If you’re content to be led, forever will you be a follower

Adam Deane posted something this morning. I like a lot of Adam’s writing but this one struck a bit of a bum note for me.

The industry is based on a few people making it move forward. Movers and Shakers..
Any decision they make ripples through the industry. A decision by one causes others to follow.
SaaS, Mobile, ACM, Simulation, ECM integration, Microsoft vs Java, BPMN vs BPEL…

Really ? So if IBM or Oracle decided to pull out of Cloud and declare on-premise is the way forward, are we all to follow suit because they say so ? It’s like old playground mentality, if they jumped off a cliff are you going to as well ? The market may be dictated (despite Adam claiming it’s a democracy) to by larger vendors but that doesn’t mean to say they own the path others must follow. Whether you’re large, medium or small you shouldn’t be content with the scraps from the table, you shouldn’t settle for wearing a pair of dead man’s shoes. We need the medium and smaller vendors to continue to push the envelope of innovation because sometimes they take the risks the bigger guys don’t. Acquisition is not innovation but if you have a fat wallet and marketing budget to match then perhaps that’s all you’re content with.

In any given month, the large BPM vendors will bring in more revenue that the small ones bring in a year.
In any given month, the large BPM vendors will spend more money on marketing and educating the public on the advantages of BPM more than the small ones combined.

I think Adam is misguided in believing that marketing = education. I’ve written plenty on the amount of noise and jargon generated by the vendor market, and funnily enough it’s by the one’s with the largest marketing budget. They don’t educate the public, they market to the CIO, the public are clueless because the message isn’t aimed at them. (and by public I mean the man on the shop floor with the process headache who really needs the help of BPM)

It’s when these guys sneeze, the rest of us run to check our forehead to see if we are coming down with something.
And it’s when these guys succeed, the rest of us feel that we are on the right track.

The measure of one company’s success does not define yours or the markets. If IBM does well it’s because it’s sold more licences, it doesn’t actually mean that BPM has become a success story. Like I said in a previous post about the size of the industry, licences alone don’t determine size and success. Perhaps as a small and up and coming vendor your measure of success is something completely different. Does that mean you’re on the same track as Oracle if they post $xyz bn results ? Certainly not. If TIBCO post miserable results does that mean Ultimus is going to suffer as a result ? Bollocks.

So Mr Gilbert.. from one of the Elois.. Congrats on the promotion.

Yeah, well done Phil, I’ll continue to admire and respect you as an industry figure but I’ll blaze my own trail thanks. I’ll walk a path I choose to tread. I’ll turn a wrong corner and learn from it. I intend to build my own legacy. Keep your shoes.

And as for BPM not having any celebrities ? Speak for yourself Adam 😉

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5 responses to “If you’re content to be led, forever will you be a follower

  1. Theo it’s been happening everywhere. I noticed it happening in dance music where things are dumbed down to sell out concerts where the actual roots of it is in old warehouses.

    Or in luxury watches where so called luxe brands are actually one big company buying stock movements in different cases. Huge monopolies but poor product quality.

    Do you follow the franchise or do you go with the mom and pop style. I think once businesses can’t afford it anymore, they’ll have to streamline because the value in regards to the cost is not there for big companies.

    My 2 cents…

  2. Agreed. It is the smaller more nimble players who move the game on. However, some people in the large companies make have the time and space for “bigger more visionary thoughts”, but the companies they work for are not able to but those ideas into code. Be judged by the size of your vision and ambition, not your headcount or revenue.

  3. Theo, for what it is worth, I’m pretty sure Phil would be happy for you blazing your own path 🙂 He always blazed his own.

    And I thought we all got into BPM to be rockstars? 🙂
    (personally I like the term “BPM-famous” to mean someone who is only well-known in the BPM industry circles… and completely unknown elsewhere 🙂

  4. Pingback: Leadership in the software industry is a curse | Successful Workplace·

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