Saturday, October 31, 2015

Traditional Business Process Management solutions: Dead End or Reinvention?

Ford assembly line, 1913
Source: Wikipedia

Are traditional BPM solutions still relevant or new approach is a must? I am not the only one who asks the question above.

According to Gartner's analyst, Janet Hill, Traditional BPM is the past and "Improvisational Process" is the future. "Improvisational Process" is less structured and more Agile than Traditional BPM. Traditional BPM aims at more Automation and Process improvement and kills Innovation.   

Let us try to answer the question above. In order to understand the issue I will use an analogy between Software Development and BPM Software Development.

First stage: Automation
The Typical Software developed in the 1950s automated simple organizational tasks. For example, instead of calculating profits by adding data manually, the data was entered into the computer and a programed calculation routine was executed. 

Another simple example is a report. Instead of writing it manually, including data and calculations such as summing numbers the report was built and printed by software executed.

The main goal was Automation. The Business functions were coded and could be executed each time on different set of Data.

The first generation of Work flow applications and afterwards BPM applications is very similar to the first Software stage.  

The Business Processes were represented by Software.  
The goal was Automation of as much as possible tasks and sub-processes.

The software developed 50 or 60 years ago was developed from scratch.

BPM applications were developed as a layer above existing software, therefore the lack of Visibility challenge characterized BPM systems and was irrelevant to old software systems developed from scratch.   

Second stage: Improvement
Information Technology systems functionality could be enhanced easier than manual systems functionality. Functionality improvements were the next step of the IT systems.

Ease of extensions is applicable to BPM systems, as well, therefore processes improvements followed processes cloning to IT systems. 

A Business user who can see the representation of a process on a screen could think of process improvements and sometimes could even simulate them.

Next and current stages of IT systems: Complexity
The focus of this post is the future of BPM and not step by step evolution of IT systems, therefore many stages of IT systems evolution are encapsulated in a single paragraph.  

The improved IT Systems was extended gradually until they were large Monolithic systems or Silo systems. 
The main problems of Monolithic Systems are: 
difficulty of maintenance,  development takes too long time and difficulty of Integration with other systems.

Systems and Data Integration was a must and is more important in a Connected World, due to PCs, Internet and emerging Channels, Technologies and Platforms such as Smart Phones, Internet of Things, Big Data and Wearables

Handling IT Systems Complexity
Agility is the key for Coping with Complexity.

1. Handling Complexity  by dividing the Systems and/or smaller Systems entities to Components 
The Components could be Reused and their boundaries are well defined.

The following Technologies and Architectures are examples of dividing large IT entities to smaller Components.  

Object Oriented Development (composed of Classes and Objects, Inheritance and Methods), Components Based Development (CBD) which is based on Components and Components Reuse, Service Oriented Architecture composing an Enterprise or a Virtual Enterprise from SOA Services and Micro Services, a new approach of developing an application as a suite of small Services. 

2. Shortening Development time
Quicker development is complementing systems division to composable component.
The unrealistic ideal is assembling pre built  components to systems without developing any new components.

Agile Development and RAD (Rapid Application Development) are more sensible approaches for shortening systems Development time.

Next and current stages of BPM: Complexity
The analogy between IT Systems development and maintenance and BPM systems development and maintenance is not perfect, however Complexity characterized these two systems types.

BPM should handle the whole life cycle of Processes, as well as More complex Use Cases such as Case Management Processes and Intelligent Business Operations.

Previous posts described the new Use Cases and the growing Complexity.
For example, read the following posts: 
Case Management - The missing topic in STKI Summit 2011 

BPMS Next Generation:IBPMS

IBPMS updated Vendors Positioning

Unstructured Processes, whose flow is by Knowledge Workers decisions, are the focus of many BPM initiatives.  
Developing and maintaining such processes is beyond traditional BPM software capabilities.  

Handling BPM Complexity

1. Shortening Development time
Shortening Times to Deployment of BPM is crucial, so the term Agility is often used when BPM is discussed.

In a post titled: BPM Agility is a Must, I argued that Agile methodologies could used for developing BPM applications. 

Appian, an IBPMS and Case Management leader advocates the Agile approach as well. It emphasize its Unified BPM App Platform  
which includes User Experience as part of it in order to shorten the development time. 

