According to Gartner, “By 2012, at least 70% of the revenue from commercial OSS will come from vendor-centric projects with dual-license business models.”
Whether this prediction is now validated I don’t know but one this for certain is that open source BPM is rapidly gaining on the larger commercial options within the industry and it’s time they shared some of the limelight and made the reporting headlines. I do wonder however that by making something of the Open Source heritage and being proud of it actually damages customers initial perceptions of their commercial model.
There are a good few players out there now in the BPM scene: Activevos (Open Standards rather than Open Source per se), Activiti, Bonitasoft, Intalio, ProcessMaker, uEngine to name some off the top of my head and most of the commercial model is bolstered by professional services to get a new client up and running but in terms of software and capabilities I’m going to say that OSS platforms can certainly run with the big boys and in some instances the solution is leaner and doesn’t have the same amount of legacy bloatware that the main industry guys carry with them. In other respects, these upstarts have built up the familiar open source community following with actually strengthens the proposition. Take Bonitasoft as an example with it’s active development community and marketplace full of widgets and integrators to pick off the shelf. The model is the App Store of the BPM world for them (BonitApp Store lol) , something which I support the idea of a lot.
Adam Deane wrote an interesting article about the state of BPM Open Source in 2010 and it’s well worth a look to appraise the pros and cons of buying the solution and understanding the model more.
Bottom line, OSS BPM is here to stay and if analysts and clients have any real interest in BPMS they should look to open source not as some weaker alternative to the larger commercial vendors, nor lump them in their own industry vertical to keep them separate from the rest, but as a credible option to choose from in the same ranks.
(btw if you’re an OSS vendor, jump in and have your say !)