Will New Year Signal BPM Buyer Shift?

Throughout the last few months of 2003 and even shortly after ringing in the New Year, Upside Research was speaking with numerous vendors in the BPM space as well as a number of global organizations currently implementing BPM. Through the conversations, a pattern began to emerge, and it centers on who really cares about BPM in the organization, and who is increasingly taking ownership of BPM projects.
Traditionally, BPM has been an IT-driven sale, involving an enterprise IT Architect who understood the “big picture” and could envision how BPM can do what EAI failed to do: unify disparate business processes running on separate, often isolated systems. Business managers were added to a BPM project for the process design and business flow components, but had less to do with evaluating the features and functions in the solution.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen a subtle shift in the market. Several vendors are starting to see business-unit initiated inquiries into BPM solutions. In addition, business analysts are attending more BPM-related conferences, signaling a trend that business wants more involvement in BPM, and may view BPM as a potential solution to their process-related problems.
Upside Uptake
The shift is subtle, and many deals are still being driven (and will continue to be driven) by IT, but Upside Research believes this is significant because it signals that many of the messages the BPM community has been espousing may be falling on listening ears within the boardroom. For example, corporate governance initiatives such as Sarbanes-Oxley are part of the catalyst behind this intensified interest in BPM by business managers. They have several fairly challenging problems to solve in the short term, and therefore are exploring BPM solutions as a way to fix to their woes.
Upside Research expects this shift to continue through 2004, and urges BPM vendors to solidify their business-benefits messages surrounding their BPM solution. Leading with a strong business message and having all of the requisite feature/function information to provide the decision-makers in IT is a sound strategy for addressing the shifting target audience in BPM.