Posted by: Adam Deane | 28/11/2011

BPM: The Tortoise and the Hare

Tortoise and HareOnce upon a time there was a magical forest, where all the animals used to live together happily in harmony.

The deer walked around freely, the ducks quacked, the sheep baaed, the bees buzzed, and even the tortoises tortoised in their regular tortoising way. Life was wonderful.

The rabbit, a well-known forest leader, had a reputation of being innovative, agile and fast. Everyone looked up to him.

This rabbit’s name was Microsoft.

I’m not a rabbit, I’m a Hare, said Microsoft. We’ve got longer ears than rabbits…

Ok… Hare… anyway, one sunny day Microsoft was sitting under a great big mushroom enjoying the sunshine. It was a good mushroom. The one that provides lots of shade.
It also makes you extremely “cheerful” when you nibble at it…

The hare was always boasting how he could run faster than anyone else and was forever teasing the tortoise for its slowness. The hare won every race in the forest.
Then one day, the business process management race started. No one knows who started it or why it started. It just did…
Anyway, all the tortoise vendors trudged off to a slow start.

“Beaten in a race? Nobody in the world can win against me, I’m Microsoft.”
“I’m an industry leader. I define industry trends, not follow them.” he said to himself.
I’ll just have forty winks and catch up with them in a minute, said Microsoft and fell asleep under the mushroom.

After a while, Microsoft woke up and looked around for the tortoise. But the tortoise was only a short distance away, slowly moving ahead.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Microsoft decided he might as well do something to quieten his conscience, and quickly developed Windows Workflow Foundation.
“Ah, It’s so hard to be me”, said Microsoft, patting himself on the back. It’s just a matter of time until this becomes the industry standard.

“I’m an industry leader. I define industry trends, not follow them.” he said to himself.

“I think I’ll have something to eat now.”
With a good meal in his tummy and the sun in the sky, his eyelids started to droop.
With a careless glance at the tortoise, now halfway along the course, he decided to have another snooze before flashing past the winning post.

Now at this stage Microsoft didn’t really have a BPM solution. He was just selling BizTalk. The workflow foundation thingy hadn’t taken off either.
Nothing to worry about, said Microsoft. I’ve got partners that can help me. I call it the Microsoft BPM Alliance. As long as they promote BizTalk I’m still king.

The sun started to sink below the horizon, and the tortoise, who had been plodding towards the winning post since morning, was nearly at the finish.
Suddenly the hare woke with a jolt. He could see the tortoise a speck in the distance.

He thought about it… he thought about it some more…
In the end he said to himself “You know what… BPM… Sod it! It’s not worth the effort” and went back to sleep.
“I’m an industry leader. I define industry trends…” he mumbled to himself.

If you are very quiet, you can still find Microsoft, even today, sleeping under a big mushroom in the forest. He only opens his eye when Google starts nibbling at his mushroom. But that’s another story…


  1. When all the forest and garden animals (i.e. Forrester and Gartner Analysts) sneered and pointed to Microsoft for falling way behind in the BPM race, this upset the proud hare and tried to do the well-known “I’ll buy my way into the race” trick, by looking to buy another vendor. Now Microsoft is choosy and doesn’t buy anyone who doesn’t have at least 1% market share or if it has mediocre technology. But alas, all the tortoise vendors were all mediocre (Java) and within its noisiest partners, he only found suitors with a lot of makeup or with WF underneath. But in a quiet corner, there was this little agile animal working away with speed and delivering true BPM to the MS clients (and beyond). Even the garden animals had taken notice. This agile animal had no VC to beat its drum, and if Microsoft was to win this BPM battle once and for all, it had to acquire Agile for himself. Agile would Point Microsoft in the right direction and into the Cloud and it would azure that he never falls behind again.

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