BPM Software Market Taking Off

Survey shows rapid uptick in BPM market.

The business of automating and streamlining business processes is taking off. At least that's the conclusion of an August report from research firm IDC, which predicts the business process management software (BPMS) market will grow from $890 million in 2006 to $5.5 billion by 2011. The 44 percent cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) over the period makes BPMS one of the fastest growing software sectors, according to an IDC press release.

Behind the heady numbers? The report singles out the relatively small size of the nascent BPMS market, which leaves plenty of room for growth. Strong uptake is also expected from customers of large platform vendors like IBM Corp., Oracle Corp., BEA Systems Inc. and TIBCO Software Inc., as these companies bundle BPMS with their suites and drive adoption, the report finds.

According to Maureen Fleming, IDC program director for Business Process Integration and Deployment Software, the race for market share is on.

"This year and next are critical years for BPMS vendors," Fleming states in a press release. "Most of the vendors have invested in their next-generation capabilities. For those who aren't already, the focus should be on investing time, effort, energy and cash building market share."

A number of pure-play BPMS providers are engaged in the market, along with several firms that are part of the Microsoft-sponsored Business Process Alliance (BPA). The BPA is an organization of businesses that are committed to building BPMS solutions on the Microsoft platform. Member firms include Bluespring Software Inc., K2 and Metastorm Inc.

.NET a Driver
Jeff Mills, Bluespring's VP of channel development and partner enrichment, says reports from IDC, Forrester Research Inc. and other research organizations show that Microsoft-aligned BPMS providers are driving growth in the sector.

"I think from a validation standpoint, .NET has beyond arrived," Mills says.

The diversity of competing vendors is fueling different approaches, says Mills, who lists document-centric, human-centric and integration-centric BPMS products. He argues that a holistic solution remains out of reach.

"We are seeing a tremendous amount of growth in the market, primarily because BPMS technology relies on effectively rolling people into the process. And the easiest way to do that is to bring them into Office tools, because that is what they know and use," Mills says.

Bluespring aims to put business process experts in control, using graphical tools to allow non-technical managers to craft and deploy business rules and processes. The company's interpretive XML model enables customers to pause, refine and then restart deployed processes in flight, allowing businesses to iterate their efforts.

"Our infrastructure is built for iteration," says Mills. "It doesn't require you to pray you've got it perfect before you go live."

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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