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Even though we're at the start of a new year, some things don't change. For example, I believe the increasing importance of business process management solutions in business and IT strategies that we've seen over the past few years will continue to accelerate in 2007. In fact, I predict that 2007 will be a significant year for the widespread adoption and use of BPM technologies.

The BPM market will continue its significant growth in 2007. In addition, we're starting to see a growing maturity of the customer base. Many organizations that purchased BPM solutions over the past few years are starting to ramp up and broaden out their deployment of new processes. Numerous BPM vendors I've spoken with have cited customer bases that are moving from departmentally-focused solutions to company-wide or division-oriented process deployments.

We've also seen widespread adoption of process modeling, as well as an acknowledgement of business process management as a separate discipline and an area that organizations need to focus on in order to remain competitive. BPM in 2007 is not just for early adopters anymore-almost every business (small and large) can successfully take advantage of solutions available.

The goal remains (for most organizations and most BPM implementations) of putting the business owners in charge of the business processes. That's also the focus of most BPM products, but there remains the need for BPM solutions to straddle both business and IT. Over the past year we've seen some vendors focusing more on the business side and reaching out to broader and broader audiences through better and easier modeling capabilities or deeper business intelligence or business activity monitoring capabilities, while other BPM vendors are aiming more for the IT side, through increased focus on service level agreements and managing and integrating with IT processes.

There continues to be a variety of reasons that organizations are looking at BPM products. For many vendors and organizations, SOA plays an important part in both the selling (and purchasing) of BPM and the definition of the appropriate architecture for BPM solutions. However, I don't believe that full-scale re-use of either services or processes is a reality yet for most companies-effective re-use requires good lifecycle management practices, an effective environment for collaboration and great communication capabilities. Over time, I believe that forward-looking companies will be able to capture solid re-use benefits from both SOA and BPM solutions. We'll also see the continued importance of using BPM solutions to meet compliance requirements. Another key driver for many companies is the continued need for greater flexibility, agility and rapid adoption and deployment of new solutions.


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