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Does Microsoft already own the BPM space?

Incumbency creep

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Reg Tech Panel Business Process Management is not a particularly new term, but it has received a pretty big boost in visibility recently as some vendors seem to be positioning it as the next big thing in IT.

The problem is that the term means different things to different people – vendors and users alike. Apart from the fact that the associated initialism, BPM, can also stand for “Business Performance Monitoring” in some circles and “Business Process Modelling” in others, the “Business Process Management” flavour of BPM in itself is used to refer to everything from process modelling and simulation, through document centric workflow engines, to middleware technology for coordinating web services requests between systems.

The danger is that if this bandwagon really gets rolling, all sorts of things will be thrown on the back of it on the premise that they help organisations to automate, monitor and manage the evolution of the business processes that underpin their operations – which is basically what BPM is about.

In the meantime, there is a good chance that Microsoft tools will spring to many people’s minds when you mention business processes and how they are designed, documented and communicated. Whether it is PowerPoint based process diagrams embedded in (or backed up by) Word documents, more structured diagrams produced in Visio, or process performance data collated and analysed in Excel, the likelihood is that Microsoft will be in the mix somewhere.

And if you need more, Microsoft is there with workflow solutions, middleware, analytics, and a lot more - so why would you ever look to BPM technology from the likes of IBM, Oracle, or specialists like Lombardi?

Well, you tell us. Are lightweight desktop tools adequate? Is the potential of Microsoft creep acceptable? Do other vendors positioning strongly in this area with “BPM suites” have something to offer? Or is it all just more hype best ignored?

Give us your thoughts in the comment section below, or better still, complete our latest Reg Technology Panel survey and help us to really get to the bottom of what going on in the BPM space. ®

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