Posted by: Adam Deane | 09/10/2012

Magic Quadrant for Intelligent Business Process Management Suites 2012

First, my congratulations to Pega, Appian and IBM, the leaders of Gartner’s iBPMS Magic Quadrant 2012 that was published last week.

There has been some criticism of Gartner and its recent iBPMS report.
I feel an obligation to defend Gartner’s honour.

Gartner did a great job in creating this magic quadrant.
It is a solid professional research, created by intelligent people, for intelligent people.

Understanding the Background
The main problem stems from people’s inability to understand the enormous effort put in to the pre-report research: the dedication, the emotion, the choice of colours.
To understand the report, you first need to understand Gartner’s perspective on BPM:
Gartner’s research on BPM – Q2
Gartner’s research on BPM – Q3

Understanding the Limitations
You must remember that Gartner had only 2 years to write this research paper, and cannot be held responsible for mistakes due to the tight writing schedule.

You must also take into account the hardship in coordinating four writers into one research paper. This requires compromise.
Understandably, in order to please some of the writers, new topics may have needed to be added.
One must be also forgiving if a non-BPM vendor needed to be added to the vendor list.

I can assure you that Gartner’s choice of iBPMS vendors has nothing to do with conference sponsorship, conference sponsorship or any other financial incentives.

Differentiating iBPMS from BPMS
Gartner has been brave in setting the new BPMS standard.

Most BPM vendors might say that they have analytics, but how many of them can say that they have ‘deeper’ analytics, or ‘better’, ‘improved’ and ‘broader’ analytics.
That is the real difference between the men and the boys.

It is also important to note that one of the seven additions that distinguish an iBPMS from current generation BPMS is role-based user access, something that I’m sure that none of the other BPM vendors have ever thought of.

Vendors should be aware that although the traditional capabilities are still the same – the naming has changed:
– Business Events, BI and BAM is now called “Active analytics”
– Inline and Offline simulation and optimization is now called “On-demand analytics”

The importance of these new naming conventions compared to the old naming conventions cannot be underestimated.

BPM Gears

Analysing the Report
Gartner has done well to warn BPM vendors that even in 3 years – up to 30% of businesses will not be positioned to execute the IBO use case (note 3)

Gartner also noted that CEOs, CFOs, CTOs and IT managers are not the target audience to use this report to shortlist iBPMS vendors (note 2)

Gartner also emphasises that organisations with lower BPM maturity may find that BPMS fits them better than iBPMS.

The criticism of Gartner’s latest report is totally uncalled for.
– that Gartner made up a new marketing acronym to be able to sell a research paper,
– that Gartner used fuzzy words like ‘better’, ‘deeper’, ‘broader’ and ‘improved’ to explain the difference between BPMS and iBPMS.
– that CEP has been around for more than 5 years and is not a new trend.
– that the research was based on only 37 end-user interviews.
– that Gartner has lost touch with the field and making up things on the way.
– that Gartner’s choice of the word ‘Intelligent’ was condescending and patronizing.

All of these allegations are completely unjustified, and it makes me angry to think that people could even say such things.
Gartner has worked very hard to create this report, in very tough circumstances:
– The analyst market is getting smaller.
– Nowadays companies are using Google to do their own research and analysis.
– Vendors are not seeing as much ROI in sponsorships, compared to the past.
– Gartner market predictions have not materialized.

Looking to the Future
I am sure that the next Gartner Magic Quadrant in 2014-2015 will change the whole new perception of the industry with the introduction of ViBPMS (Very Intelligent BPM Suites), which will provide powerful reading. It will be worth waiting for.

Gartner has been kind enough to publish their report online – here


  1. Adam,

    Love it!

    I heard vendors are paying more now to get out of the MQ than to get in.

  2. […] more analysis on the Tragic Quadrant report visit Adam Deane’s blog here: Magic Quadrant Analysis Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInStumbleUponDiggRedditLike this:Like2 bloggers like […]

  3. I almost felt sorry for the Analysts 😉

  4. Thanks Adam, for a very balanced perspective on the TRAGIC Quadrant.

    Boy, were we lucky that Gartner considered us not to be a major player in iBPMS despite having all the functionality they were looking for. I think what threw them off is that we actually have the content engine as part of BPM/ACM and that our analytics are not just deeper, broader and better BI and BAM, but actually a completely new approach of process pattern matching. If we are the only one to have something then they can’t compare it in a report. If they can’t understand (AI is pretty complex) why that is better than orthodox statistics then how would they rate it.

    So our reputation has not been tarnished … Phew!

  5. Simply epic !

  6. We are proud to be a “Gartner free” SMB – their performance with us was awful first go good man in Jim Sinur began to understand then he left for BPM company. Second attempt they “lost” the presentation for the rather pathetic 40 minutes allocated for “research” and then spent the time selling their services to us! But we are in UK so do they care…….
    Research is not what they do it is following the trends… will never be at leading edge of innovation agree with Max on that.

  7. Max, honest question, can you request not to be in the quadrant? would they honor that request? 🙂 Would be interesting!

    I didn’t get to it in my post on the subject, but there are vendors i’m surprised they didn’t include (yours)… i did talk about the ones i was surprised WERE included.

    Well, played, Adam, well played!

    • Scott, being an analyst is not the dream job some might think it is. It is actually pretty horrible, I mean they have to deal with people like me 😉

      On the other hand if one can’t take the heat and remain objective despite it all, one should not be an analyst. But that is just wishful thinking. Market segmentation is all they care about and creating more confusing market segments is helping them to sell.

      Surely one can ignore their request for participation in a study, but that is like throwing away a year free advertizing in all major computer magazines. Surely, we all suffer from the ‘sour grapes’ perspective if we are ignored/misunderstood/misrated but the main problem isnot the analyst as people, it is the companies they work for. Analysts are told to focus on things that make them money with their clients. Small vendors have a small market share and so there are less potential clients who want to know how they compare. Small vendors spend less on analysts too. It is not easy to be an analysts and make the company good money by being very objective. They try to be objective within the range of safe money bets they have. Their predictions are either self-fulfilling prophecies or failures, and what else could they be.

      Like with all things in life there are good and bad anaylsts and they have good and bad days and thus I hold no grudge. It is just sometimes very disappointing if one tries hard as an innovator to be heard. To them innovation is not about the great new idea, it is about how it is being sold to the market! They like innovation even more if it is a safe bet to make more money …

      Therefore it is great that Adam is once again lighting the whole mess up with a little sarcasm, satire and humor. Thanks, Adam.

  8. Oh my god, I was crying because I was laughing so hard. You, Sir, are the Terry Pratchett of the BPM community.

  9. Thank Adam for make laugh in the early morning!

    Have a nice iDay!

  10. […] probably the last to chime in on the new Gartner iBPMS Magic Quadrant.  Adam Deane’s hilarious sendup cannot be topped, and Scott Francis’s uber-thoughtful three-parter is also excellent, but […]

  11. […] a session here modestly titled “The Future of Business Process and Rules”. His recent iBPMS MQ has come in for a lot of stick so this was going to be a popular session… Jim started by […]

  12. Still the industry has a long way to go to harness the full benefits, for industries like financial services, they have to create an EDM with a golden copy.

    Another article which might be useful is

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