Will there ever be a Business Process Management ‘AppStore’ in the future ?

In a recent interview with Max J Pucher we touched on the social and mobile dynamics of BPM, to which Max stated “The mobile world will change the way applications are developed, deployed, licensed, and paid for. The concept of the AppStore is the model of the future and you will see it appearing on all operating systems…” so the question begged is, will vendors start to embrace this model further and open up their solutions to allow 3rd party and community driven development ?

There are already examples of this, BonitaSoft being the most vocal out on the social scene, but traditional BPMS vendors such as Ultimus, Integrify, Intalio, K2 and BP Logix already run community driven sites or have open APIs or access to their SDK solutions for development (and others are following suite) so it’s not a new concept per se but it is one that should be encouraged further. BusinessProcessIncubator.com, a new standards-driven portal, has recently taken up this trend allowing those with model content to market what they have but the idea itself needs to evolve further and become almost an open market exchange mechanism.

How many times has a client asked for particular functionality but been told it’s not on the product path so tough luck ?

Think of the possibilities:
– single models or maps
– whole architectures
– complete executables
– new modules and functionality
– connectors

If we take our cues from Apple and the likes of Valve Software with Steam, the success stories have been numerous since their inception and launch. Quality control is an absolute must and I see the vendors acting as the final gatekeeper in allowing content based on their solutions to be driven and accessed this way however the very concept will allow smaller integrators a means to sell their own services based on a particular licensed platform in an open way. Not only this, but clients who are willing to share their best practice can share this knowledge in the same way. Where sometimes vendor R&D and creativity can only be realistic if there is a demand for it, allowing 3rd parties to develop using an SDK set of tools and then sell their product can actually promote abstract thinking and new ways in which to deploy or use the original.

Obviously the iPhone is only one platform and device and the AppStore is native only to Apple, so I can see many vendors trying the same model and mechanics and creating lots of little BPM AppStores but what if we turn this on it’s head a little and make BPM the single platform and the AppStore is the conduit for vendors to market their 3rd party solutions from the one place ?

Might spur a little more creativity…..


One response to “Will there ever be a Business Process Management ‘AppStore’ in the future ?

  1. Hey Theo,Great post.. Vendors like Appian are definitely already there.. We host our "App Store" at http://forum.appian.com and it includes two types of Apps customers can download.. The first is pluggable components that can enhanced the Process and Rules environment.. For example, there are components for auto reading RSS feeds in a process, creating compound documents, and various conversion rule functions.. Each of these is opensource and delivered as an OSGi plug-in that can be instantly dropped into an Appian environment and automatically hot deployed. We currently have over 120 different components available that have been developed and shared by Appian, our Partners and even our customers.The other side of our App Store is of course the complete and fully functional BPM applications (not just a pretty process drawing, a runnable process application). We have over 2 dozen of these deployable and fully functional process applications. These range from Loan Origination, to Case Management, to ITIL type processes. Using Appian’s application framework, each application is the XML definition of the processes, rules, reports, dashboards, forms, etc.. and is essentially open source. Customers of Appian Anywhere can instantly deploy these to their SaaS environment with 1-click and on-premise customers of Appian can download the application package and then deploy on their local environment.We are really excited about the growth of our app store and portability of the process applications. The entire market is certainly on the cusp of a new era in BPM innovation in the realm of process portability and cloud services.Theo, we’d be happy to setup a briefing and demo on how Appian is doing this today.Malcolm RossDirector Product ManagementAppian

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