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.
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