No stunners at the BPM beauty parade

Another muppet...

This week I attended a set of demonstrations by BPM vendors to woo a client I’m working with at the moment. While there can only be one winner (or two if you actually count the client for a change) I’m disheartened by the basic lack of understanding of client requirements, the overt sales push and technical nature of the demonstrations. I’d have thought the first and second, and very simple, questions for any vendor before preparing a demonstration are ‘How mature is the client’s understanding of BPM ?’ and ‘Who is the audience I’m talking to and what are their goals ?’ (ok that’s three before you get picky)

Let me give some examples from this week;

Vendor 1: failed to disclose that they could meet a must have requirement for simulation by glossing over the fact the client requires a third-party tool and additional cost
Vendor 2: jumps straight into a technical whirlwind tour of the repository in front of a business oriented audience
Vendor 3: sales exec is likened to a desperate used car salesman

Don’t get me started on those who didn’t even make the cut in the first place. Borderline stalker sales techniques from a darling of the Gartner hype circle, can’t be bothered attitude to completing an RFQ, and the quote from a BPM-in-the-Cloud provider that proved that the perceived cheap cost of processes in the Cloud is complete nonsense (or that their licencing model needs a kick into touch). Seriously guys and gals, you keep eroding the industry from the inside with your archaic approaches, no wonder companies like Bonitasoft and new start-ups tackle it from a fresh angle and win sales hands down. They understand BPM better than you do, and aren’t afraid to actually engage with clients, not dictate or preach.

Unfortunately the problem is deeply rooted in the industry right now, and I’ve written many times in the past about the completely garbled messages that get pumped out. Take a meander through a variety of vendor websites and you’ll come away more confused that ever, seriously moving from one to another jumps from the sublime to the ridiculous in messaging content, BPM context and technicality. I know you love your product and like to boast what it can do but sometimes you need to step away and think about it from a client point of view.

You know….the client….those that pay your wages…..remember them ?

Sometimes throwing all the bells and whistles at them just doesn’t work. Leave the silicon implants at home next time you’re asked for a demo.

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