1) Leadership BPM by Rashid N. Khan
Last year, Rashid retired as the CEO of Ultimus and now he started a blog in which he shares his vast amount of experience.
During this period I was involved in 100s of BPM deployments worldwide and collected a wealth of experience. Now that I have retired from Ultimus, I want to leverage this expeience and help senior executives to learn about and benefit from BPM and related technologies. I have a unique perspective and I have been very focused on the practical, nuts-and-bolts issues about BPM that senior executives have to understand if they are going to fully realize the potential of BPM.The nice thing is that he now can give an independent, unconstrained look on things. Opinions of that skill and which can speek freely are hard to find.
In What it will take to deliver BPM as SaaS?, he already seems to pinpoint the crucial conditions of the latest BPM as a service hype.
In my judgment BPM SaaS has to have the following characteristics as a minimum. First, it must have the ability to model and modify executable processes in a hosted application. The ability to design executable processes, in contrast to simple flow diagram, is pretty challenging. ... Second, BPM SaaS must have the ability to allow customers to integrate with their inside-the-firewall data and other applications. This is crucial because BPM deals with company’s data and interacts with other applications. Without effective integration only the very simplistic BPM processes are candidates for SaaS, and CxOs are reluctant to invest money or mindshare on simplistic processes. Integration is the Achille’s heel of BPM SaaS and solutions for this will evolve only gradually. Perhaps the best approach for BPM vendors is the emerging class of "application appliances" that leverage virtualization technology to deliver inside-the-firewall solutions on a SaaS basis. This has the potential of solving the integration problem. I will discuss it in another blog as this is a topic on its own. Third, and easiest, is the ability for end-users to participate in business processes using a browser. ... Fourth, BPM SaaS must provide a means for customers to monitor and administer their processes over the Internet. Again, with the emergence of AJAX and RIAs, this is not a challenging obstacle. And fifth, BPM SaaS must provide some web-based reporting, BI and BAM capabilities.In Is the BPM Industry stuck in no-man’s land?, Rashid starts by pointing out that BPM systems didn't get to the mainstream as they always envisioned:
Even if I take a conservative forecast and assume that the market was $1 billion in 1998 and growing at 15% per annum, it should be at least $4 billion today. But the most recent forecast continue to put it in the $2 billion range. So where does all the growth fizzle away? Second, every BPM vendor and analyst can provide a number of actual case studies of BPM deployments that demonstrate remarkable ROI and productivity benefits. And it is relatively easy for senior management to understand why BPM can deliver such results. Yet the penetration of BPM in organizations is still small and I would venture to say that less than 10% of processes are automated despite all the ROI and productivity proof points. Third, every year BPM vendors claim impressive growth and publish a roster of new customers. Yet most pure-play BPM vendors are relatively small companies and none have been able to go public despite the claims of growth and the fact that many of them have raised tens of millions of dollars in venture capital.This is exactly what I thought as well and in my opinion this is largely due to the fact that executable processes should be part of the software applications themselves. The big problem still to date is that BPM Systems are considered as monolithic applications that are hard to integrate into a software development project. That is exactly the problem that we have focussed on in jBPM since the very beginning. And indeed it is not an easy one. Rashid seems to come to a similar conclusion:
First, BPM sounds glamorous, but it is not easy. This is because human beings work in extremely complex ways. Developing software that caters to all these ways is not easy. The “human interface” of BPM is complex and challenging. Second, the IT environments in which BPM has to thrive are very complex, varied and in constant flux. BPM cannot be successful without seamless integration with the rest of the IT infrastructure.I hope that Rashid keeps up sharing his points of view.
What's cool for me is that when I started jBPM, Ultimus is actually the first product I looked at to see what the competition was like.
2) Small steps with big feet by Joram Barrez
Joram is a BPM and jBPM guru that I had the opportunity to collaborate with on a few occasions. For all your jBPM performance concerns, make sure you read his blog or get him involved. He tweaked jBPM performance better then we did !
His latest blog Blogs about jBPM you don’t want to miss! provides links to a lot of interesting jBPM related posts that are very informative.
3) PlanetjBPM by Ronald van Kuijk (aka kukeltje)
Ronald provides great practical tips and tricks on jBPM. He's another BPM and jBPM guru calling himself rightfully the jBPM Forum Addict. In practice this means that he helped thousands of people getting started with jBPM over the last 5 years by answering basically every question on the jBPM user forum.