Appian Exec Sees Opportunity in “Fragmenting” BPM Market

The recent wave of BPM acquisitions is setting the stage for a new dynamic for how to discuss and define BPM / SOA projects.  An executive at one still-independent BPM firm, Appian, says in 2010 BPM is “fragmenting” into two distinct segments, and that there’s plenty of room and opportunity for both to meet customer needs.   

Tags: BPM, business process management, SOA, Appian, cloud,

samirgulati_01The recent wave of BPM acquisitions is setting the stage for a new dynamic for how to discuss and define BPM / SOA projects.  An executive at one still-independent BPM firm, Appian, says in 2010 BPM is “fragmenting” into two distinct segments, and that there’s plenty of room and opportunity for both to meet customer needs.   
 
“BPM now has two basic types of solutions, ‘stack vendors’ and ‘specialists’ BPM firms,”  Appian’s vice president of marketing Samir Gulati  told Integration Developer News.  Gulati describes the two sectors as follows:

  • Stack vendors, Gulati described these large enterprise software firms making headlines with their acquisitions of BPM firm, including IBM, Oracle, Software AG and Progress Software. Notably, these firms are also the top players in SOA enterprise architecture, he added.

    “Stack vendors come at BPM largely from the IT side, and make a case that tying BPM with SOA will help with integration and sharing, “Gulati said. “In our view, these benefits may require more time commitment than business users can get from their IT departments.” 
  • "Specialists," on the other hand, Gulati said, are BPM firms that avoid a significant IT involvement. Among the specialists, Gulati includes his own firm.  [For more on Appian BPM Suite.]

    “Specialists avoid the need for technology investment or expertise,”  Gulati said, adding that  specialists especially avoid the need to use of developer centric tools.  


An Appian Customer Study:
From Design to Go-Live in 20 Days
A recent Appian customer win demonstrates the dynamic between a blended BPM / SOA approach, and one that pays more attention to immediate business drivers. 

Appian was recently chosen by Pinnacle People, a major contractor to one of Great Britain’s largest jobs programs to help it deliver more effective re-employment programs – and get the unemployed back to work faster.   The entire project went from draft specifications to go-live in 20 days.

Managers at U.K.’s Department of Works and Pensions’ JobCentre Plus program, wanted a BPM solution to provide workers better access to more timely information, and thereby allow for smooth and more accurate workflow and sharing. They also needed to avoid a BPM solution that might require a lot of IT involvement. 

Pinnacle’s Head of Finance and Infrastructure Matt Brook included on his RFP’s ‘must have’ list: Case management; Support for BI (business intelligence); Document management – and all with what he called “intuitive user interface.”


Under Pinnacle’s contract awarded to Appian, the BPM solution will:

  • Provide employment-focused training programs for 4,000 people a month,
  • Support decision-making to help speed  effective placement of people into the workforce. 
  • Provide analytics on program success rates at critical decision points in real time
  • Drive decisions to improve customer service and candidate placements .

“Our work [with Pinnacle] shows the power that specialist BPM firms can provide to companies looking for precise solutions to business issues, and who don’t have a large IT staff or budget,” Gulati said.

The BPM Cloud – A Great Equalizer?
For all the competitive pressures that may be building between the stack vendors and the specialists, Gulati said that cloud computing options applied to BPM (for internal use and SaaS) may prove to be “a great equalizer.”

In specific, cloud-based BPM options have the ability to make stack vendors less dependent on internal IT resources, while enabling specialists to more readily adopt many core BPM / SOA architecture approaches, including reuse, scalability, quicker multi-instance deployments and end-to-end integrations. 

“Cloud is most exciting,” Gulati told IDN, “and it has provided Appian some very compelling opportunities.” And, while Gulati is excited because cloud lets customers avoid complicated on-premise installs.  He’s excited because the cloud is allowing Appian to “support a rich business process network for some very large and important customers.” 

Appian is supporting Cisco and Ricoh cloud-based with process and workflow capabilities. .

For more on Appian BPM Suite see IDN’s earlier article Appian-6-BPM-Suite-Drives-Process-Acceleration




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