With many enterprises looking to business process management for cost savings, the publication of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for BPM solutions will enable enterprises to assess the good, bad and indifferent in a market brimming with talent.
The report looks at 25 vendors that offer multi-regional, cross-industry BPMs that, at this moment, account for most of the spending. Gartner (news, site) suggests that enterprises looking for industry-specific processes, or for a particular geography, should also take a look at the list of those that did not make the Magic Quadrant but are still well-placed vendors.
To be included in the BPM MQ, vendors were judged on four basic usage scenarios. Those scenarios include:
- A continuous process improvement program
- Implementation of industry-specific or enterprise-specific process software
- Support for business transformation initiatives
- Support for process-based SOA redesign
Model Driven Processes
Pure-play BPM vendors have long histories of model-driven process execution, as opposed to code-based execution, which Gartner believes is the best way for changing processes collaboratively in this volatile environment.
Think Agile BPM, with many of the vendors offering that kind of functionality already. Most of the big middleware and application infrastructure vendors recognize the importance of this shift to user empowerment which in turn improves their products.
BPM in 2010
So what’s happening in the BPM market? Gartner has identified three principal trends:
- The deployment of BPMS as enterprise programs rather than solutions to be applied to once–off projects, something Gartner says it first noted in 2008, and which has continued since. The financial services industry has been the leader in BPM adoption with many larger institutions pulling all their major projects into a more coordinated BPM program.
- An increase in the number of buyers who are investing to support continued business process improvement and drive business transformation. Leaving aside a few highs and lows brought on by financial difficulties in 2008, since late summer 2009, the number of organizations pursuing continuous process improvement or business transformation initiatives based on BPM has climbed back to five or six out of every ten.
- While some vendors have developed from pure-play backgrounds and continue to be leaders in the market, increasingly large middleware and software infrastructure vendors have greatly expanded their market presence.
Magic Quadrant BPM Leaders
BPM Leaders are vendors that cover all of the four bases in the usage scenarios already mentioned. They are vendors whose products and services focus on business process analysts working alongside process owners to improve and transform processes.
There were nine vendors that made it into the leader’s quadrant this time out. In alphabetical order they include:
- Strengths: Comes with a highly appealing, visually rich integration of documents, rich internet applications and unstructured content in the context of a business process with rule-based customized security and personalisation. Its differentiation is to provide process management capabilities with a rich, interactive user experience.
- Cautions: Although it has strengthened its focus on its enterprise business and on the LiveCycle product family, market awareness is still low.
Product: Appian Enterprise v6.1
- Strengths: A user friendly product providing a thin-client architecture for both design and runtime. It comes as a highly integrated environment, providing seamless user experience. Appian also has a complete BPM SaaS offering: Appian Anywhere.
- Cautions: Because of its aggressive growth strategy that has resulted in a 67% increase, user support may be limited in some locations.
- Strengths: Its persona-based approach has resulted in a very easy user experience. To date, it has delivered many different viewpoints, for example, analystView, which unifies SharePoint and Visio for modeling and analysis. Different frameworks and templates for different viewpoints offer productivity boosts for developing user interactions.
- Cautions: The underlying technologies are not completely uniform with some non-standard, legacy or unique to Global 360. The result is that users may find that certain modules provide a less-optimal BPM experience than others. Its plans to unify and continue to advance the technologies also require customers to keep up with interim steps to gain the benefits.
- Strengths: IBM WebSphere Lombardi Edition is easy for business analysts to use. It is well suited for the development of processes and continuous process improvement programs where empowering business roles and business analysts are key. This is the result of Lombardi’s keen insights into the functions needed by all roles.
- Cautions: Its support for case management processes is not as strong as some of its competitors and does not offer multitenant SaaS, which some independent software vendors may need for highly scalable cloud services, or want for private cloud services.
Product: Metastorm BPM v.9
- Strengths: Ease of use for nontechnical and technical roles is strong. Version 9 has many productivity improvements, including visual scripting, prebuilt UI components and a multi-language processing engine. It also offers strong support for the entire life cycle of process improvement.
- Caution: Some have reported higher-than-expected prices outside North America. Version 9 had a significant redesign of core components, including the underlying runtime engine. Existing customers will need to use Metastorm-provided migration tools.
- Strengths: An integrated and agile BPMS serving as a process platform for Oracle applications. It has the ability to leverage newly integrated capabilities that include complex events, business rules and optimization capabilities. It also delivers the 11g platform in a SaaS model and is BPMN-2.0-compliant.
- Cautions: Gartner says that Oracle is starting its effort to create a business-friendly development and execution experience, so it will require work over time. It also says that it looks like the UI is still in execution mode. The transition from Oracle BPM Suite 10gR3 to 11g is a major product revision, which will involve the transfer of some solution assets.
- Strengths: Pegasystem’s primary strength remains its unified object architecture which structures all process artefacts, including processes, policies and UIs. This improves the ability of the BPMS to change and adapt to new business needs.
- Caution: Pegasystems' customers and its BPM expertise are largely in financial services industries with recent expansion into healthcare. Gartner says that its growth as a company will slow unless it begins to diversify geographically and industry-wise.
- Strengths: An open, clean, well-documented architecture for enterprise-class process solutions with high scalability. The architecture makes it easy to integrate with software infrastructures and application development tools.
- Cautions: The overall user experience of BusinessManager is not as model-oriented as other pure-play products. Particularly in enterprise solution projects, users report the need to exploit API's in the architecture to achieve desired results. Gartner expects prices to rise, and flexibility in contractual terms and conditions to decline, due to Savvion's transition from a private company to a public one.
Product: webMethods 8
- Strengths: A strong public company with a growing number of products and services its acquisition of IDS Scheer in 2009 added considerably to its portfolio. Users can get a BPMS, enterprise service bus and SAO registry/repository from the same vendor knowing that their BPMS is integrated with other SAO technologies.
- Cautions: Authoring environment for process modelling, rule modelling and UI is based on Eclipse and appropriate for IT professional, but not as business-role-friendly as other BPM products. UI design remains a technical responsibility, due to the Eclipse-based designer, rather than enabling business analysts to collaborate with business roles to create UIs.
The above listed are only the leaders, and there are many more vendors that are listed in other quadrants, which Gartner advises prospective BPM user’s to research. If you want to find our more you can access the report here.