The BPM Magic Quadrant - My thoughts.

I suppose that some point that I had better comment about the Gartner magic quadrant report for BPM that was released last week. Actually, there is an excellent article about this very topic on the EbizQ web site which can be found here.

Basically, and I align myself very closely with the sentiments in that article. It says that the magic quadrant - or similar analyst rankings - are actually a little bit meaningless.

This is for a number of reasons: primary of which is the fact that the basis on which the reports are created is not always comparable. For example is the Gartner magic quadrant for BPM defined in the same way as the Forrester wave report? Even more pertinent to this point, is the Gartner magic quadrant for 2009 created on the same basis as the Gartner magic quadrant for 2008 (even though there wasn't actually a Gartner magic quadrant the PM for 2008).

Gartner, of course, use two axes in their magic quadrant, the first one being "ability to execute" and the second being "completeness of vision". "Ability to execute" doesn't actually mean the ability to actually execute a given piece of functionality within their software. What it means is the ability to to influence and corner market share with the product that they have. Naturally some of the larger companies that have large marketing budgets are able to corner more of the market than smaller companies which exist out there. Furthermore it appears the Gartner have a set of criteria which they impose on companies wishing to be considered eligible for the Gartner magic quadrant. What we don't understand is have the criteria changed since the last time the BPM magic quadrant was published two years ago?

One thing which occurred to me on reading Gartner magic quadrant for BPM is that there appear to be a large number of companies competing in the space. I don't have the previous couple of documents to compare it too, but is the just my imagination that this now appears to be a very crowded market sector? In fact, it appears that every single day I'm receiving some sort of news article which indicates that the new vendor is starting to dabble their toes into this particular part of the market.

I did find it interesting, however, that Gartner did not deem the Microsoft's suite to actually be a fully fledged BPM Suite of tools. I'm not sure what this indicates and I would like to understand Gartner's rationale for excluding them, but I can't say I'm entirely unhappy.

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