Building a Value-Added BPM Business panel at bpmNEXT

BPM implementations aren’t just about the software vendors, since the vendor vision of “just take it out of the box and run it” or “have your business analyst build operational systems with our low-code platform” is rarely realized in practice. Instead, systems integrators and other value-added service companies bring product knowledge, industry knowledge and pre-built solutions to make these implementations happen better and faster. On a panel about value-added BPM businesses, Pramod Sachdeva of Princeton Blue, Scott Francis of BP3 and Jonathan Sapir of SilverTree brought their perspectives on the role of service providers in the BPM market.

Points covered on the panel included:

  • Customers want to integrate multiple systems, not just build using the BPMS; typically, a BPMS vendor’s professional services group will work only with their own systems, whereas the service providers will help to integrate other capabilities.
  • Service providers can identify and harvest the best capabilities from different systems to provide an integrated solution, rather than trying to do everything with the BPMS tool.
  • BPMS software vendors typically underestimate the level of effort — and the skills required — to bring a solution to full implementation. It’s more than just a demo, and involves more than just the BPMS product.
  • Building a BPM product for developers and building a solution for end-users are quite different, and often the BPMS vendors don’t have the skills to do the latter.
  • Service providers often bring business knowledge about the customer’s industry, and can better put themselves in the customer’s position rather than just focus on selling the technology “feeds and speeds”. Part of this is created more innovative and engaging user experiences on top of the core BPMS platform, although (in my opinion), these are more likely to come from the smaller boutique firms than the large systems integrators.
  • Business analysts and end users can be involved in building solutions in low-code environments, although these are often simpler or template-based applications.
  • Service providers choose to work with a BPMS platform because it gives them agility and speed in building solutions. Often, they can build a solution that can be reconfigured by the customer, such as through simple rule changes.

Having run a boutique BPM service provider in the past, I have a lot of my own opinions on this topic too, although many of them were covered on the panel. My experience is that in situations that require full development efforts (as opposed to purely low-code), service providers can typically provide solutions that are superior to those from either the vendor or the customer’s internal development group, in terms of quality and innovation of technology and often in terms of business fit. Also, it’s hard to hire the same type of skills within a customer organization, since the ideal skill set for a service provider employee is a degree of curiosity that spans multiple businesses.

After lunch is the BPM analyst panel that I’m speaking on, so I’ll be back once the demo sessions start after that. In the meantime, follow the #bpmNEXT hashtag to hear the buzz.

3 thoughts on “Building a Value-Added BPM Business panel at bpmNEXT”

  1. Sandy, thanks for the writeup of this session! Special thanks as I couldn’t take good notes on this one myself!

    I think even in alleged low-code situations, service providers can add a lot of value, personally. I’m biased. But the low-code solutions tend to be as complicated as the coding solutions, where the “language” is dialog boxes and property pages and knowing the nuances of how the software works and interprets it, rather than code and how the machine interprets it. Interested in your opinions as a former boutique consulting service provider!


    1. Scott, I realize that I never responded to your comment. I agree that in many “low-code” environments, it’s really a graphical coding environment: as you point out, the language is dialog boxes, etc., but you still need to have the coding/analytical skills to understand how to put together an application. Exceptions are things such as checklist apps, which may not have the same degree of dependencies under the covers, and are really a literal translation from paper/Excel checklists into a more easily managed form.

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