2. A Data First Approach  
MicroPact's approach is Data before Processes. 
MicroPact is a Case Management vendor. After the Data Model is completed the Processes are defined. According to the company, Data First is more easily understood by Business users, so larger number of users are involved and most users involved are involved with no need for special training. 
The result could be more rapid adoption and iterative deployment.  

3. Case Management Frameworks
Case Management Frameworks is a new growing subset of the Case Management market.
the Framework is composed of Layers. The top layer, Implementation Specific Logic, is the dynamic part. The Vertical Business domain and The Horizontal Business domain are less dynamic, as well as other lower layers .

If this approach is good enough for an organization, it could shorten Time to Deployment and reduce maintenance costs. For more information, read the post: Case Management Frameworks: A growing subset of the Case Management market

Concluding Remark
IT systems Complexity is growing. In order to cope with it the systems architecture should be based on Components and the Development Cycle  should be shortened.

BPM systems Complexity is growing similar to IT systems Complexity.

Traditional BPM solutions are no longer adequate for development of the new unstructured Case Management processes. According to Gartner's analyst, Janet Hill, new software should address those new "Improvisational Process" and the traditional BPM software "kills Innovation".
Innovation and not Automation is the goal of current BPM implementations.

The image of Ford assembly line from 1913, in the beginning of this post is a reminder: Innovation is not necessarily based on software. 
The innovative assembly line process saved a lot of time, money and efforts in car assembling.
No BPM software was available to support Innovation.

However, as the processes become more complex (unstructured Case Management Processes including Knowledge Workers decisions based on a lot of data and other people's opinions) it is more difficult to innovate without adequate software usage.     


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Vendors Survival: Will Dell Survive until 2025?

More than six years ago I wrote a post titled: Vendors Survival: Will EMC Survive until 2018? 

The trigger for writing that post was an article by Jason Hiner, the Editor in Chief of Zdnet. According to Hiner "EMC, the world’s leading storage vendor, is flush with cash and has the opportunity to make a big move".

Hiner thought of two possible big moves:

1. Dell and EMC merge i.e EMC would buy Dell

2. Cisco buys VMware

I thought that the two moves suggested by Hiner will not be realized in 2009. 

AS far as EMC Survival was concerned, I thought that the keys for the company's survival until 2018 are keeping its leadership in the Storage market and adapting to Cloud Computing. 

I do not know if Cisco will acquire VMware, but on October, 12, 2015, Dell announced a deal with MSD and Silver Lake to buy EMC for 67 billion USD in Cash and stock.  VMware owned partially (80%) by EMC is excluded from the deal.
The deal is the largest Information Technology acquisition ever.

On 2015 EMC is no longer "flush with cash". Elliott  Management Corporation took last year a 2.2% stake in EMC and urged it to review breaking up, which immediately raised possibility of sale.  

The following paragraphs are my First Take of the proposed acquisition.

EMC since 2009
EMC is still a Storage Market Leader owning about 20% market share. In my 2009 post I wrote: "The Storage Market is changing and storage vendors should innovate in order to keep their current position or even improve it". 

I am not sure that EMC the innovative Storage vendor of the eighties beating the Mainframe Storage Market Leaders such as IBM, is still an innovative company.  

Read the article "IDC says server-based storage sales are soaring – and Dell's pwning the market"
 in The Register.   

The chart titled: "Worldwide Total Disk Storage Systems Market Top 5 Vendors Q1 2014 -Q2 2015 (shares  based in revenues)" reveals the following trends:

1. The competition is increasing. "Others" market share is larger than any Leading Vendor share.

2. EMC is still the Leader, but its market share is gradually declining ( its market share in Q2 2015 is larger than its market share in Q1 2015).

3. The other leaders are: IBM, Netapp, HP and Dell.

4. Dell's market share is growing slowly but in terms of total storage shipped is number 1: "Dell is, and remains, number 1 in total storage capacity shipped terms, looking at both external and internal storage. We understand Dell shipped 3.6 exabytes of data, more than NetApp, IBM and Hitachi combined (3.05 EB). EMC shipped 2.56 EB.

Why does Elliott  Management Corporation "urged EMC to review breaking up", i.e separating the  
VMware business from the Storage Business, and probably selling its 80% share in VMware?

VMware is no longer a Leader with no competition in The Virtualization Market. The Virtualization market is also crowded and "Now Elliott appears to be arguing that keeping VMware aligned with EMC not the most profitable option" 

Michael Dell is back leading the third largest Enterprise IT company. IBM and HP are still larger than Dell-EMC combined together.

