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Anne Stuart’s BPM in Action

Dennis Byron

If BPM is the new ERP, where are the Hogans, the HBOs and the JDAs?

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When I started researching the ERP market in 1993 for Datapro, I quickly found there were over 100 ERP software providers even though most analysts only counted Oracle, J.D. Edwards, SAP and a dozen or so guys that are now part of Infor. (Some analysts even counted Hyperion’s accounting software as ERP, a credit to one of the best PR people I ever met, Judith Rothrock. She was able to convince some pretty savvy people that little Hyperion deserved to be mentioned in the same breath with the big boys. A few years later she pulled off the same play while quarterbacking Lawson’s PR.)

The difference between their list and mine was that I counted software supporting all industries rather than simply that which supported manufacturing. After all, what was HBO & Company’s (now McKesson) healthcare delivery software but ERP for healthcare? What was Hogan’s software but ERP for banks?

The logical extension of that process: what was the original SAP R/2 but a pharmaceuticals-specific ERP package? A business process management (BPM) trend I’ve started to watch here at ebizQ is the growth of industry-specific BPM suites. If what I found in the ERP market years ago holds true for BPM, it will turn out that dozens of these products already exist but are simply called something else.

For example:
• Over at it-director.com, Bloor’s Simon Holloway points out that Apriso’s FlexNet manufacturing execution system is really manufacturing-specific BPM software.
• Fort Washington PA-based Feith recently announced that it follows the U. S Department of Defense (DoD) 5015.2 standard. I have no idea what that means but based on the press release it looks like Feith’s lead product is a government-specific BPM product (even DoD-specific?)
FTS, an Israel-based provider of Billing, CRM and Business Control solutions specializes in communication and content service providers; FTS’ BPM engine is actually the Oracle/BEA AquaLogic product
Kaulkin Information Systems of Rockville MD creates workflow, document, and business process management technologies for its financial-services clients

Where are the equivalent BPM products for healthcare, retail, education and so forth? I suspect the list goes on and on just as it did for ERP and ebizQ would like to hear from you if you have such an industry-specific BPM solution. Particularly if you support the financial-services industry, see the information about our upcoming article here and participate in our survey.

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I agree with your point, but I would not be surprised to discover that most of the industry-specific BPM's are (or will soon) embedding a "generalist" BPM. As you pointed out, FTS is doing that already, probably having developed a wide range of industry-specific processes and perhaps few adapters to some specific technology.
By doing that the company gains flexibility and free resources for their core business (developing industry-specific processes).
Guido Campani.

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Business process management and optimization -- philosophies, policies, practices, and punditry.

Anne Stuart

I am the editor of ebizQ.

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