More on vendor blogs

I ususally don’t put too much stock in BPM vendor blogs. First of all, there’s not a lot of them (or at least, not a lot that I’ve seen), since I imagine that getting official sanction for writing a blog about your product or company is exponentially more difficult as your company gets larger. Secondly, they can disappear rather suddenly in this era of mergers and acquisitions. Thirdly, anybody who works for a vendor and has something interesting to say is probably too busy doing other things, like building the product, to spend much time blogging. And lastly, they’re always a bit self-promotional, even when they’re not a blatant PR/marketing soapbox. (Yes, I know, my blog is self-promotional, but I am my own PR and marketing department, so I’m required to do that, or I’d have to fire myself.)

I’ve been keeping an eye on Phil Gilbert’s blog — he’s the CTO at Lombardi. I don’t know him personally, although I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot about their product lately. He wrote a post last week about “BPM as a platform” that every BPM vendor and customer should read, because it tells it like it is: the days of departmental workflow/BPM systems are past, and it’s time to grow up and think about this as part of your infrastructure. In his words:

Further, while it is a platform, it is built to handle and give visibility to processes of all sizes – from human workflows to complex integration and event processing. Choosing to start down the “process excellence” path may very well start with a simple process – therefore it’s not a “sledgehammer for a nail.” It’s a “properly sized hammer for the nail” built on a solid foundation that allows many people to be building (hammering) at once. And because of this, it scales very well from an administrative perspective. You can build one process, or you can build twenty. Sequentially, or all at once. Guess what? The maintenance of the platform is identical!

He also talks about how the real value of BPM isn’t process automation, it’s the data that the BPMS captures about the process along the way, which can then feed back into the process/performance improvement cycle and provide far more improvement than the original process automation.

He takes an unnecessary jab at Pegasystems (“the best BPM platforms aren’t some rules-engine based thing”) which probably indicates where Lombardi is getting hit from a competitive standpoint, and the writings a bit stilted, but that shows that it’s really coming from him, not being polished by a handler before it’s released. And the fact that the blog’s on Typepad rather than hosted on the Lombardi site is also interesting: it makes at least a token statement of independence on his part.

Worth checking out.

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