Ventana Research founder Mark Smith was less sanguine about the convergence of BI and BPM, noting that while BPM software has value, most corporations weren't built on business processes.
"The challenge with process management is that it makes good common business sense, but most corporations aren't designed or managed by process, right?" Smith said. "It's not because they're doing the wrong thing, it's because companies aren't mature enough to manage their business by process."
Smith wants to know where the evidence is that the market for BPM software, estimated by researcher IDC to top $1 billion just two years ago, is picking up.
Sure, there have been several acquisitions in the BPM space -- Oracle bought Collaxa, BEA nabbed Fuego and Sofware AG recently targeted webMethods -- but Smith wants to know what fruits these buys have borne.
"The reality is, I haven't seen anyone hitting a homerun selling BPM systems," Smith said. "But I think there is a lot of potential around applying analytics to BPM is important to get more intelligence around processes, activities and events."
And the BPM market certainly has some momentum. Cordys, of The Netherlands, recently set up shop on U.S. soil and ingested an $80 million round of funding to help further its fortunes in North America, where it has been scarcely competitive. It must be upgraded season for BPM because Progress, Savvion, MetaStorm and Lombardi have all enhanced their platforms.
But is the BPM market going to subsume the standalone BI market?
"It is not going to subsume the BI marketplace -- there are different sets of buyers and requirements," Smith said. "BPM vendors have to deal with a 'hurry up and wait' market and prove themselves by finding companies willing to adopt it.
Yet Forrester's Evelson remains convinced that Tibco-Spotfire is not a one-off deal.
"While this was a relatively small transaction, I am predicting/hoping that there will be a more impactful move next, potentially coming from BEA acquiring a larger BI vendor," Evelson wrote on his blog.
BEA Executive Vice President and CTO Rob Levy refused to comment on the acquisition speculation. He does, however, see value in sprinkling BI in the BPM mix, eventually creating a new software category.
"I think with SOA, we're going to see a new type of BI," Levy said. "Let's call it dynamic event-based BI, where the information is running through the system in real time, processed through the BPM engine, analyzed in some sort of event-processing business engine activity where it correlates an inference and creates an event out of that."