Weblogic Authors: Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

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BPM market Growing Rapidly but still Maturing and changing

Why SOA is implemented by more enterprises than BPM
SOA is an Architecture, so an enterprise may use an Architecture or not. 
Many Enterprises without any architecture, begin their SOA initiative, when SOA was only Hype and buzzword. Other Enterprises followed when it matured. Some realized measurable SOA benefits. 
Unfortunately, many of them executed it wrongly, and therefore their SOA benefits were limited or even non-existent. 

Managing Business Processes is not an option it is a must. Therefore Enterprises managed their Processes manually or by usage of code embedded in Systems' Business Logic Layer.

It is difficult to convince them to change their Process Management practices by implementing BPM.
The company's management team may use the slogan: If it is not broken do not fix it.  

The significant value of BPM is not Business Process Automation. It is Business Process Change or Improvement or Flexibility.
In order to change a Business Process, usually you need to automate it before changing it. Therefore BPM benefits are Long Term benefits.

It is more difficult to convince managers to spend resources when the predicted Return on Investment and the predicted benefits are Long Term.

SOA is already a Mainstream architecture, while BPM is still a rapidly growing and evolving market in 2011 and 2012. 
According to Ovum's Research Note, published in December 2011 "BPM is a rapidly growing  market and high double digit revenues growth figures are very common among leading vendors profiled in this report". 

I recommend reading the full report written by Somak Roy and titled:Decision matrix: Selecting a Business Process Management Vendor. 

In this post, I will discuss a limited number of topics appearing in that report.

The Vendors
Ovum view is that there are twelve leading vendors. Ovum divides them to the following categories:

1. Shortlist: Appian, IBM, Oracle and Pegasystems

2. Consider: Tibco,Cordys, Active Endpoints, Newgen, AuraPortal 

3. Explore: SAP, EMC, Bonitasoft

There are new vendors in the list, replacing vendors appearing in previous similar Research Note.  The change of the leaders list could be a sign of limited maturity of the BPM market. 

Case Management  
According to Ovum, Case Management is a major Focus area for most vendors.
It is not surprising. Vendors solutions, as well as BPM implementations, begin with handling automated Processes (SOA Processes). The next phase is adressing Human Processes and finally the less structured Processes, i.e. Case Management Processes, are the focus area.

BPM is not the best fit for SaaS. BPM Engine infrastructure requirements are limited. Usually, BPM implementations invoke Systems and/or Services and the amount of code and data in them is minimal.
The main issue is Business Alignment, which has nothing to do with Cloud Computing
Ovum believes that Cloud Computing will not be the dominant delivery model.

Social Software Concepts
Social is trendy, so it is possible to find Social concepts in most of the BPM products. However, currently they are important mainly in Case Management context.

Open Source
Bonitasoft is the only Open Source vendor included in Ovum list. Intalio, the Open Source BPM traditional leader is not included. According to Ovum, most vendors did not mentioned it as a competitor.
If Ovum's view will be verified by other sources, then the emergence of a new Open Source BPM leader could be an indication of BPM immaturity. 

MY Take

  • The question: Which BPMS Vendors were not included in Ovum's analysis? is as interesting as listing and comparing the twelve vendors included. I was surprised that Software AG was not included. I usually find it among the Leaders in Gartner's Magic Quadrant and in Forrester's BPMS Wave.
I was not surprised at all that Microsoft was not included. Traditionally, Microsft's BPM products are limited. However, Ovum did not include any of Microsoft's major BPMs partners, namely OpenText (acquired Metastorm and Global 360), K2 and Agile Point.

  • Cloud based BPM could be a major deleivery model
I agree with Ovum view that SaaS delivery model is more adequate to CRM or HR applications than to BPM. However, SaaS Delivery model is a natural choice for Enterprises which use the SaaS delivery model for the majority of their systems (SMBs for the following years 5 years). 

  • Not all BPMs products were created equal
Some of the BPMs products included by Ovum and some of the BPMs products not included are Niche products. 
For some use cases they will be better fit than the Leaders or Shortlist vendors in Ovum terminology.

For example, Active Endpoints's ActiveVOS suite is excellent solution for Straight-through Processes
Fujitsu's Interstage could be a good fit for large enterprises especially in the Japanese market.
Even SAP's BPM suite is mostly used in Enterprises deploying SAP's ERP.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Avi Rosenthal

Ari has over 30 years of experience in IT across a wide variety of technology platforms, including application development, technology selection, application and infrastructure strategies, system design, middleware and transaction management technologies and security.

Positions held include CTO for one of the largest software houses in Israel as well as the CTO position for one of the largest ministries of the Israeli government.

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