An Audience With….David Willsey, CEO of Integrify

David has been in management and sales positions for the past 20 years, moving from finance to the IT industry in 1998.  David co-founding Planittech Consulting, a company specializing in custom internet applications.  After a successful acquisition of Planittech, David co-founded Integrify, focusing on business process improvement through web-based software.  

David’s primary responsibility is formulating long-term strategy, managing the growth of Integrify and interfacing with investors, customers and suppliers.  David also plays a major role in driving sales acceleration and overall operations.  

David received his BBA degree from James Madison University.

 

There’s been a lot of movement in the vendor space in the last 6 months, with M&A activity internally and Pega acquiring Chordiant to broaden it’s overall strategy, do you envisage more of the same in 2010 ?

Yes.  It seems that there are half the amount of BPM providers these days from 2 years ago and I think there will be some more consolidation coming from IT stack vendors and vertical specific service providers that are looking to build industry specific BPM solutions.  For us, the recent acquisitions of Lombardi and Savvion have been a good thing.  There still remains a large market for  customers that are looking for a easy-to-use, simplified process management tool that is not being bundled with a larger platform and sold with service overkill.  Also, considering the tax code changes coming in 2011,  making acquisitions in 2010 becomes much more attractive.

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 ? 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 ?

I think there will still be some hesitation and scrutiny on IT purchases in general, BPM included.  I think companies are looking hard at what is and is not bringing value to their organization.  With that said, I feel the interest in process improvement is still viable and starting to rebound a bit from 2009 but what they need is to see immediate impact that brings value quickly to the money they invest in technology.  BPM products that can be up and running and have processes configured quickly without extensive training are the ones that should fair well.  Adding simplicity within the BPM product accelerates user adoption, which leads to those short term ROI’s.  Companies need to figure out what they really need with a BPM product.  Do they need to pay a higher premium for features like process simulation? I think that in 2010, companies are going to look to cut the fat out of technology purchases due to their tighter budgets and increased focus on immediate ROI.

What’s your philosphy and definition of BPM ?

First, I think that there is an overabundance of confusing information out there that can make the leap into BPM seem extremely difficult and time consuming. There are tools designed to model extremely complex processes, tools that orchestrate communication between other systems, tools that are little more than components that a programmer can use in a custom solution – the list goes on.

For most companies, the business process causing their employees the most pain revolve around data input forms, routing, approvals, and notification. Secondary to this would be reporting, metrics and system-system data exchange. A tool that can deliver these features in a way that allow ordinary business users to create, execute and ensure their success without formal BPM training or programming skill will be adopted quickly, resulting in a quick ROI.

Flexibility is key. Cloud-based solutions with pre-built processes allow organizations to adopt BPM with minimal risk while using proven solutions that can easily be changed to meet specific needs. I also feel that solutions that offer a variety of deployment options will allow organizations to enter into BPM in ways that were traditionally impossible or that required extensive programming.  For example, if I can quickly design my process using my web browser, make it available through a process portal for internal users, that is great. And when I can make pieces of the same process, like a form or a report, show up on my public website, I open up a whole new audience.  My ability to improve processes can now encompass customers, partners and vendors.  

In terms of implementation, BPM should start with a company identifying and documenting how they execute processes.  Then they should decide on what can be improved before thinking about solutions.  Our philosophy is to focus on the 80% of processes that that can be implemented quickly and that will return an immediate ROI. The other 20% require more documentation, multiple decision makers and often a complete re-thinking of why the process exists or what it should be. With the skills learned implementing the “Easy 80,” organizations have a better understanding of what is involved in process improvement from a software perspective and a cultural/organizational perspective. With proven success under their belts, convincing stakeholders to make more difficult changes become much easier.

How important is it for vendors to foster a client and practitioner community ? 

Funny you should ask.  Fostering partnerships is what we are focused on in 2010.  We are growing our Process Exchange which allows customers and partners to collaborate and share their processes and forms. These can be imported and exported between Integrify systems. We feel that the Integrify support community, through process sharing and collaboration will become a valuable resource for everyone involved. Sharing processes will make it even easier to compare possible solutions and approaches to common challenges. Users will be able to download fully configured processes and forms to use as a starting point for their own processes. They may discover that what they thought was a 50 step process is being done in 20 steps by their peers – process improvement through collaboration within the Integrify community.

An  article in Forrester talked about  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 high brow research which is perceived to be vendor led/ driven given the rise of independent professional blogs and insight columns ?

I think their will always be a place for the high brow research as executives will always be willing to pay to have someone tell them what to do.  There is certainly less chance that they’ll lose their jobs over a Gartner recommended vendor, right?  But I feel there is a lack of independent research out there that helps companies match needs with solutions.  Why should a company spend 10 times the amount they should to address their needs by focusing only on a Gartner Magic Quadrant vendor?  Not to say that some of the “high-brow” re

search is not without its benefits but
there are many departments of large organizations and small and mid size companies that need independent reviews of vendors that don’t necessarily pay to play with the big boys.  BPMRedux is a great start Theo!

There’s a shift towards Cloud offerings, Social BPM fever is starting to take hold after a few years in the wilderness and some are venturing into the Mobile space, are these viable roadmaps for vendors to look into or just hype for now ?

Yes.  We have been offering Integrify in a Cloud environment for 5 years.  The more you can build features into your BPM product that allow mobile users to interact with processes, the better, as no one is confined simply to email these days.  I think there was some fear of sensitive data outside their firewalls but it seems the general awareness and acceptance of cloud computing has eased that a bit. 

If there was one thing you could tell someone who is just starting out on the BPM journey what would it be ?

It isn’t rocket science and you don’t need a heard of consultants to implement cost saving processes.  Think about your process logically and choose a tool that is flexible enough to handle it. Make small improvements first then move on to bigger ones. Don’t buy features you don’t need or understand. Consider the skill level and personnel required to create, deploy and change processes when purchasing a solution. Look for ROI in months not years.

What’s the next big thing you would like to see happening in BPM ? 

Id’ like to see better classification of BPM offerings – added flavors of BPM that help define the market for those that need help identifying what they need with process and workflow management software.

Finally, what next for Dave Willsey ?

I am going to Disney World!  I’ve always wanted my Super Bowl moment.  If not Disney World, then climbing Mt. Everest or running with the bulls in Spain or perhaps bunging jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.   Of course, none of this happens without first building a successful and profitable business through customer and partner growth!  And it all starts with successful deployments of Integrify for process management.  That success happens by continuing to focus on what our customers want. 

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