An Audience With….Ken Carraher and Roy Garlick of iGrafx

Ken Carraher is President of the iGrafx division of Corel Inc. Previously, Mr. Carraher was President of the Enterprise Process Management Solutions at Micrografx prior to their acquisition by Corel. Formerly the President and co-founder of AdvanEdge Technologies, acquired by Micrografx in 1997, Mr. Carraher pioneered advanced process management solutions.

Mr. Carraher’s career has focused on developing and delivering business productivity solutions. He offers great insight into the emerging importance of business process analysis and modeling in an environment of global competition. 

 

Roy began his career as a Software Engineer working for a number of Engineering and Defense companies on the design and implementation of key military communication systems. Throughout his working life delivering quality, reliability, robustness and performance have always been key responsibilities.

Roy now heads up the iGrafx team in the UK and Ireland responsible for supporting and selling the iGrafx suite of Business Process Excellence tools into companies in all sectors intent on identifying waste and improving their operational business processes.

 

2009 was seen as a fairly turbulent for most but towards the end year many kicked off major change programs focused on process transformation. How do you expect 2010 will unfold for the BPM industry generally and for BPM vendors ?

Roy: 2009 was indeed challenging for everyone. It is also our experience that major and small to medium sized transformation projects halted in 2009 are now gaining traction with the Senior Executives/DMs for final sign off and project start in 2010. We expect a similar trend to continue in 2010 particularly within the Public and Financial Sectors where ‘Lean’ principles and Process Improvement have never been more important.

Do you expect clients to alter their buying criteria as a result of the downturn and concentrate on initial cost first rather than ROI or indeed the need for BPM itself to support strategy ?

Roy: At present the trend most definitely is toward short-term ‘bang-for buck’ investments. ROIs  which can be easily sold to the board/Senior DMs by the Business Process Improvement stakeholders. In reality this translates into a focus on tactical BPA (Business Process Analysis) projects to improve the efficiency of specific end-to-end Processes rather than a strategic full blown and large-scale  BPM implementations.

In our experience this trend is proving to rapidly deliver significant benefits to many organisations in all sectors.

Forrester recently said they’ll be turning to the process professionals more in 2010 and Gartner’s Magic Quadrant underwent a makeover in how they approached their analysis last year. Do you still see a need for the kind of research which is perceived to be vendor led given the rise of independent professional blogs and insights ?

Roy: This is a very interesting point. We definitely see a continued role for the traditional analysts like Forrester and Gartner in providing independent, vendor agnostic reviews of available solutions and current trends within the BPM space. However, with the enormous rise in internet based networking we also envisage significant participation in process professional networking sites, blogs and insights.

iGrafx is a product vendor of ‘best-of-breed’ BPA tools supporting Process and Enterprise improvement and collaboration . We have always been methodology agnostic and not focused on delivering huge implementation support services. Consequently, we have always needed to work closely with process professionals, whether independent or part of a larger consultancy. The new marketing, networking and communication vehicles now available to us will lend themselves well to our aspirations of continuing to arm process professionals with the ‘best-of-breed’ BPA tools.

What’s iGrafx’s definition and philosophy for BPM ?

Roy: We see BPM as a holistic approach to managing an organisations processes incorporating continuous improvement.  This is as opposed to an IT centric automation of processes approach.  Automation is important and has it’s place and should be supported as part of any BPM definition,  but our view is that the whole process landscape needs to be managed and improved including processes that are not automated.  This broadens the dimensions of concern and encompasses areas such as compliance, risk management, and governance.

With a growing number of Cloud and Social Platform enabled BPM tools and services coming onto the market how do you see iGrafx staying ahead of the game ?

Roy: We will continue to work closely with our customers to ensure that we are delivering industry leading solutions in the ways that best fit their business needs.  As the infrastructure for these kinds of solutions evolve we will take appropriate advantage of them to help our customers be successful.

IDS have released ARIS Express recently, a free version of their ARIS Professional modeling tool. Do you see a growing trend for BPM vendors to release free versions of their higher end products ?

Ken: We don’t think so.  In the end these kinds of approaches are a marketing gimmick.  They have to be unless they incorporate some kind of revenue generation.  The reality is that any vendor will have to sufficiently limit the free versions to not cannibalize their business or find other ways to generate revenue around the free version.  There is no such thing as a ‘free lunch’ or indeed a product or service.

The mobile platform has taken off and a growing number of vendors are joining the ranks to develop for the Apple, Blackberry and Android platforms. Do you see a future for BPM in this area ?

Ken: Yes, there are situations where mobile access helps derive extra value from BPM solutions.  We already offer mobile access through our Process Central and Enterprise Central solutions and we think as this infrastructure matures and expands it will be something that can be leveraged further.

There were two notable acquisitions last year, IBM and Lombardi and SoftwareAG and IDS-Scheer. Do you think there will be more M&A activity in 2010 across the BPM space and do you think this will improve BPM solutions on offer or weaken the market ?

Ken: We would expect that there will be more acquisitions.  Certain areas will begin to commoditize over time.  This will create opportunities for others to leverage the commoditized technologies to build on top of them and then the cycle will continue.  The Data Base and Business Intelligence markets are good examples of this kind of evolution.  BPM is at the same kind of stage as the Database market was some years ago. 

What’s the next big step you’d like to see in BPM ?

Ken: We would like to see further standardisation in the areas such as BPMN which will enable the exchange of Business Process Models.  We are active participants in the standards arena in this regards and are optimistic that the BPMN 2.0 version will finally enable real standards based exchanges.

 

You can read more about what iGrafx has coming up across at the B
log
. Watch out for a review of iGrafx 2009 and what to expect in iGrafx 2010 soon.

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