Business process management (BPM) is fairly well-established in many enterprises. However, leveraging the explosion in mobile devices, platforms and capabilities, is only now emerging as a critical aspect of BPM, which is following many business and technological processes out into the field.
“Up until recently, mobile devices were principally employed as supplements to desktops and laptops,” says Steve Brasen, managing research director, Systems Management, at Enterprise Management Associates. “However, improvements in device architectures and software are beginning to blur the lines between use cases for tablets and laptops.”
Mobile BPM remains a few steps behind other enterprise apps like CRM and business intelligence (BI). While challenges remain with regard to form factor limitations and security for mobile BPM, a few key vendors are making waves as they extend processes to more and more remote workers. All of this has an impact on competitiveness – and the bottom line.
“Return on investment (ROI) in enterprise mobile adoption is directly linked to improved employee productivity,” says Brasen. “Now organizations are spending less money purchasing devices than on providing mobile access to business resources. Enabling users to access from any location increases their ability to support requirements and quickly react to incidents and customer requests.”
Below are 10 vendors that are changing the game in mobile BPM:
Appian: Topping most analysts’ lists, Appian is the vendor to catch – for now. “Appian is definitely a leader in the mobile BPM market,” says Sandy Kemsley, an independent BPM consultant. “They make good use of native apps on the different platforms, and their Tempo interface is optimized for mobile form factors.”
Appian offers decent integration capabilities for CRM and ERP, taking notifications and requests to the next level, with native mobile apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry. “Appian is a bit unique by providing Tempo for a universal non-custom mobile application,” says Kemsley. “It's not going to work for everything, especially not complex situations, but it does get the casual user up and running a lot faster.”
Pegasystems: Pega takes a markedly different approach when compared to Appian. It enables mobile capabilities in a custom application that a customer builds, rather than having a standard app. The advantage, according to Pega, is that this facilitates continuous improvement. Pega is scalable, features a heavy emphasis on collaborative tools, and offers impressive analytics capabilities for real-time, context-based decision-making. Deployment options include on-premise, cloud or hybrid.
IBM: IBM employs an approach somewhere in between those taken by Appian and Pega. The company offers an out-of-the-box app but is also pushing its REST interfaces for building custom apps. “IBM is exposing functionality through the Worklight mobile application platform,” says Kemsley, “and has at least one partner building mobile apps on top of their BPM.”
Bizagi: “Bizagi has just had a significant update last year, which will make mobile BPM much easier,” says Teresa Jones, principal research analyst, Business Process Management, at Gartner. Bizagi’s mobile push builds on its banking and insurance expertise to branch out into new verticals, notably medical. The company’s knowledge modules use templates based on industry-common practices, with a heavy reliance on admin and HR, compliance, IT operations and customer service.
TIBCO: The company handles mobile BPM through its Silver Mobile server. It also offers TIBCO Formvine, which allows users to build basic BPM functionality in areas such as requests and approvals, as well as workforce and process management.
PNMsoft: “PNMsoft is starting to see some uptake,” says Jones from Gartner. The company's mobile offering is Business Process Management On-the-Go, which boosts Sequence Kinetics, the company’s BPM suite, onto a range of Microsoft platforms such as SharePoint, Dynamics and Azure. The Microsoft-centric solution may have its work cut out for mobile relevance on iOS and Android, though the company claims its technology works “on all smartphone and tablet devices.”
OpenText: The Canadian software giant has been a leader in BPM, but slow out of the gate when it comes to mobile capabilities. That’s about to change, with the company taking the somewhat unusual approach of using HTML5 rather than native apps.
SavMobify: This mobile BPM solution is a third-party interface for Savvion. “This is an interesting separation of the client app from the back-end platform,” says Kemsley. “I'm hoping that we see more of these, so that the API becomes the separation point between the back-end provider and an independent app interface.”
HandySoft: The company’s BizFlow Mobile solution is strong on collaboration tools, with workload analysis for teams, SLA tracking and decision trends. Janelle Hill, VP & Distinguished Analyst, Business Process Management Research at Gartner, notes that HandySoft stands out for its excellent mobile support.
Bosch: Bosch has a mobility initiative specific to company fleets. Intelligent networking in the context of “electromobility” can then build off of Bosch’s inubit suite for BPM, utilizing proprietary methodologies and, specifically, the company’s BPM+ Enabling Tools.
A graduate of McGill University, Timothy Wilson joined IDC Canada in Toronto as a research analyst in 1997. In 2000, he began T Wilson Associates and continued to consult for research companies, as well as working directly with large vendors such as Microsoft and SAP. Throughout his career Timothy has contributed to the IT, trade and mainstream press. He has lived and worked in Latin America and is proficient in Spanish. He has received a first place CBC Literary Award and a Gold National Magazine Award for his non-fiction writing.