Dell company was a PC market leader, which extended its product lines to Enterprise Hardware, such as Server and Storage due to the PC market challenges.
Latter the company added Software Products Line to its Hardware.
For example it acquired boomy. Dell Boomy is a Leader in the Cloud Integration Market

For the last two years Dell is no longer a public company. It is a private company and therefore its financial and business details are not publicly available. 

Will Dell Survive until 2025?
Large companies such as DEC and SUN did not, but many other survived. Large companies do not disappear suddenly, so Dell may Survive. However, it has multi challenges and I am not sure it will Survive. 

Major challenges

1. Merges of Large companies are difficult
The issues include different Corporate Cultures, overlapping Business Lines (e.g EMC Storage and Dell Storage), Layoffs, unifying Organizational Business Processes and Information Technology Systems and Architectures etc.

A good example of a similar challenge is the acquisition of Compaq by Dell's competitor HP. The acquisition of EDS by HP is not similar, but some of the issues may be similar.

Read my posts about HP's acquisitions and my recent post about splitting HP to two companies:

Vendors Survival: Will HP Survive until 2018? - HP's EDS Acquisition First Take

Vendors Survival: Will HP Survive until 2018? - Revisited

Vendors Survival: Will HP Survive until 2025? - is not a question to be asked anymore

2. The IT market is changing
The Information Technology market is no more an Enterprise based market. It is more and more Consumer Centered market based on Internet, Clouds, Smart phones and Pablets. 

New market implies new technologies e.g Social and Professionals networks and Smart phones Applications. 

New market Leaders, such as Google, Facebook and Apple emerge and former Market Leaders face new Challenges.

Dell a traditional Enterprise and PC vendor has challenges. Other traditional technologies based companies such as IBM, HP, Microsoft and Oracle has to cope with challenges as well. 

3. The Financial perspective
MSD and Silver Lake are Investments companies. These companies will pay some of the large amount of money required for EMC's acquisition.
According to some of the Web sources I read, high percentage of the payment will be by loans. Dell will have to return the loans.

Could Dell return the loans? It is not clear yet if it will be able to return the loans. 
If it could and would what will be the downside of returning it instead of Business Development? 

4. Competition
IBM and HP are Dell's major competitors. Oracle (SUN's Hardware), Netapp and other Storage Vendors are competitors as well.

They will continue to develop their products, to market and sale their products and to develop new innovative products.

Could struggling Dell (because of the merging process with EMC) develop, sale and market its product like its competitors who do not have to allocate resources to a merge with another giant company? I do not know, but i am very skeptical. 

5. The Servers Market
According to few Internet articles, the trend of better Servers usage is another threat to Servers vendors including Dell. The usage of Cloud Computing and Operating Systems Virtualization are the major enablers of Servers usage efficiency. Read the next paragraph in order to understand why my opinion is different from these experts' opinion.

My Take
The conclusion that improved usage of Servers resources will reduce Server's Capacity is simplistic view.

The major trends of the Servers market are (I marked in red trends reducing Servers Capacity and in green trends augmenting Servers Capacity:

1. Operating Systems Virtualization
 Multiple Operating Systems instances sharing the same Server reduce the total Servers Capacity.
For example, single instance of Operating System on a Server could use sometimes  20% or 30% of the CPU power. 
Multiple Instances could use 70% of the CPU power or even higher percent.    

2. Cloud Computing
Large Data Centers sharing Workloads of multiple organizations are more efficient than dedicated Data Centers. They use Operating Systems Virtualization as well.
Many SMBs will use Public Clouds. However, larger enterprises will probably implement Hybrid Clouds i.e. Private Clouds and Public Clouds. For additional information on The next Generation of Clouds read my post: The Next Generation of Private Clouds

The bottom line is that Public Clouds will save Server's resources. 
Probably many Private Clouds will save resources as well, but due to lower expertise and smaller size, Private Clouds would save less resources than Public Clouds.

3. Natural Capacity growth
The Server Resources of most customer of mine, as well as other organizations I know about, grew systematically. The frequent growth rate was two digits growth per year e.g. 10%, 20% or even 30%. The Capacity growth rate could be declined because of Cloud usage, but other factors drive more rapid growth rate.  

