Gartner weighs in on Trilogy acquisition of Savvion

Last week, I wrote about the Savvion acquisition and what it might mean for customers.  Gartner has now weighed in with their opinion.  Quoting from the post:

  • Current Savvion customers: Hold off on making new investments until Trilogy clarifies any changes to the go-to-market and development plans for Savvion. Watch for Trilogy to communicate Aurea’s strategy before the deal closes on 30 November 2012 as promised.
  • Prospective Savvion customers: Delay your decision until Trilogy announces the road map for the Aurea iBPMS, as it may not be the same as the Savvion road map.

Like I said last week – roadmap and the execution of that roadmap is going to be the key.

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Do we really need another category for BPM?

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A few weeks ago, Gartner released it’s updated review of the business process management vendor landscape – the Magic Quadrant for BPMS.  Except this time, it wasn’t called BPMS – they added an “i” in front of it to make a shiny new iBPMS.  Why the extra vowel?  Why not?

Needless to say, the new category has created a bit of a stir with folks, including BPM Redux and a few others.   I’ll leave it to others to discuss the intricacies of the report and how it was made (I work for IBM, and we did okay).  What I find most interesting is how this report is another example of the different categories that pop up around the market for BPM.  Over the years we’ve had event-driven BPM, responsive BPM, agile BPM, smart BPM, cloud BPM, human-centric BPM, integration-centric BPM…. and we now have iBPM, which will be closely followed by “Big Process” BPM.

I know we want to capture the unique aspects of our products and differentiate ourselves.  But instead of creating a new category, why don’t we just evolve the definition? When we create dozens of categories for products that address the same problem domain, all we create is confusion.

Why don’t we just call it “BPM” and go from there? From there, it’s possible to have a meaningful debate on what that means.  In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review article looked at customer stickiness and the negative impact of making your products too hard to understand:

 The single biggest driver of (customer) stickiness, by far, was “decision simplicity”—the ease with which consumers can gather trustworthy information about a product and confidently and efficiently weigh their purchase options. What consumers want from marketers is, simply, simplicity.

Maybe I’m a simpleton.  But I am constantly bombarded with “new” and completely unneeded categories.  Like the iPad Mini. It’s a tablet, not a mini-tablet.  Or rental cars.  It’s a full-size, four-door, two-door, compact, and death-trap (subcompact). Not the Green Traveler Collection, Prestige Collection, and Adrenaline Collection.  Oh, you haven’t been to Hertz recently?  But the king of too-many-categories is toothpaste.  There was an interesting article in WSJ last year on the proliferation of different kinds of toothpaste.  At the time of writing, there were 359 different types of toothpastes on the market.

It’s a pretty day here in Dallas, so I am off to go for a ride on my time-trial velocipede.  No it’s not a bicycle.  Totally different.

Trilogy buys Savvion

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Late last week, Trilogy announced that they were buying Savvion, Sonic, and a few of the remaining parts put on sale by Progress back in April.  From the press release:

The software investment arm of Trilogy Enterprises, one of the largest privately held enterprise software companies in the world, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire four Progress Software businesses – Sonic, Savvion, Actional and DXSI. Trilogy will combine the businesses to form the core of a new “best of breed” intelligent business process, application, and data management company. The new company will be called Aurea Software and will be headed by enterprise software industry veteran Scott Brighton. Brighton currently serves as President of Trilogy Enterprises.

It is an interesting move for Trilogy, who has a few BPM products on the truck currently, including Versata.

Overall, it is good news for Savvion customers and the BPM market in general.  Savvion customers should expect to see a roadmap from Trilogy in the coming weeks, and will have a better basis to make their decision on future direction.

Contrary to what you might expect, the next 6-12 months are going to be pretty boring from a customer standpoint.  The focus is going to be internal.  You can bet that Trilogy is not going to tell existing customers that the world is going to change overnight.  Current products will be supported, a lot of the same staff will stick around to see how things play out.  It starts to get interesting in the 12-24 month time frame.  Which direction is Trilogy going to take?  Roll in BPM into their industry solutions?  Stand-alone BPM?  What about rules and events?  Progress kept those pieces (Corticon and Apama).  It will certainly be interesting to see how this unfolds.