Re-examining the BPM marketplace

At last year’s Gartner BPM summit in Nashville, they divided up the BPM marketplace into the “pure play” BPM vendors (those companies for whom BPM is their primary business, whose products provide excellent human-facing capabilities and at least adequate integration capabilities), integration-focussed vendors who have purchased a BPM company to round out their portfolio, and large software companies who have developed or acquired a BPM product. In the pure-play market, they listed three “major players” (revenues above $100M) — FileNet, Pegasystems and Global 360 — and five “up and comers” (revenues above $30M) — Appian, Lombardi, Metastorm, Savvion and Ultimus. Of course, since then, FileNet has been purchased by IBM, moving them from the pure-play to large software company categorization, which also includes companies like MicrosoftFujitsu and even Oracle. A few of the integration-focussed vendors, such as TIBCO, BEA and webMethods, are starting to give the pure-plays a run for their money in the BPM space, and there are likely to be more to follow.

I didn’t see a Gartner presentation at this year’s summit that did the same sort of vendor shoot-out — unless that was in the Wednesday breakfast session that I missed (c’mon guys, 7:30 on the morning after the vendor hospitality suites?!) — but there’s a BPMS magic quadrant due out this year, and it will be interesting to see how the players continue to shift around.

I did have someone jokingly ask me if I was going to publish my own “magic quadrant” comparison of BPM vendors, but with that name and concept trademarked to Gartner, I’ll have to do a mystical hypercube instead.

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