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I’m curious about those analysts who talk about the widespread adoption, even maturity, of BPM, because I ain’t seeing it. My employer is doing a brisk business selling to customers who usually have no BPM solution currently in place, and things show no sign of slowing down, as they would in a more mature market.

But, OK, that’s just anecdotal. So I offer the following data point: in a recent survey of 110 CIOs of sub-$1 billion companies, only 44 (or 40%) answered affirmatively to the question, Do you have a BPM
project or initiative inside your organization?
.  Even 40% would be a decent level of saturation, but these CIOs are reporting projects, not installed, operating solutions.

Even more interesting, or perhaps confusing, is that fully 87 (or 80%) answered affirmatively to the question, Are you attempting to
automate some of your manual, paper based processes?
(not including a number of others who answered with variations on “no, but we will soon”).  So only about half the CIOs looking to automate their manual processes seem to consider that effort a “BPM project or initiative”.  That is not a sign of a mature market.

There are a couple of possibilities here. One is that the analysts are simply delusional (a point of view I’ve been known to advocate now and again), and BPM is still in the early stages of its adoption and maturity. The other, though, is that analysts are simply not paying enough attention to the sub-$1 billion marketplace when they look at how BPM is being procured and deployed. That would also explain why we do find very mature, multi-vendor solutions and even BPM centers of excellence in some of the largest companies, even as smaller firms remain in the dark.

So, does BPM have a role in the medium-sized enterprise?  I sure think so.  And… hmmm, then again, maybe I’ll save that discussion for next time.

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