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The Real Value of BPM: Discussing Open Source BPM With BonitaSoft

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Listen to my podcast with Miguel Valdes-Faura, the Chief Executive Officer of BonitaSoft. BonitaSoft's focus is on open source BPM, and that's what we discuss in the podcast, along with the BPM market and cloud-based BPM.

Listen to or download the 8:01 minute podcast below:

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PS: Now, can you give just a general overview of BonitaSoft and the Bonita project?

MVF: Sure. BonitaSoft is a quite young company because we created the company a year ago, so it's an open source provider of BPM. But you know we are relying on almost ten years of R&D on top of the Bonita Project. So the Bonita Project was created in 2001 and I'm also co-founder of this technical project so we were working for the last ten years in different companies. Most of them were integrators so we're experienced on providing BPM applications to customers worldwide on top of the Bonita project.

And last year in 2009, we decided to create our own company so we created BonitaSoft. We got funded by Venture Capital firms and we started the BonitaSoft adventure. So as you mentioned, so our to aim is to democratize the BPM market so basically to put in all the hands a BPM solution that anybody can use for free and with the same level of features that the one you could find in many proprietary vendors.

PS: Well, I imagine most people are thinking what's essentially the biggest difference then of going with an open source BPM versus going with a proprietary model?

MVF: You know that's a just a little completely different for me. I mean one of the good things of doing and running an open source business, and particularly here, an open source BPM business, is you become global immediately, meaning that it's like we created the company last year, we released a new version of the product six months later.

This version was available in different languages and we were promoting this version worldwide through different channels, traditional marketing channels, social media, different open communities and then you become as I said global immediately compared to traditional proprietary business model in which you start in a country then you try to deploy your activity in one particular country.

If you get successful, then you try to move to another country. So you can run your business really fast and that's exactly what's happening. The company started one year ago, we released the new version six months later, immediately we got around 40,000 downloads in average per month from 200 countries. So the adoption is there so now we at really good position to business so the two models are completely different.

PS: Now would you call the BPM market over consolidated right now and what are some of the ramifications of that?

MVF: Yeah, I mean a lot of people came into this BPM market ten years ago so a lot of proprietary companies started BPM business the last ten years so what we see today is that some of them they just closed and some others are now becoming some of the challengers of the big vendors.

But what we are facing today is that most of those challengers, those proprietary BPM vendors, are now being acquired those big vendors. I mean you have example last year with Lombardi that was acquired by IBM so we are facing this consolidation in the BPM market. So for use it's just perfect because it's like we are providing into the market an alternative.

This alternative is having the same level of features that the one provided by the proprietary vendors and its free so it's like, okay, so either you continue working with those big vendors which is great for some particular projects. Either you have concrete and real alternative if you're looking for something else.

PS: Now what is your take on cloud based BPM? What would you say are some of the pros and cons of cloud based BPM?

MVF: You know Peter, that's a good question because you know everybody's talking about cloud. For sure, we are talking also talking about cloud BPM for a couple of months ago.

I think that even the vendors that are trying to leverage the BPM cloud strategy, and they want this strategy to become their main revenue stream. Those guys are not yet experienced this growth because I think that the cloud market is also evolving and it's getting mature but it's not yet there so I think from my point of view, we have two different kinds of cloud market. We have the public cloud; we have the private cloud so most of the people are now trying to make a transition to the private cloud because it's another way to work with our internal servers.

But in terms of how the BPM solutions are going to be deploying to the cloud and how a vendor can provide value as the BPM cloud vendor, again, I think that we have experienced two different phases so development time when you are modeling and developing a BPM application and production time. And even if a lot of vendors are now trying to focus on providing the right technologies for development part of the cloud thing.

The real value today is on the production side, meaning that what the customers are looking for is, okay, I have two guys that can use locally BPM solutions to develop new applications. And then, what they want is to deploy those new applications in a cloud infrastructure and most of the time this cloud infrastructure is going to be a private cloud infrastructure.

But the thing we are not yet ready for a complete BPM cloud solution for both development and production. I'm not saying that this is not going to come but today if it is one focus for me is the production side and this is exactly what we are doing at BonitaSoft so we have a lot of people that are just downloading the solution and using it in a traditional way. And the people that want to use Bonita let's say in a cloud way, what they are doing is they download the product, they start doing things locally and then when they deploy in production then they deploy in a private cloud infrastructure. So again, I see those two faces development versus production and I see the focus today on the production side.

PS: Right. Now, as if you haven't already discussed this, but what would you say is the next big thing in BPM?

MVF: To me, I mean, this is something that we are -- it's a method that we are pushing for the very beginning at BonitaSoft. We think that the focus in the next year is going to be on the user experience meaning that a BPM solution as being a tool that you're going to use, a set of tools that you're going use to build new applications for end users. And most of the people, let's say that the BPM market has been concentrated by years, last year on providing the right modeling tools for the development environments and that's great.

I mean we need those tools and at BonitaSoft side, we are also providing those modeling tools but we think that the focus is going to be on the user experience. If the application that we are building on top of Bonita cannot be used by an end user, then we lost. Because it's like, okay, even if you have the best model in the world, if the application that you are building on top of this solution is not going to be used and isn't going to be accepted by the end users, then this solution is not going to be adopted for a new project. So this is why we are also putting a lot of effort and dedication on providing new capabilities at that allows the end user to easily interact with the BPM application based on Bonita. So we see the focus on the user experience.

ebizQ’s expert blog team covers a broad range of BPM, business integration, business analytics/monitoring, collaboration, content and related issues.

Peter Schooff

Peter Schooff is Contributing Editor at ebizQ, and manager of the ebizQ Forum. Contact him at pschooff@techtarget.com

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