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Zombie BPM

Welcome to the BPM zombie apocalypse.


This week I attended the bpmNEXT Conference in California. Unlike virtually every other conference I’ve ever attended, this one attracted Business Process Management (BPM) vendors and analysts, but not customers – and the vendors were perfectly happy with that. Essentially, this event was in part an opportunity for vendors to show their products to each other, but primarily an excuse to network with other people in the BPM market over drinks and dinner.

You would expect such a crowd to be cheerleaders for BPM, and many of them were. But all was not right in the world. One fellow quipped that not only was BPM dying, it was never alive in the first place. Another vendor pointed out that BPM is never on CIO’s “must have” lists. And then we have vendors spending time and money to come to a conference devoid of sales opportunities.

So, what’s wrong with the BPM market? True, there is a market for this gear, as many of the presenters pointed out in discussions of customers. But there was always the undercurrent that this stuff really isn’t as useful or popular as people would like.

Welcome to the BPM zombie apocalypse. Zombies, after all, are dead people who don’t realize they’re dead, so they attempt to go about their business as though nothing was amiss. But instead of acting like normal, living people, they end up shuffling around as they shed body parts, groaning for brains. Time to get my shovel and escape to hype – and customer – filled conferences focusing on Big Data and Cloud.

Jason Bloomberg is Chief Evangelist at EnterpriseWeb, where he drives the message and the community for EnterpriseWeb’s next generation enterprise platform. He is a global thought leader in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture. He is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer, and he also serves as blogger for DevX. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution: How Cloud Computing, REST-based SOA, and Mobile Computing are Changing Enterprise IT (John Wiley & Sons), was published in March 2013. Prior to EnterpriseWeb he was President of ZapThink, where he created the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, and ran the LZA course as well as his Enterprise Cloud Computing course around the world. He was also the primary contributor to the ZapFlash newsletter and blog for twelve years. Mr. Bloomberg is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in August 2011. Mr. Bloomberg’s book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). He has a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).
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