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In this Q & A, Peter Schooff speaks with Jeff Kaplan, managing director of the THINKstrategies consulting firm, who offers insights about Software as a Service trends in BPM.

Peter Schooff: What would you say is going on right now with SaaS BPM?

Jeff Kaplan: Just like SaaS has transformed the way in which we look at almost every other enterprise application area, the same thing is happening now with the business process management space. It's being driven by a number of factors, which are common to the overall market for SaaS-obviously, the economy, and the changing competitive landscape, as well as changing customer attitudes and expectations when it comes to utilizing software and getting the greatest value from those applications.

There's been a growing frustration among organizations and end users of all sizes for a long time. Now that SaaS has established itself as a viable alternative, functionally speaking, it's become a much more appealing alternative financially as well as in terms of its value-added capabilities. So now it's beginning to touch that BPM space and there's a lot of exciting things going on there.

PS: You already touched on this, but to drill down a little bit, what exactly are the market drivers for SaaS BPM?

JK: With this economy and the competitive landscape that we have, and the changing nature of the workplace, there is a growing need to obtain information from a variety of sources that pertain to the performance of an organization and to bring that information together in such a way that people can make better decisions. But more important than that is sharing that information so that they can execute on those decisions in an effective fashion.

BPM helps to manage that process, from the collection to the dissemination to the measurement of the activities across the organization. In order for companies to survive, never mind thrive, they need greater access to that information and greater ability to act on that information. That's why we're talking about SaaS-based BPMs today.

PS: Indeed. Now, a company that already has BPM, what do they need to consider from going basically in-house to SaaS BPM? What steps do they need to take?

JK: Well, I guess there are two categories. [First,] there are those companies who are somewhat satisfied with what they have and they're possibly looking to enhance and extend that functionality. They can use some of the SaaS-based alternatives and options that are available to extend their reach and also maybe add additional functionality to the established BPM solution that's already in place.


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