Even till a couple of years back there was a feeling that the SMB market was under-served by the BPM vendors as the business models offered were too skewed towards large enterprises. Even BPM as a terminology and practice sounded so complex, as if it is meant for huge enterprises only.
It was then recognized, many of the SMBs were large enough to need it especially if they had grown rapidly and were experiencing pain points because of that. And also, smaller companies don’t mean they don’t have sophisticated needs and requests that warrant a BPM system.
One major reason for slow adoption of BPM in SMBs is cost; most of the enterprise offerings need a huge upfront cost which includes process design, development and deployment. And yes, the training cost to train employees which could be enormous if you are training people on proprietary technologies. The alternative would be to use open source tools and custom software development, which would mean investing significant amount of time and resources, an option which is least appealing to an SMB as it is always running a tight ship with no hands to spare.
Things have changed since then with more and more BPM vendors offering lower prices, user-based-pricing, SAAS based modelling, faster to implement solutions, process templates and online training. Here are a few BPM solutions that have been making news as they look attractive proposition for both large enterprises and SMBs.
AgilePoint – A .NET-based, model-driven, Business Process Management (BPM) solution, aimed at building SOA-aligned, highly adaptive process-based applications through composition of process-enabled IT assets abstracted from and across existing applications, and messaging and productivity solutions, with a focus on leveraging common Microsoft technologies such as SharePoint servers, SharePoint services, BizTalk, InfoPath, Visual Studio, and the .NET platform. A fantastic solution for the mid-market segment.
K2 – Once again based on .Net technology, offers enterprise capability and maximises ROI in Microsoft technologies including Windows Server, SQL Server, MS Office, SharePoint. K2 uses patented integration technology to abstract from complex LOB systems, patented web forms technology for rapid development and Case Management Framework. Companies in the mid-to-enterprise level would want to take a look at it.
Nintex – Named by Gartner in “Cool Vendors in Program and Portfolio Management, 2013”, Nintex Workflow allows business users and IT developers the ability to design and implement end-to-end workflows with a graphical drag-and-drop interface, without the need for lengthy development cycles. This would be apt for small-to-mid-market companies.