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Do Stack Vendors Stifle BPM Innovation?
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Do Stack Vendors Stifle BPM Innovation?

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A big discussion broke out on Dennis Byron's blog about this very subject, which you can read right here, and seems like a good subject for the ebizQ Forum. So the question is, do stack vendors stifle innovation both for BPM and for IT in general?

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  • I don’t think they do. Indeed, they perhaps innovate and reach too much in many respects. They focus on what’s in the hype stream versus what will solve core issues.

  • I don't think so either, although they definitely try to innovate most in areas that support their world view, so there is some limitation in the directions that they view as important. And by nature of their marketing power and market presence, there's undoubtedly leverage to tilt initial potential customer acceptance of some new technologies or types of innovation.

  • Looks like everyone's in violent agreement here. I definitely don't think stack vendors stifle innovation overall. It is certainly true that they are going to innovate in areas that best serve their own interests.

  • Take away profit, and you will eventually stifle innovation. Probably a little less true today than it used to be because of the wide reach of the internet and a lot of people doing stuff, just because they want to prove a point. In a down-economy - definitely yes. Perhaps Stifle is too strong, perhaps stall is better?

    Remember Shareware? That did stifle Innovation for a while as it made some products a commodity and innovation died! One reason "Free" stuff will do that is because procurement will use it to beat down price with real innovative companies (how do you compete with free?). I don't know about you, but I'm done working for free!

  • Since I suggested the topic to Peter, here's my opinion.

    Market research--which is what I do-- shows us that it is the "higher order" product (higher in the stack the way us IT folks think) that almost always has the perceived value. I believe the so-called stack supplier community (why I say "so-called" is another Forum question some day) is adding the value at the BPM level going forward, not at the app server level and definitely no longer at the web server level (since they all build in Apache HTTP).

    There is an argument, that I don't agree with but that I understand, that some suppliers put more innovation into their SOA functionality instead of BPM process and rules engines, and related choreography/orchestration tools.

    Over on my blog post on this subject, SAP NetWeaver product manager Harald Nehring explains why.

    -- Dennis

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