4. New Enterprises
New Enterprises have to use Servers' resources. The emergence of new enterprises, as well as high growth rate of current enterprises' servers resources is more frequent in Developing Countries.  

5.  New applications
New Applications consume Servers resources. For example Social Applications, Analytic Applications, Case Management, Consumers Applications etc.

6. Rapid Data growth Rate
More data implies more processing in addition to more Storage usage. Big Data and new Analytical Applications consume a large amount of Servers resources. The need to integrate data placed in varied locations and varied data formats augments the servers resources required for Big Data applications.

The prevalent usage of more complex data formats, such as videos and pictures requires more server's resources. 

7. Smart Phones and Pablets
Did the emergence of PCs and the Client/Server architecture reduced Server's resources requirements?
The answer to this question is no. On the contrary, offloading of application and data to PCs augmented Server's resources requirement. 

Smart Phones and Pablets are a new generation of very similar architecture.
Applications are offloaded to the Smart Phones and the integration to the Back end Servers, usually Cloud based servers, is via Internet. 

Expect that usage of new and sophisticated Smart Phone application will augment Server's resources requirements, similar to the growth of resources in the Client/Server architecture.

8. The same computing power costs less and less 
The last bullet is not marked in green and not marked in red.

It is another issue which is not directly related to Server Capacity consumption, but it could have negative influence on vendors' revenues. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

"No one deployed an application as large as yours, based on this Software Product"

In a previous post titled: Consultants Typology: The Self-deprecating Consultant, I promised to depict examples of my consultancy, which was exactly the opposite of a Self-deprecating Consultant consultancy. 

This post describe a Case Study of that type few decades ago.

The title of this post is a quote of the words I said to a CIO. I implied that the product's Scalability is not adequate for thousands of users. 

I could say it explicitly as well, however my goal was to perform a consultancy project and get paid for it. 

The first step of the consultancy will be dedicated to proving that using the product he thought of is a guaranteed failure. 

The second step will be a selection process of an adequate product. 

The third step could be helping the customer to deploy the selected product properly.

"No problem, I will be the first to deploy a large application based on this product". 
He did not use my consultancy services.

The CEO was fired after completing the system development and deploying it. 
The system worked perfectly with 10 users and 20 users, but was collapsed when hundreds of users used it. 

The system was build for few thousand users. The CEO wasted few years and a lot of money. 

The Business users lack a crucial Core Business application.     

A Conspiracy of Silence
About 50% of the enterprises in my country selected that product for Large Applications. All of them fail and lost Time and Money.

No one told his colleagues that he failed ( except a brave CIO presenting his failure in a conference few years after the failure).

I was less popular than other Consultants by worrying all my customers not to select the Software product. 

I lost Consultancy Projects bids because the Local Distributor was large and influential.

Is anyone Capable of Deploying the Software Product successfully for Complex Applications used by a Large number of users?
The answer is definitely not. 
The product was an excellent product, as long as it was deployed for relatively simple applications used by less than 100 users.  

The CIO was arrogant:
The number of organizations in USA which fail was large. No organization in USA was successful.

The assumption that all of them fail because they were not wise or were not good IT professionals was ridiculous.

Gartner's analysts, Meta Group analysts and IDC analysts opinion was similar to mine.

My Take
I was lucky. I recommended to many customers to avoid of that product, as far as Large and Complex systems were concerned. The CIO which was fired was the only one who ignored my advice. 


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Consultants Typology: The Self-deprecating Consultant

This post is the third post in the Consultants Typology posts. The first post is about two different Consultant types: All Around Consultants and Niche Consultants. The second post described the Consultants who knows everything

The term Self-deprecating was used in another post: Customer Typology: The Self-deprecating Customer.
That post described a Customer who accepts any thing a Consultant recommends. This post describes an upside down state: The Consultant accepts anything the Customer would like him to recommend.

The ideology of the Self-deprecating Consultant
The Self-deprecating Consultant first priority is a satisfied customer.

In order that the customer will be satisfied, he assumes that the customer, would like confirmation of his views, therefore he supports the customers views enthusiastically.

For example, if the Customer has to select a Software product, the Consultant will praise the product, which he assumes the customer prefers. He will explain why that product fits better than other products to the customer's requirements. He will explain: why this product's future is brighter than other products' future, the advantages of the product's vendor in comparison to other vendors etc.

Sometimes, an experienced consultant, could describe the advantages better than the customer. 

