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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Growing BPM Space & Players Therein

Gartner’s Jim Sinur is quite focussed on the BPM industry and here he makes some
insightful observations on the rising BPM industry, industry benefits and the strength of the players therein. The whole interview is a great read –particularly his assessment on where the BPM industry is headed. I particularly liked what he had to say about the BPM players.

IE : To some, the big platform vendors blending SOA and BPM are looking very dominate. Would you agree?

JS: That jumps to the conclusion that scale is going to win, but my conclusion is this is disruptive technology, and if it's big vendors trying to extend their platform only, they may very well miss the boat. Microsoft is going to be late to the game. SAP is going to be late to the game. IBM and Oracle are there, but there is so much demand that other players like Lombardi, Pegasystems, Global 360, Ultimus, Savvion and others are going to pick up a certain amount of the business because the big guys aren't ready.

IE : All sorts of vendors are claiming to support BAM. How do you define it?

JS: If you're driving down the road and you're looking through your rear-view mirror, you have BI. If you're looking through the windshield and anticipating where you have to turn off next and where the holes are in the traffic so you can move around slower traffic, that's BAM. It lets you know what's happening on the road, while you can still make decisions and optimize as you thread your way through the traffic.

Great stuff, I should say. I recently wrote about the rising spectre of BPM and covered the perspective –" parameters distilled from actual operations can be fed back into the process model to begin the next cycle of performance improvement”.

Writing on the fact that best-of-breed players are leading in the BPM space, I wrote,

The BPM space winners are surprisingly not the big players but the best-of-the breed lot. It is time that we begin to recognize the players based on their capabilities and general strengths and not necessarily look at the big players for all types of solutions – Big players need to be grilled a lot more in their ability to provide emerging cutting edge solutions on specific niche areas– while they may be the starting posts for any enterprise procurements – as things evolve it may become the case that they may not be seen near the end posts in evaluation post everytime. Therein may lay the solution for the growth of the enterprise software sector and the ability of business to overall extract better value from IT. Bryan Stolle once wrote there is still much innovation to be done, especially as the market gets more and more vertically focused. With the current moods however many innovative vendors will have to shut their doors before they get the chance to be the next Salesforce.com. Big vendors also need to begin to get measured on new parameters like innovation /innovation absorption, to ensure that they stay along the curve of progress. As I wrote recently I do not see how the large platform players can overake the super special players( there are many of them - some have existed for decades - though a majority of them for just under a decade) or provide justice with specialized smaller companies like rules engines, collaboration systems, content management systems, document management systems, procurement solutions, business intelligence etc. Clearly there shall be several smaller companies that would co-exist as part of the larger enterprise ecosystem. Big vendors may not be the only choice for connecting all the dots in enterprise space(while unarguably they shall hold the central place there) - other specialist/niche players also hold a legitimatley well earned space - the sooner this is understood and get reflected in thoughts and actions - the better it is for the complete enterprise ecosystem - without further straining the already near fatigued corporate buyer sentiments.

Innovation, nichefication and superior value add still has its place in the enterprise software industry.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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