The Year of BPM (Part 1)

Although it’s still early, 2004 may well be the year for BPM. Over the past two years we’ve seen the business process management (BPM) market continue to mature, as more and more organizations look for BPM products to automate and manage their business processes. BPM products have evolved into more sophisticated offerings, with broader coverage and increased support for business developers and users. So, as we look to the New Year, what will it bring for BPM?
In this special, two-part Upside Update we’ll take a closer look at some of the key developments in the BPM field that Upside Research predicts you can expect to see in 2004. Our prognostications for BPM will continue in a future newsletter-so stay tuned. To begin, let’s look at the first three BPM developments to watch for 2004:
– Increased focus on business. Even though business is the first word in BPM, current products have not necessarily been business focused. Many products, including “pure-play” BPM products, have remained oriented toward IT developers and/or the IT group. Development, deployment, and management of the more sophisticated products require extensive training, consulting, or IT expertise. And while some products, such as Metastorm’s e-Work, are particularly well-suited for power business users, others remain at the IT/science-project level. Upside Research expects to see this start to change in 2004, as BPM vendors invest in making their products less IT-focused and more business oriented. Expect to see greater business-level development, modeling, and management capabilities, and additional business-oriented interfaces for functionality such as reporting or simulation.
– More modular products. In many cases, BPM products have remained soup-to-nuts solutions, requiring businesses to invest in one company’s BPM architecture and vision. Upside Research believes that 2004 will bring some (but not complete) relief in this area, as product vendors continue to open up their BPM architectures to support standards and 3rd-party tools. Primarily, we’ll see more flexibility in modeling, reporting, business rules, and possibly simulation capabilities, as well as deployment. However, don’t expect to see any flexibility in run-time process engine support-that’s the heart of most BPM solutions’ revenue stream.
– Movement (not agreement) on standards. Upside Research believes that we’ll see further movement in BPM standards, as more vendors roll out support for BPMN and BPEL. As with any early standard, don’t expect standards to work across products-it’s much to early, except in limited cases. In addition, vendors such as Collaxa are starting to offer support for standards such as BPEL, potentially offering ways to avoid BPM vendor lock-in.
The Upside Uptake
In short, 2004 may well be the most successful year for BPM products and solutions. In order for the industry to continue to succeed, 2004 needs to be the year when BPM makes the leap from IT-oriented science project to a proven and deployable solution that can deliver ongoing (this is critical) business benefits. Stay tuned for some additional BPM highlights in the next edition of the Upside Update.