Who should use the Self-deprecating Consultant's services?
When the customer is a high class professional, who can make the right decision and knows how to execute the project, he actually does not need a professional consultant.  

The main issue is approval by the top management. The Self-deprecating Consultant could be a valuable resource: He is an experienced Consultant who worked for many enterprises, he is not an employee,  so he could be less biased by intra-organizational politics.

Why you should use another Consultant's services?
"The Failure is orphan" but not in the case of the Self-deprecating Consultant. The Self-deprecating Customer could blame his Consultant, but the Self-deprecating Consultant has no one to blame. He will be responsible for a failure.
By the way, the probability of a failure is high. 

Usually a Consultant is hired because he is more experienced than the Customer and/or because he is more knowledgeable and/or because his better understanding of the subject matter.  

As far as the Self-deprecating Consultant is concerned, even if he knows and understands better than the Customer, the products will not be better than products produced without any consultant's help.   

What is a Consultant role?
The consultant's role is to help the customer to improve his decisions making and/or the assimilation of the decisions taken. 

The bottom line is real Value for the customer.
In order to perform his role sometimes the Consultant should oppose the Customer's wrong decisions or at least the decisions the Consultant is convinced that are wrong decisions.

The Self-deprecating Consultant will not oppose any Customer's decisions, so sometimes the Customer chose an unsuitable product and/or wrong strategy and/or wrong Architecture and/or wrong Platform etc.  

My Take
More than 40 organizations asked for my consultancy services. I never was a Self-deprecating Consultant. Unfortunately, I had to tell some customers that they should change their decisions. Some of them changed the Consultant instead of changing the direction or the decisions or the proposed technical process. 

Usually, after two or three years they fail.

Other customers were more Flexible and Adaptive and changes their views, decisions, processes etc.
Usually, they provided Value to their organizations.

The next post will include some examples.   

Monday, May 11, 2015

Vendors Survival: Will Microsoft Survive until 2023? -Revisited

Bob Dylan's song  in the video above is about The Times They Are A-Changin'.
Information Technology Leading Vendors are also changing.

If a company does not adapt to changes it may not Survive or it may Survive but no longer as The Market Leader. 

The first three sections of the post are about Computers Industry Revolutions. The fourth is about, the current revolution. The sections following these sections, are a discussion of Microsoft's Survival probability.

You can't compete with NCR

Thomas Watson Jr.
Source: Wikipedia
When Thomas Watson Jr. replaced his father as IBM's president in 1956, he was told that he will not be able to compete with the Computers Industry Leader NCR

In 1956 I was in a kinder garden. In the beginning of the decade starting on 1970, I was working as a junior Computers Programmer: IBM was the Computers Industry Leader. 

NCR is now a player in the Automatic Teller Machines, Retail Store Automation and Self-Service Kiosks markets. NCR is far from being an Information Technology Market Leader.
Teradata, which was acquired by NCR is a leader in the Data Warehouse Market.  

Many young people's opinion is that IBM Mainframes are Dinosaurous. It is a Myth: The dinsaurous Myth.
IBM's Mainframe computers, which enabled it to displace NCR as the Computer Industry Leader, are still alive and kicking, but they are no longer IBM's leading product.

IBM is still a major player in the IT Industry and a Leader in markets such as: SOA, Integration, BPM and Business Intelligence.

Software and Personal Computers

Bill Gates
Source: Wikipedia
The next revolution was in the 80es: the Personal Computers and Software centered industry.
The significance of PCs was the ability of corporate and home users to execute applications on their personal computers instead of competing with other users on Mainframes and Mid Range Servers resources. 

The shift from Hardware based revenues to Software based revenues model was a real challenge for the leading hardware vendors: IBM, HP and Dec. IBM and HP survived. DEC did not.  

Microsoft with its Office suite and Windows Operating System was the new Information Technology Leader.

The World Wide Web

Larry Page.
Source Wikipedia

The World Wide Web was the 90es revolution: You can access any data uploaded by anyone in the world. People could connect their PCs to Servers anywhere in the Web and use their computing resources and applications. 

It has business implications as well: For example, Size was no longer the advantage of large companies only. A Web site with adequate application could unite a lot of users from anywhere consuming a service or buying a product.

The World Wide Web matured form a Web 1.0 to Web 2.0

In the beginning of the decade of 2000, Google emerged as the WEB 2.0 Market Leader and gradually become the IT Leader.

