BPM vs enterprise app vendors


You can build everything with BPM platforms

Any client COULD use a BPM platform to develop their corporate apps. But they would be mad.

Salesforce has huge team that think about nothing else but building customer success apps (CRM, support, marketing), WorkDay have a huge team that think about nothing else but building HR apps etc etc. And whilst these off the shelf (off the cloud?) applications are not a perfect fit for clients, the compromise is far better than trying to build and maintain this functionality using BPM platform.

The App Gap

However, there is a critical role that BPM platforms can play – “filling the App Gap”. The “App Gap (image)”is the huge backlog of apps that the business want built, but are at the bottom of ITs todo list, behind keeping the lights on, upgrading the server infrastructure and 200 other high priority items. Now I am not going to beat up on the CIO and the IT department. I know how hard it is just keeping the lights on and the hackers out. That takes 83% of IT budgets. But there is an unmet need here.
Low-code app gap

But this App Gap is not for discrete standalone apps. Increasingly it is apps that sit on top of core systems and access and update core data. Therefore the BPM platforms need to be seen by the IT department as a credible addition to the IT infrastructure, not tools for some dangerous mavericks in the business. They should help bridge the IT gap, as I have described in this blog.

Therefore for a BPM platform to effectively fill the App Gap needs to have the following functionality:

  • capable of being used by business analysts, not developers – the “Citizen Developer”
  • able to leverage data from existing core systems – Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, WorkDay…
  • can deploy the apps to multiple devices (web, tablet, mobile) with an elegant UI
  • has single sign-on, so integrated into the core user directories
  • has a level of compliance or version control.

With this approach BPM platforms are not fighting the major app vendors and the IT department. A battle they will lose. Instead they are working with them.