BPM Vendors Race to Keep Up With Changing Market

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 06-30-2006

For companies developing business process management software, nobody said it better than Dylan: The times they are a-changin'.

There is increasing pressure from a host of new competitors taking a newfound process-centric approach to application and platform development, from traditional middleware vendors like IBM and BEA to ERP (enterprise resource planning) providers such as SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. At the same time, there is the ever-present threat of mergers and acquisitions; MetaStorm's December 2005 merger with CommerceQuest and BEA Systems' acquisition of Fuego come to mind.

There is also the SOA (service-oriented architecture) and SAAS (software as a service] movements to consider. One is a methodology and the other a delivery model, but both have a growing dependence on BPM, which brings increasing competition to the fore.

Finally, there is the evolution of BPM itself. While vendors spent much of their time over the past few years evangelizing the "model, automate, execute and manage" message behind BPM, the term itself has evolved, morphing from workflow to BPM to BPMS (BPM Suite) to now BPM playing a part in the SOA world.

"We've done our own evaluation of what the board expects, what technology companies expect," said Brian Boxman, the COO at BPM provider HandySoft Global, a subsidiary of HandySoft Global Corp." Things are moving so fast, you can't do what you've done in the past."

For "pure-play" companies like HandySoft and Savvion, the shifting landscape means taking a hard look at how business was done in the past and devising new solutions for the future.

HandySoft, brought to the U.S. market seven years ago, has swapped out its management team and devised parallel plans the new executives will deliberate to determine the company's future. HandySoft announced June 29 four new top executives. Jae Ahn has been appointed CEO; Boxman will assume chief operating officer responsibilities; William Chatterton will serve as chief financial officer and vice president; and Scott Byrnes has recently been appointed vice president of marketing.

Savvion has taken a less dramatic but no-less rebellious approach to its standard delivery model. The company launched June 28 new functionality through its BusinessManager 6.8 platform that enables just about anyone to model a business process, from business to IT—and download Savvion's process models for free.

"We finally cracked the code on this, allowing people to model 'as is' processes and allowing anyone to do it," said Patrick Morrissey, senior vice president at Savvion, in Santa Clara, Calif.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: BPM Vendors Explore Their Options