Has Salesforce.com understood the BPM market better than the BPMS vendors ?

Watching the fallout of the Pega-Chordiant acquisition has made me rethink about the move by Salesforce.com to introduce it’s cloud-based Visual Process Designer (http://www.salesforce.com/platform/cloud-platform/workflow.jsp) and I came to an interesting conclusion:

Has Salesforce.com understood the BPM market better than the BPMS vendors ?


Or let me rephrase the question: has Salesforce got the BPM model right first time by doing it backwards from another perspective ?

  • They’ve approached it from the Customer angle and CRM directly
  • They have comprehensive BAM options
  • They’ve understood and implemented complete cloud-based solutions from the outset
  • They understand customer interaction and workflow design
  • They have social media and mobile platform integration
  • They’ve now introduced the modelling capability to tie it all together

By creating the customer focused product strategy and then eventually leading back to the process design it seems a cleaner solution than how some BPMS vendors have gone about it, in fact it almost makes ‘us’ look as if we’ve been stumbling about in the wilderness for a number of years and are only just emerging from the edge with the Social BPM charge.

What could we learn from Salesforce.com to try and do things differently ? 

And what could they do next that would worry BPMS vendors again ?


7 responses to “Has Salesforce.com understood the BPM market better than the BPMS vendors ?

  1. Salesforce.com is a very credible player in the BPM space, despite Visual Process Designer being a "simple workflow / wizard" designer (their description, not mine). The limitation at the moment is they are constrained to BPM inside the Salesforce.com / Force.com world. So no ability to tie in 3rd party apps. But for most organisations who are looking at automating a discrete process such as Expense Management Visual Process Designer combined with Salesforce.com or an app built using Force.com is the perfect answer. Quick, simple, intuitive. But I am sure that Salesforce.com are working on wider BPM, especially as they are now targeting enterprise customers where Salesforce.com will need to integrate with existing on-premise applications.

  2. I think it is a mistake to refer to SalesForce as a BPM company as we currently conceive of BPM companies – it almost does them a disservice 🙂 BUT, what they’ve done is really smart: build a great set of applications/functionality around sales, and really own the sales process… and then add more and more capabilities to that stack to make it easier to run your sales process. They’re really owning the sales process and driving capability around that process – and if BPM is one of the components to drive value then they’re using that. I think any software company, regardless of market, can learn a lot by starting with customer needs and processes and driving from there (regardless of vertical or functional focus, pick a focus, and build from there). "BPM" may not look like the answer, depending on your application and customer, but if it does, use it and leverage it!

  3. Inface Salesforce is wonderful product there is no doubt about it. We can twist like anything and application development is so easy. With very less money you have lot of things.Good job who evermade salesforce

  4. I’ve been working with the SFDC Informavores product (from which the Visual Process Manager comes from), and find it intriguing. What is particularly interesting is what might happen when it’s coupled with their Chatter, and GroupSwim (an acquisition which has a tool that builds ontologies from dumped in ‘stuff’).In my experience, those are the kinds of building blocks that allow for automating "process MacGyver’ing" (aka ACM?).

  5. Pingback: Will Do.com become Salesforce’s attempt at a social enterprise Case Management tool ? | BPM redux·

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