we've collectively had our demo fails, our great successes, and everything inbetween. Live demos are like that.? This conference is one of the few where your audience definitely knows enough to challenge your statements, conclusions, and demos, and has opportunity to do so.? It takes courage to show early-stage product to people who are well equipped to point out weaknesses.? But it also reinforces a shared culture of moving the BPM ecosystem forward together. This year a few interesting stats:
- 3 analysts presented
- 2 "future of BPM" presentations
- 1 "business of BPM" presentation / panel
- 19 demos, of which:
- 3 by services vendors
- 16 by software vendors, which included:
- 3 big enterprise vendors: SAP, Oracle, IBM
- 2 open source vendors: Camunda and Bonitasoft
- 2 capture-focused use cases: Kofax and IBM Case Management
- 3 Rules focused: Sapiens, Process Analytica, IBM Watson (sort of)
- 5 Unstructured/Case Management: Camunda, Safira, IBM, Fujitsu, Cryo Technologies
- 2 specific solution cases: SAP and Fujitsu
- 2 Internet of Things: SAP, W4
And yet there are a couple of vendors who abstained; ironically they're in the leaders' quadrant, according to Gartner.? And ironically, it was a comment on Twitter from Malcolm Ross of Appian that shined a light on something else that was interesting: who was presenting at bpmNEXT, and who was not.? Only one vendor has attended all three years, but failed to submit a presentation proposal over the last three years - Appian.? Pega topped them by failing to even attend over the last 3 years.
But not just that, Malcolm's comment drew attention to the fact that there also weren't any Appian or Pega partners presenting demos on top of their platforms.
Well, and who was showing at bpmNEXT?
- IBM had two presentations (Mike Marin and Ian Story, showing off mobile case management and capture; and Chris Vavra, showing off Watson in a BPM context)
- IBM partners had two (BP3 and Safira). In fact, BP3 had another presentation submitted that didn't fit the agenda, leveraging Brazos Portal and Brazos UI.? So it could have easily been three presentations by IBM partners.
- Only three services-first firms presented (Trisotech,? BP3, and Safira), but interestingly, all three were demonstrating products, rather than single-customer-solutions. Trisotech, like BP3, writes solutions that tie into multiple BPM products.
This ties back to the discussion on our blog of the Gartner analysis of the BPM space, and their assessment of ability to execute, which completely fails to take into account the partner ecosystems around these companies.? And right there at bpmNEXT we were seeing one of the consequences: IBM was the only leader quadrant participant, and the only leader quadrant member with partners presenting as well. Of course, Gartner has also failed to attend this event over the last three years (we did, however, have attendance from Forrester and MWD Advisors).
I think the participation of vendors and their partners just reflects the culture of the companies that participate and the ecosystems that they foster.? The self-assurance to get up on stage and share, the confidence in what you're doing in the market to share your ideas, the confidence in your ability to execute, and the belief that BPM isn't a zero-sum-game - that there are ways for all of us to grow the practice and success of BPM.
Incidentally, that self-confidence is why, at BP3, we have our own partner program for Brazos.? We understand that working with partners is a path to greater shared success for all of us.