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The cloud workflow zoo

You might say that the ‘traditional’ BPM technology platform marketplace is maturing / mature, and you’d be right. The products that dominate the market for on-premises, business-critical business process automation platforms are pretty mature and stable. We haven’t quite got to the point where we got to with RDBMSs 10 years ago – where IBM, Oracle and Microsoft were basically the only commercial games in town – but there’s a long tail of suppliers addressing specific market niches and doing that in a very sustainable way even though the highest-profile players dominate in a pure revenue sense.

However – however.

There is a CRAZY amount of experimentation and launch activity adjacent to this mature market; the market for easy-to-use, cloud-based, agile workflow platforms that you can subscribe to (typically on a per-user-per-month basis).

Here’s a list of players/platforms I’m tracking right now – in alphabetical order:

All these companies are focused on enabling people to share and schedule work tasks. In addition I’m also looking at Zapier, IFTTT, FlowXO and And of course keeping track of the lightweight cloud-based offerings from the established large players like Pega 7 Express, Software AG’s AgileApps Live and so on.

You might think that this zoo of startups can’t last – that many will fall by the wayside soon. However I’m not so sure: when you look at the costs of developing, running and selling such a service, there’s no reason that a cloud-based workflow platform would necessarily suffer from a high burn rate. (As an aside, KiSSFLOW cites over 10,000 customers; assuming every customer makes the minimum possible customer commitment, that’s just shy of $6m annual revenue).

I’m hoping to publish a proper analysis of this space in the coming quarter. My question is: when it comes to providers of lightweight workflow tools that are solely or predominantly cloud-served, who am I missing? Please provide any thoughts in the comments below!

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