Microsoft and IBM were still Market leaders in many market segments.

Cloud Computing and Consumerization
What was last years revolution? some people will say Smart phones. Others would say Big Data. No doubt,  Smart phones and Big Data, are important technologies, but in my opinion the real revolutions are Consumerization and Cloud Computing.

The Consumer before the Enterprise technology model replaced the Enterprise before the Consumer model. New Technologies are applied to Consumers environment and only afterwards are assimilated in Enterprises.

smart Phones, Pablets and even Tablets are Consumerization enabling technologies. Wearables are also consumerization technologies.

Smart phones, Pablets and Tablets are the PCs of the future IT: they are Personal, but also small size and Mobile.

Cloud Computing
Public Clouds gradually replace in house computing infrastructure of SMBs. SMBs may not need Servers at all and use pre-built Saas applications.

Large Enterprises will use Hybrid Clouds

Consumers Smart Phones, Pablets and Wearables will be connected to larger applications and Big Data located in a Public Cloud, few Public Clouds or Public Clouds and Private Clouds. Many of them are already connected to Clouds such as iCloud.
Will Microsoft Survive until 2023 - Revisited?

Satya Nadella
 Source: Wikipedia

Less than two years ago, I wrote a post titled: Vendors Survival: Will Microsoft Survive Until 2023?
I wrote that post because Steve Balmer stepped down as the CEO of Microsoft. 

My Take paragraph included the following sentence: "It is too early  to tell if the new CEO could change the non-Innovative giant company to more Agile Innovative company".

It looks like something was changed after Satya Nadella was selected to be Microsoft's CEO.

Nadella's background is different from Bill Gates's background and Steve Balmer's background. He was born and raised in India and migrated to USA. 

He was working with Sun Microsystems as a member of its technology staff prior to joining Microsoft.

He had to adapt to another culture in order to succeed in education and in his career in USA. 

He add to adapt to Microsoft's Organizational Culture and Business approach which was very different from Sun Microsystems Culture and Business attitude. 

He was not employed only by the Leading IT vendor and therefore should be more open to other approaches.

If you read the article about him in Wikipedia, you will discover that he led Microsoft's move to Cloud Computing and "he was credited for helping bring Microsoft's Databases, Windows Servers and development to its Azure cloud". 

Cloud first strategy
No wonder that Nadella coined the Cloud first strategy emphasizing Azure and Cloud Services.
I do not know if the strategy is a byproduct of his Cloud Computing background or his Cloud Computing successful roles promoted him to the CEO role.

Anyway, as you already read in previous section titled: "Cloud Computing and Consumerization" this strategy is in the right direction. 

Mobile first strategy
Mobile first strategy could be also a strategy following the market trends. As far as execution of the strategy is concerned, probably it is not executed as well as the Cloud first strategy. 

Open Source
15 years ago, I participated in TV debate about Open Source. I was advocating Open Source as a viable approach. The other participant was a CXO of Microsoft's largest partner in my country. He told the audience why Open Source is not as good as Close Source i.e Microsoft's products. 

15 years ago, Microsft's strategy was based on binding customers to its products, mainly to Windows, Office and .net development environment.

Microsoft was changed in the last years and it supports Open Source and other vendors products. For example, read: Windows Azure and new Oracle DB up in a tree.

Mark Hachman, PC World's senior editor analyzed Microsoft's fourth quarter of 2014 results, which exceeded analysts expectations. However, Windows results were less good than expected. 

In an article titled: In Microsoft 's mobile-first cloud-first strategy Windows take a supporting role, He asked: "Can Microsoft afford to make Windows free?"

The Bottom Line
Microsoft is better adapting to the new Information Technology revolution than before. Its new CEO Satya Nadella should be credited for this change. 

The probability that it Survive until 2023 was high probability. It is higher probability than the probability I assigned to its survival before Steve Balmer stepped down as its CEO. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Case Management Frameworks: A growing subset of the Case Management market

Recently I read a new Gartner Magic Quadrant. The Magic Quadrant is titled: Magic Quadrant for BPM-Platform-Based Case Management Frameworks (12 March 2015). 

It is a new Magic Quadrant relating to a subset of the Case Management market. Case Management frameworks is a growing market, which is important enough for producing a Magic Quadrant. The Magic Quadrant was written by Gartner's analysts Jannet B. Hill, Kenneth Chin and Rob Dunie.  

