On May 23, IBM held a small seminar in Austin with the unwieldy title of "Business Process Innovation with BPM and Operational Decision Management." Almost as many words as there were attendees! Those who neglected this event missed an interesting (if IBM-centric) update on the BPM industry. This article is an excerpt of Claude Baudoin's notes.
IBM said that the days when 60% of BPM projects would fail are long gone. The field has matured much. Still, for someone who started doing process models in 1992 (using a Mac-based tool, with a notation that basically could do everything BPMN 1.0 did), it is surprising that few companies still undertake a systematic effort to model their processes, be it for analysis and improvement, in view of automating them, or simply for documentation and training.
IBM's presence is the result of the iLog and Lombardi acquisitions, and they claim 29% of the market. A large part of the Websphere portfolio is made of BPM solutions. It still seems that in spite of the rebranding, the tools are not yet fully integrated. Indeed, the speakers talked about the WebSphere process management tools and the iLog rules engine as if they came with "some assembly required." The argument that they are treated separately because some clients require one without the other sounded disingenuous. MarCom is way ahead of product engineering with slick marketing videos that are almost entirely content-free. However, some convincing information was shown about the newer tools' capabilities to analyze processes for performance issues.
The Websphere process modeling capability is now delivered in the cloud as BlueWorks Live, with an innovative real-time collaborative drawing capability, reminiscent of Google Wave or of SAP Gravity, seemingly well adapted to distributed process discovery sessions.
The seminar was hosted by BP3, a BPM consultancy whose people presented five useful BPM anti-patterns, and otherwise talked about Agile at length without really saying how this related to BPM.