Posted by: Adam Deane | 01/12/2011

Microsoft and BPM

Microsoft BPMI was really looking forward to writing an article on Microsoft and BPM.

Microsoft was very much involved in the BPM market a few years ago.. Visio, BizTalk, SharePoint workflow, Window Workflow Foundation… talk about buying a BPM vendor…

Even now, one of the differentiators in the BPMS market is the Microsoft / Java based platforms. Maybe not a key differentiator, but still used by vendors as a differentiator.

Customers that already use SQL Server, SharePoint and Dot Net usually prefer Microsoft-based solutions. Customers that use Java prefer Java-based solutions.
People either love Microsoft or hate them.. there is no middle ground.
(My personal observations of course…)

Anyway… I got all excited this weekend when I spotted a Microsoft BPM roadmap…
Fantastic!! Wonderful!! Yippy!! At last!!

My excitement turned into embarrassment when I realised that the document was from 2007.

Microsoft have removed most of their BPM links from their website, they stopped writing posts on their BPM blog a year ago, no new BPM related material has been released in the past 4 years, the interest in Workflow Foundation has dwindled.

OpenText’s acquisition of Global360 and Metastorm (both great Microsoft-based BPM suites on their own) have made OpenText the largest company offering a Microsoft-based BPM solution. I’m not sure they planned it, nor expect that it will give them any brownie points, but you would expect a little more enthusiasm from Microsoft on the subject. Nothing… Not even a pat on the back.

I don’t know why, but I always believed that Microsoft would return to the BPM arena one day. I no longer believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus or the Easter bunny…
Looks like I need to add Microsoft to the list…


  1. It would probably be more feasible for Microsoft to just acquire K2

    • There were rumours a few years ago that Microsoft was planning to buy K2. It didn’t materialise…

  2. There are a number of Microsoft based BPMS solutions out there (OpenText the largest as you mentioned) now that moved beyond the workflow based BPM vision and into the dynamic BPM world. Having a sequential, structured workflow doesn’t answer to the requirements of “knowledge workers” who are the primary users of knowledge based products like SharePoint.

    Microsoft’s SharePoint is seen by many as their “process platform” and it is left to ISV’s (3rd Party Vendors) to deliver on the “knowledge style” process management requirements. SharePoint 2010 replaced the “Business Process Management” segment on the product marketing with “Composites” acknowledging that some functionality is better provided outside of SharePoint.

    So it seems that Microsoft may end up with the tooth fairy and Santa Claus

  3. In effect, Microsoft is still putting its bets on SharePoint as their Business Process Platform offering. SharePoint is now everywhere, even in those Java-based companies that did not have any other MS products before SharePoint. But as for its BPM capability, it took a few years for Microsoft (and its clients) to realize the hard way, that SharePoint’s own WF is too limiting to meet real-world business process requirements.

    Now, as part of a new MS internal initiative coined “Project 9”, they are involving their most strategic partners, to take SharePoint to the next level in the enterprise to what they call “Business Critical”. BTW K2 is not in that list of partners.

    And they’ll get there. It’s just a matter of time.

  4. […] soy el único que se extraña de que Microsoft no desembarque, este artículo de Adam Deane es […]

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