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InfoQ Homepage News Surveys from BPTrends and BEA Reflect on "The State of BPM in 2008"

Surveys from BPTrends and BEA Reflect on "The State of BPM in 2008"

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In the past couple of weeks, two major reports on "The State of BPM in 2008" were published. The first one (54 pages) was based on a survey filled by 274 respondents and published by Paul Harmon and Celia Wolf, Executive Editor and Publisher of The second one (36 pages) was based on analyst reports, articles and a survey of customers and was published by BEA with Sandy Kemsley as a co-author (They both require a free registration to access them).

As a word of caution, BPTrends note:

Because of its extensive roots, and because there are several new approaches included in today’s discussions of BPM, it can be very difficult to develop a clear picture of BPM.

Drivers for adopting a BPM approach

BPTrends reports that the major business factors influencing an organization to focus on business process change include (in decreasing order):

  • Need to save money by reducing costs and/or improving productivity
  • Need to improve management coordination or organizational responsiveness
  • Need to improve customer satisfaction to remain competitive
  • Need to improve existing products, create new products, or enter new lines of business to remain competitive

These results are consistent with their findings in their 2006 survey. It is also consistent with the type of projects underlying a BPM effort:

  • Development of an Enterprise Process Architecture
  • Development of an Enterprise Process Performance Measurement system
  • Coordinating Enterprise Process Change efforts
  • Major Process Redesign projects

BEA's analyst reports found significantly different drivers. They cited that 69% of companies are focusing on revenue growth (and 31% on cost cutting efforts). They also referenced a study by Aberdeen Group where:

over half of the 125 executives surveyed reported that manual intervention was necessary to compensate for missing functionality in their enterprise applications.3 Further, 34% of respondents reported application inflexibility and/or limitations in application development:

BEA's AquaLogic BPM customers responded that their focus was rather on:

  • Automating or accelerating highly manual process
  • Increasing visibility into processes
  • Improving operational excellence
  • Improving control over processes


BPTrends reports that a wide variety of process standards are being used by the respondents. However, BPMN shows the strongest momentum with 41% (from 22% in 2006) and BPEL showing a modest progression with 26 % (from 23% in 2006). XPDL (6%) and the OMG Process Metamodel (7%) are far behind while UML (30%) and CMM/CMMI (28%) remain fairly stable.

The most popular tools to capture business processes remained Visio and PowerPoint.

BPM Suites

The respondents deployed a wide spectrum of BPMS suites with a prominence of the leading SOA infrastructure vendors: IBM (including FileNet), SAP and Oracle. BPTrends note that the market is divided in two categories:

BPMS [...] that [are] primarily used for integration or [... the ones] that [are] better used for managing human-centric or workflow processes.

BEA's survey indicates that when selecting a BPM solution customers consider:

  • Modeling environment ease of use
  • Support for different process types
  • Strength and scalability of engine
  • Pre-built integration to SOA technologies

Link with SOA

BPTrends did not focus on this aspect of BPM even though the survey market data (see above) indicates that leading SOA Infrastructure Software vendors command the larger share of the market.

BEA, referencing an Aberdeen report, sees a clearer link since:

supporting agile business processes is a primary driver behind many SOA projects.

BEA also reports that customers that used SOA+BPM (when compared to BPM alone) greatly improved their ability to:

  • deliver rapid process improvement
  • share, link, reuse processes across departments

BPM Market

BEA's findings indicate that:

The BPM market is one of the fastest growing software markets... [and] is consolidating from nearly 150 vendors recognized in 2006 to just 25 in 2007

They report that Gartner, Forrester and IDC, all see the BPM market in the $5-6 Billion range in 2011, up from a current $1 Billion market.

BPTrends seems to disagree with this assessment:

Some analysts report a billion dollar market and suggest that it will soon be many times that size. This survey suggests something more modest.

However, BPTrends findings indicate that 2008 should be a great year for BPM:

[If] by late 2007, 24% of the respondents indicated they were using the technology [which is fairly stable compared to 23% in 2006], another 25% of the respondents expect their companies will invest in the technology in 2008.

On a similar note, BEA's survey found that 65% of the respondent were planning to start a Business Process Improvement initiative in the next 2 years.

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