Business Process Management (BPM) Software Evaluation – Looking beyond the conventional Vendors
Business Process Management (BPM) is a well-established product category. Gartner and Forrester have been covering this space for close to ten years, which is a testimony of the maturity and adoption of BPM software platforms in Enterprises.
Although there are several new-age BPM software platforms which have gained popularity in the past five years, majority of the market-share is still enjoyed by the more established, older vendors. This does not mean the newer players do not have the capability or scale. It just means they have not been able to break-through the legacy created by their older counterparts.
If we dig deeper on the reasons for such a trend, there are three things which stand out:
Enterprises want to play Safe
Most Business and IT Leaders want to play safe while selecting their BPM Software vendor. The perception is “If I select the industry leader, I cannot go wrong”. The basis of such assumption is flawed, because what has worked for others may not necessarily work for you. This also happens to be the primary reason why a substantial number of BPM projects fail.
I have personally seen millions of dollars in technology investment written-off because of wrong selection of technology based on reputation over capability.
BIG = SCALE
Another inaccurate assumption is “Bigger the size of the vendor, more scalable is their product”. This may not necessarily be true, as most older & conventional vendors have an aging product line. These products were built several years ago and within the confines of technology available then.
On the other hand, the newer niche players have no such baggage. They leverage the latest in technology which enables them to offer enterprise scalability within a light-weight technology framework.
Big BPM Software Vendors have Marketing Dollars to Spend
Given their industry position and revenue stream, the traditional, older BPM software vendors can burn millions in marketing dollars. The newer, more agile players don’t have this luxury as they rather focus on product development than marketing spends.
So, why should you look beyond the traditional industry leaders?
Architecture, Features, and Capabilities over Reputation
Modern BPM vendors have an inherent late mover advantage as the learning curve is relatively minimal. Leveraging modern technology with a lightweight product architecture, these platforms are rich on features and capability.
Furthermore, they have been designed keeping in mind requirements of modern day technology i.e. IoT, Cloud, Mobile, Social, etc.
Commitment & People
Newer entrants like iLeap are more committed to their customer’s cause. Unlike other conventional players, they have a lot riding on each and every project they take up. This works out well for the vendor as well as the customer. The customer gets uninterrupted access to best in technology & resources; while the vendor gets to claim success from its customer’s success.
Given their market presence and references, the older vendors demand a huge premium for their product and offerings. This can eat into your annual budget and in some cases, can be a non-starter if you are looking to roll it out across the enterprise.
On the other hand, the newer, nimble vendors have a more innovative and aggressive pricing and revenue model. This minimizes the impact on budgets, as well as the cost of failure, incase things don’t pan out they way you would have anticipated.
The Bottom Line
Modern BPM software vendors definitely give you something to think about when you are evaluating a BPM software product for your Enterprise. The best way to validate this fact is to ask for a customized Proof of Concept (POC) for your project. This way you would have tested the capability of the product, the commitment of the vendor and total cost of ownership for the project/ program under discussion.