The business process management market, although led by a healthy number of established vendors is evolving from best-of-breed standalone solutions into broader platforms and suites. The transition, according to Gartner analyst Janelle Hill, represents a vendor's desire, in some instances, to be the end-all and be-all business solution provider for its customer base. The 2009 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Process Management Suites illustrates the suite spot, especially given the entrance of software mega-vendor SAP into the market with its NetWeaver Suite. Out of an included field of 22 vendors, nine crowd the Leader portion of this year's report out.
Hill, who returned from Gartners BPM Summit held this week in London with rave reviews regarding uptake and interest, says that although the players on the leaderboard have been there for awhile, that doesn't mean BPM is a stagnant market. In fact, she says that there's a lot of innovation occurring in the space and a number of smaller entrants vying for recognition. Also, BPM is a hot topic in today's economy. "When the economy turns south, companies turn inward and focus on operational excellence to prepare for the upturn in economy," Hill says. She adds that the term "operational excellence" is evolving, too. "The big difference now is a recognition that BPM not just about classic operational excellence and efficiency and as much about process flexibility and agility," she points out. "Companies are saying they don't know what's going to happen -- and they just cant get locked down into one way of doing things."
Hill emphasizes a business professional's need for more graphical information and real time operational data. As business operations are becoming more complex and volatile, the manner in which people manage them must change. That being true, Hill relays --and cautions-- that some vendors are better at delivering process management with sound architectures better than others -- but it's not necessarily apparent when looking at the Quadrant.
Gartner has shifted its Magic Quadrant evaluation to now be based upon use cases rather than functions. Here's are the standings for the 2009 BPM Suites Magic Quadrant:
- Global 360
- Lombardi Software
- Software AG
- Tibco Software
- Adobe Systems
- Polymita Technologies
Hill says perhaps the most surprising change to the Quadrant standings -- aside from SAP's entrance -- is Oracle BEA's fall off the leaderboard. Hill says that she "not enamoured by the BEA roadmap" and wouldn't be surprised if Oracle rethinks it in the upcoming year. Hill also points out that Savvion's ranking is slightly lower this year. The vendor didn't grow as much as hoped.
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