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InfoQ Homepage News Is BPM-as-a-Service Giving a new Chance to BPM?

Is BPM-as-a-Service Giving a new Chance to BPM?

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Rashid Khan, former CEO of Ultimus, noted this week that the BPM market did not live up to its expectations, as some BPM startups claimed in 2000 they would be one day as big as Oracle dominating the BPMS market:

Even if I take a conservative forecast and assume that the market was $1 billion in 1998 and growing at 15% per annum, it should be at least $4 billion today. But the most recent forecast continue to put it in the $2 billion range.

$2 Billion for a 10 year old IT technology is by all measures puny when you consider how many business process improvement initiatives are under way in G2000 companies.

2008 has seen the emergence of a new kind of BPM engines delivering BPM-as-a-Service. Sandy Kemsley summarized a Gartner session on the topic last February where Ben Pring expressed that :

It is useful to consider, however, some of the reasons why companies are moving to SaaS, since these are true for BPM as it becomes available in a SaaS environment:

  • Too much software and hardware that is purchased but never used.
  • The high cost of software implementation, particularly the cost of services required.
  • The hidden costs of IT that drive up the effective cost of on-premise systems.
  • The emergence of new technologies that enable SaaS, such as grid computing.

SaaS is almost always used to reduce costs, both the up-front costs of the systems themselves and the infrastructure required to support them.

 Last, Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer at TechTarget, reported that:

veteran BPM player Pegasystems Inc. is proposing a twist on the SaaS model it believes corporate customers will find more palatable...BPM Platform as a Service (PaaS) that essentially turns corporate IT departments into their own BPM Software as a Service providers. The on-premise hosted model offers two boons in one, boasts Pegasystems, providing the efficiency of a SaaS offering without the anxieties of sending proprietary business information off into the "cloud."

This announcement is the fourth of its kind this year after Fujitsu, Appian and

In a recent blog post commenting on an article from two IBM architects on BPM 2.0, RunMyProcess CEO, Matthieu Hug, noted that:

The feature of BPM 2.0 [include]

  • Rich user experience
  • Process tagging
  • Lightweight integration model
  • BPMN and BPEL
  • Zero code
  • Dynamic process optimization
  • Business performance optimization
  • Industry flavour in BPM

we do think the authors have forgotten a couple of items on their BPM 2.0 list:

  • The Form Factor of process engines.
  • Ubiquity

[BPM-as-a-Service] changes dramatically the form factor of traditional Business Process Engines. You no longer need a large budget to get started, you no longer need to take risk in deploying a large and unfamiliar piece of infrastructure in your organization in several environments (development, test, production…). We have done all of that for you already.

That's certainly in line with Rashid's conclusion on what's needed to move forward:

To realize its true potential, BPM has to become as easy as the browser or the word processor to deploy and to use. That is because it has to be used by a very large number of users. So the challenge is for the vendors to constantly focus on making it easier intrinsically, not by dumbing it down.

Would you considering BPM-as-a-Service to simplify and lower the cost of deploying a Business Process Platform? Do you see some BPM-as-a-Service complementing some of the more data-centric SaaS offerings available today? Will Web 2.0 technologies contribute to the growth of BPM?

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