An article on GigaOm (http://gigaom.com/2011/03/31/when-is-a-tech-company-dead/) prompted this thought; is BPA dead?
Of course it isn’t I hear you say, most of the companies in the space are growing (albeit slowly), Gartner has a Magic Quadrant, heck my company has just bought some BPA software!
That may all be true, however for different but related reasons I think that it might be ‘dead’ in a tangentially similar way to the ‘dead’ companies written about in the article.
Why? Well for a number of reasons:
- what is the size of market for BPAnalysis? I emphasis the word analysis deliberately because that’s really where the heritage, the thinking and the philosophy of the BPA toolsets has come from. However, really…. the number of people actually doing analysis on business process in most companies is a tiny percentage of the company’s popoulation. Not to say that it isn’t useful, simply that analysis isn’t an end in itself it’s a means to an end. What do I mean? Well the best most perfectly honed process in the world is of absolutely zero value if the X thousand people in the company concerned aren’t actually doing it. Therefore analysis only has value if the result is actually deployed/used, otherwise it’s a waste of money and time.
And therefore it’s hardly surprising that BPA tools that were conceived and built for the A bit aren’t actually very good at the deployment bit. Show me an operational i.e. used deployment of ARIS or Casewise to, let’s say, 10,000 people…
Many companies (I could point to at least 10 global companies off the top of my head) are waking up to the fact that analysis for analysis’ sake is pointless and adds no value. They are/already have disbanded their BPA groups and thown away countless man/woman-years of work.
- BPA is being subsumed into BPMS Look at the acquisitions in the last couple of years and you’ll see that many of the standalone BPA vendors have been swallowed, presumably with the aim of simply becoming the precursor software to the BPMS. and in many cases the BPA software revenues are a tiny part of the whole, witness Software AG and the revenue that the ARIS toolset adds to the whole…..
- The Gartner BPA MQ is on it’s way out This is unconfirmed and may not actually happen but apparently there are loud voices inside Gartner that have seen the writing on the wall and that the next BPA MQ will be the last.
What appears to be happening is that the world is waking up to a picture of enterprise process that looks different and has a different set of requirements…. to be discussed in a future post.