Skip to main content

...And Another Monster is Born

Ben Farrell
July 14, 2011

Adam Deane has a very funny post about OpenText's "bigamous" BPM acquisitions. Bigamy is one analogy for what's happening in the stack vendor land-grab for the BPM market. Another is "Frankenstein's Monster." And we all know how that played out...for the Monster and the townsfolk.

It seems to me that all the mega-vendors think BPM is simply a commodity. The mentality is that the more BPM technology you can acquire, the better; loosely stitching them together to create a creature that will succeed through sheer mass. OpenText is the latest example, but look at IBM, Oracle, Progress, etc.

BPM is not yet commoditized for the simple reason that BPM is not yet done evolving. Perhaps more than any other enterprise IT market right now, BPM is in a process (no pun intended) of innovation. BPM software is just now learning how to reach more people, drive more value and truly transform a business. Cloud BPM is driving a growing percentage of the market. Mobility has entered the game, as has social technology. This market is not yet complete.

Stack vendors cannot drive BPM innovation through acquisition. Every buy means more time spent away from driving innovation and focused on long integration time lines. Every buy means more customer turmoil and confusion. Which flavor of Vendor X's BPM should I use? Which one is going to get the most development attention? Do I need to transition to a new one because the old one may go away entirely?

Adam says he is interested in watching the OpenText open marriage story unfold. Me too, but I think the real entertainment will come when the townspeople start lighting the torches...

Ben Farrell, Director, Corporate Communications