Comparing BPM from Appian, Oracle and IBM (2011)
Business Process Management (BPM) has become a key focus for many companies, whether aimed at streamlining and automating critical processes, reducing costs or improving process effectiveness. The ability of BPM to bridge the divide between business communities and the IT systems running business operations makes systems more agile and responsive to changing business needs, improves operational visibility which enables better governance and control, and opens the way to broader and deeper levels of business transformation and innovation.
Lustratus has produced a number of competitive reviews of different BPM offerings, and this latest considers BPM offerings from a relatively young vendor, Appian, together with two industry stalwarts in the shape of Oracle and IBM. Each company has ended up with a different approach. Appian is a ‘pure play’ BPM vendor that has already experienced some considerable success, while IBM and Oracle have a long history of integration and SOA software that has been augmented to deliver BPM functionality and solutions. Appian has targeted making teams of individuals more productive and efficient with social networking-based collaborative BPM processes, while also allowing for expansion of these BPM projects into other areas. Oracle has been consistently updating its Fusion Middleware platform to add BPM capabilities, but it has maintained a ‘bottom-up’ approach to BPM focused around the technology. IBM started from a technology position too, but has become committed to BPM as a driver of business value right from the top down, greatly reinforcing this commitment by shifting to a business-led approach to process optimization and transformation coupled with a large library of ‘packaged’ BPM solution templates for many industry and cross-industry process needs.
But the difficulty for senior managers is that BPM can seem quite a complex area, with vendor presentations quickly dropping down into long and confusing lists of detailed technology arguments and functional checklists. What many managers are looking for is sufficient information on the different vendor approaches to be able to get a feel for at least a priority list of potential suppliers. This assessment tries to satisfy this need, taking a high level look at the BPM functionality offered by each of these players and drawing out some of the main differences.
The analysis presented in this report assesses each offering based on the time to value for particular projects, TCO implications, how the solution affects risk and what the broader value potential might be.