What is a Case Management Framework?
It is possible to build a solution based on Model Driven tools or on Coding tools or COTS (Commercial Of The Shelf). 
if you need less flexibility COTS are better fit then modeling tool.

Case Management Use Case is exactly the opposite of a fixed solution. It is management of complex and less structured Processes performed by Knowledge Workers. A Case Management Process include ad hoc decisions based on Knowledge, Content and interaction with other experts.  

The Decision Centered subset requires even more flexibility than the other subsets of this market, therefore CMFs are Model Driven. Actually, they are Patterns, which should be adapted for specific Processes. 

The illustration is based on text retrieved from Gartner's Magic Quadrant for
Case Management Frameworks

The simple illustration above this line, depicts five layers of a CMF.

The lower basic layer is a BPM solution. The BPM solution could be a BPM product, a BPM suite or a complete IBPMS suite.

The second layer "General Purpose" is the only required layer in addition to basic BPM layer. It is Architectural Pattern for casework handling.

The third and fourth optional layers are cross-industry and industry specific business domain logic.

The fifth (optional) is a complete executing solution. 

Vendors positioning
Only two vendors, Pegasystems and IBM are positioned in the Leaders part of the Magic Quadrant. Appian is the only Challenger.
EMC and Eccentex are the only Visionaries.
The Niche Players are: Opentext, Newgen Software, K2, Kofax, Hyland and Micropact.

My Take
I have two reasons for not discussing CMFs beyond the limited discussion in previous sections.

The first reason is that you can read Gartner's Magic Quadrant. The analysts know better than me.

The second reason is that the CMF market is very immature. I repeat my comment on the IBPMS market in a post I wrote two and a half years ago: "Expect Challenges in Immature markets like IBPMS". Replace the acronym IBPMS by the acronym CMF and you will know exactly what I think of the Maturity level of the CMF market.

However, My Take includes some remarks:

  • IBPMs Leaders are the the best candidates for leading the CMF market.
The two Leaders (Pegasystems and IBM) are also leaders of the IBPMS Magic Quadrant. The only Challenger (Appian) is the only Leader of the IBPMS Magic Quadrant, which is not a CMF Leader. I would not be surprised, if Appian will be a Leader in the next CMF Magic Quadrant.

  • It is not a coincidence: CMF functionality is included in IBPMS 
IBPMS includes all BPM Use Cases. Case Management is such a Use Case. CMF is a subset of Case Management.

  •   Do not expect pure BPM vendors to be CMF Leaders 
For the same reason that you should not be surprised to find IBPMS Leaders as CMF leaders, you should be surprised to find a pure BPM in the CMF Leaders square. 
  • Gartner's CMF model is still immature and the evaluation criteria and the requirements could be changed in next CMF Magic Quadrant
According to Gartner's Magic Quadrant report, IBM and K2 support only the  basic layers of CMF. A Leader (IBM) who does not support three of the five layers, implies  market immaturity, as well as evaluation criteria immaturity. 

  • I never heard of some of the Niche Players
It is not because of my ignorance. The reason that I never heard of Eccentex, MicroPact and Hyland, is the CMF market immaturity. 

It is exactly like the IBPMS Magic Quadrant of 2012. Whitestein Technologies is an IBPMS Visionary I never heard of. Mr. Dominic Greenwood, its COO, commented that it is not surprising, due to the company's low profile outside Europe. 

  • Who is missing from the CMF magic Quadrant?
All the vendors positioned in the Visionary square of the Updates IBPMS Magic Quadrant of 2014, were not included. These vendors are: Oracle, Tibco Software, Software AG, VitriaWhitestein Technologies and Bosch Software Information.

Missing BPMS Leaders and IBPMS significant market players such as Oracle, Tibco and Software AG is another indicator of market immaturity. Expect to find some of them as Visionaries, Challengers or even Leaders in an updated  CMF Magic Quadrant. 

Oracle is a giant which could survive without IBPMS product, but why should not Oracle attempt to lead the IBPMS market, as well as the CMF market?
It can afford acquiring an IBPMS or CMF vendor, same as it already did in the BPM market, the SOA market and the ERP market. 

Software AG and Tibco Software are large companies, but the BPMS/IBPMS Business Line is their main Business Line. They have no choice but to try to close the gap in the CMF market.

They can extend their products functionality or acquire a CMF vendor.

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