Posted by: Adam Deane | 05/08/2010

BPM Vendor Roadmap

BPM RoadmapI’ve never seen a BPM vendor publish their product roadmap.

I’ve seen lots of marketing mumbo jumbo, but I’ve never actually seen a vendor publish anything with real substance.
Something like: “In the next 5 years we plan to… “, “The emphasis will be on … “, “We believe that the greatest change in BPM will be … ”

These are some of the reasons:

Competition
Vendors are usually paranoid about competition. If you discuss features that haven’t been developed yet, you’re handing competition an opportunity. If you keep your mouth shut until you expose the new version, you will be guaranteed at least six months without competition before everyone else matches that cool new feature.

Reputation
You can’t talk about upcoming features and release dates unless you’re willing to lock into them. This may eliminate flexibility that you need later when Murphy strikes. And if you don’t keep your promises, you’ve ruined something that’s very hard to get back: your reputation.

Underpromise and overdeliver
When you tell a customer or potential customer you’re going to add a feature, they will inevitably imagine that the feature will do all kinds of things that it may not actually do. When you finally deliver something, they are bound to be disappointed. This can only hurt. If you promise a rowboat, but deliver a yacht – they can only be impressed

No Roadmap
And then you have companies that make up roadmaps on the way, copy competition or create features based on ongoing customer requirements.

So don’t expect to hear about product roadmaps from BPM vendors.
To be honest, you can’t blame them. There’s a lot of risk involved, and not much gain.
But it would be nice to see a vendor (that’s brave enough) take a stand and say:
This is our roadmap – Lo and behold!


Responses

  1. Adam, Bonita Open Solution BPMS roadmaps are visible to the world at http://www.bonitasoft.org/bugs/roadmap_page.php. Anyone can find release dates and features info (via All Projects). Currently you can see when and what’s coming for our next releases (BOS 5.3 and BOS 5.3 Subscription Pack), and for the bug-fix of the current versions of BOS and BOS-SP 5.2 (ie 5.2.3). Yep, the bugs and their fix status is public too.

    Well sure, BonitaSoft is not looking 5 years down the road, and making bold predictions about the future of BPM, either. No wait – yes we are. “We believe that the greatest change in BPM will be the democratization of BPM through the availability of open source tools.”

    And hey! “This is our roadmap – Lo and behold!”

    • Hi Mickey,

      Please pass my admiration to your team.
      It takes big bollocks to take a decision to publish, not only the great features of a product, but the bugs as well.
      I have noted your roadmap and like others, will be watching…

      Cheers,
      Adam

  2. […] to Adam Deane for opening a conversation about BPM vendors and product roadmaps.  We’re proud of our public roadmaps and the contributions that you, the community, make to […]

  3. […] were reminded this past week that the public visibility (transparency) of our Roadmap is somewhat unusual among BPM vendors. […]


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