Just how big is the BPM market ?

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It’s a question everyone loves to ask, if only for affirmation that they’re still in the right industry. It’s like a comfort blanket for a lot of people. I was asked only this week funnily enough by a player looking for further funding so it seems right to make a post about it.

By 2011 the estimates from Gartner and Forrester ranged from $2.6b to $6.3b and only recently did Global Industry Analysts claim that research shows that the global market for BPM will reach $5.3 billion by 2017. But all this is measured by software/ technology size only and we all know (surely by now!) that BPM is as much a method as it is about automation and clever no-code wizardry.

The size of the market is in no way an indicator of maturity unlike some analysts might claim. With a constantly shifting target to aim for maturity doesn’t last long as vendors are keen to keep moving with the times and that means both risk and innovation. To innovate means you will have to start at the bottom again and that makes you immature in both strategy and bottom line in product.

The BPM market should, as eluded above, be viewed in totality. Software sales alone, whilst extremely measurable through simple profit analysis of a vendor P&L, does not take into account the amount of non-technical BPM spend out there, programmes of work focused solely on strategic improvement without the need to resort to automation. Measuring this is far more trickier but I wonder if anyone actually asks the questions of the mid-large practitioner/ consultancy circuit to gauge just how much was spent on transformational change using people and what the projected spend could be. I’m sure the likes of Accenture, Deloitte et al would like to boast if you asked them nicely.

The other side of this is unfortunately completely glossed over by all. The cost of failure. We love hearing about those brochure-tastic success stories but for every success there’s a failed implementation, a failed expectation, a failed strategy. The cost of failure simply cannot be ignored when taking the market size into account. Whilst a great licence sale puts the $$ on the map for BPM just how many fall flat and gather dust after a few months, or years ? Momentum must be sustained in order to both qualify a success story and also quantify that sale as a success.

So, just what is the real size of the BPM market ? Do you really want to know ?

Sshhhhh, it’s a secret.

Footnote: I’d love to add the training and education side of the BPM equation in this but frankly there are too many bogus certification and Guantanamo BPM Boot Camps out there to really make any meaningful contribution…..

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Theo Priestley
Theo Priestley is Vice President and Chief Evangelist at Software AG, responsible for enabling the marketing and voice of the industry's leading Business Process, Big Data/ In-Memory/ Complex Event Processing, Integration and Transaction suite of platforms. Theo writes for several technology and business related sites including his own successful blog IT Redux. When he isn't evangelizing he's playing videogames, collecting comics and takes the odd photo now and then. Theo was previously an independent industry analyst and successful enterprise transformation consultant.

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