Technology Evaluators and Analysts: Love them and hate them…..depending on how your product has recently been rated (speaking as someone in the software application space). I have to believe the job of a technology analyst is extremely hard. In mature technology spaces, it is inevitable that the number of vendors becomes great, and to make matters more difficult, as standards and protocols across the technologies become similar (and hard to distinguish), it becomes a greater feat to delineate the functional differences across the products.
With all this in mind, for mature technology spaces, of which I consider BPM to be, what is the true value in spending the time and energy to distinguish the mature technologies? Does it really matter than one BPM vendor has 612 features compared to another BPM vendor that as 484 features? Not to me. As all mature BPM Suites have 1000s of features and functions, if Vendor A has one specific feature that Vendor B does not, does that make Vendor A the better BPM Suite? Does this confuse customers and prospects rather than make BPM value more clear? It’s a question I think about regularly. Isn’t having too much to think about paralyzing?
In mature technologies, the majority of applications can help companies achieve the same goals….but the route taken to accomplish these goals can vary greatly. For companies who are looking to acquire and invest (heavily in some cases I may add) in new tools, methodologies and processes , I can easily see that reading analyst reports can blur many lines of thought with regards to what is really important to that company. Does anyone really do analysis on a graphical vendor placing report, where 2 inches of separation between dots in a chart means a BPM product is 2x better than the dot that is 4 inches away? Who knows.
Hearing and studying how active customers are currently successful with the technology is the ultimate testimony. Product marketing and analysts reports provide information about company profiles and technologies, but consider the power of company testimonials….even at the simplest level. Have you ever taken your dry cleaning to a new place just because you have a friend who touts how well the new place around the corner is? Have you ever bought a specific brand of running shoes because someone swears by them? We all have.
I welcome companies new to the BPM space to focus on company testimonials and actual examples. Check out vendor websites and the stories of how real life customers solved their real life problems with BPM technologies. When you talk to BPM vendors, ask if you can speak with their customers directly (rather than being chaperoned through a conversation). In many ways, what actual BPM users say about their experiences and success or failures is far more valuable than an eye chart in a lengthy report. Not to mention that you can plot a meaningful customer satisfaction graph if you’re making your decision visually!
VP Product and Technology