BP3's View on Market Trends for BPM, Heading into Impact
Scott Francis 2700034T3P email@example.com | | Tags:  ibmimpact trends cloud mobile business bpm technology
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Why Think about BPM Market Trends Now?
Every year, sandwiched between the New Year and Impact, there’s a great opportunity to both reflect on the last year’s progress and to project what it is all leading up to in the near future. This year I was asked to write about market trends in BPM, which is something - as the owner of a top BPM services firm, BP3 - that I spend a lot of time thinking about. Moreover, we’re fully invested in IBM Impact as a venue for getting our message out: we’re a Silver sponsor with a booth (#406), we’re involved in 3 sessions, and we’re putting our money where our mouth is - investing in the very areas that we think are trending.
With that said, let’s start with technology trends…
Technology Trends in BPM: Cloud, Mobile, Responsive UI
First, a trend that has been developing for years, but below the radar at Impact, has been a trend toward deploying BPM in the cloud. BP3 has been offering IBM BPM in the cloud since 2011, with slow incremental progress each year. But this year, with the purchase of SoftLayer, BPM in the cloud is going to accelerate in a meaningful way. SoftLayer offers meaningful competition to Amazon Web Services and the integration with the IBM stack makes this a no-brainer for IBM BPM deployments. In fact, late last year, BP3’s BP Labs group led the effort to deploy the very first production deployment of IBM BPM on SoftLayer at a mutual customer. I believe it will be the first of many.
Second, Mobile BPM will continue to grow as a percentage of overall BPM deployments. Increasingly, customers want to have access to process workflows while on the go, on their phones, tablets, and laptops. While Worklight and IBM BPM have separately offered good solutions for Mobile and for BPM user interfaces, BP3 has invested in a responsive UI toolkit, Brazos, to get the most out of both products- producing world-class mobile user interfaces in IBM BPM, that operate seamlessly within Worklight. We’ll have a demonstration of the same at our booth at Impact.
Third, the trend within the trend, if you will, is for an ever increasing share of mobile development to be focused on Responsive HTML rather than native apps, for enterprise deployment. This trend has been contrary to my early opinions on the subject - I was an early proponent of native apps for mobile BPM - but this position didn’t take into account how difficult it can be to get mobile apps approved by customers’ mobile development gate keepers. The solution for the last 18 months has been to focus on Responsive HTML solutions that can plug into any mobile app strategy being pursued. Mobile ready, and mobile compliant.
Finally, we’re seeing our clients adopt responsive UI toolkits like Brazos even if they have no intention of going mobile with the UI - because the UI’s just look like what their users want- they feel modern and slick, and remind them of the kinds of consumer sites and software they’re used to experiencing on their smart phones.
To learn more about our take and approach to the major technical trends in the BPM market, come by our booth #406 on the Solution Expo floor, or join our Birds of a Feather workshop, where will demonstrate live how to build a beautiful mobile UI for IBM BPM and Worklight using Brazos, which is scheduled during lunch (boxed lunch provided): Tue Apr 29 ( 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m., session SPP-3322). We’re also involved in a session about building coach views with IBM and several other partners, exact time and location is TBD.
Technology isn’t the only area to watch for BPM trends, however. The B in BPM stands for Business, and we see a few interesting trends shaking out that we’d be remiss to ignore.
Business Trends in BPM: The B is for Business!
While cost-reduction and ROI-focused projects are still prevalent in BPM circles, the focus is shifting as the economic recovery persists. We have seen an increasing focus on BPM projects that are anticipated to improve the top-line numbers, or to support fast-growing elements of a business that need more process support in order to manage the chaos of a growing business.
This manifests in a few ways. New modes of business - processes that attack the edges of an organization - going where process has never gone before - are increasingly common. These processes look to put software on phones and tablets in field sales’ and field engineers’ pockets. But the point isn’t to decrease cost, by replacing a laptop per sales rep with an iPad per sales rep. The purpose is to improve the customer experience, or increase customer engagement, by producing processes and interactions that they can touch and see, and by enabling teams in the field to react more quickly to customer feedback.
I met with our property management company to discuss a build-out for BP3’s new offices (we’re doubling our office space in Austin next month), and while a few people came to the meeting with paper to mark up, the property manager came with his iPad and drawings on his iPad that he could review and zoom in/out, showing different layers of architectural renderings as well. The future of customer interactions and processes is likely on those tablets.
Finally, we’re working with a few customers that are tackling new business models or units with BPM. Effectively, they’re defining a new business, putting their teams together, and supporting them with BPM technology that is customized to their needs. This lets the small nimble team leverage some of the core financial strengths of the mothership.
In all of these scenarios, I see room for value added IBM partners like BP3. Our ability to help from both a technology know-how and investment perspective, as well as a business acumen and process excellence perspective, makes for a lot of opportunity to add value to customers who are investing in their businesses with BPM.
To learn more about our work with customers from a business perspective, you’ll find our session with ANICO to be quite interesting: SCU-2878: Succeeding with BPM - Just Add BP3 & Smarter Process. BP3’s CEO Lance Gibbs will join Vince Johnson of ANICO to discuss their success with Smarter Process and self-sufficiency with assistance getting started from BP3 and BP Labs.