This is either a futile argument or a good one. It depends on who is talking and context. In any case it is not about the argument but for a problem case which solution option leads to a practical and real approach.
Consider a case: A company embarks on a new initiative project to provide a value add service to its existing customer base which runs above 40 million. Accordingly the expectation is that all these customers would need to either use their existing login or create an account in the company website.
The recent acquisition of Nest (https://nest.com/) by Google for 3.5bn dollars has taken most of the techworld by surprise primarily because of high price point for the acquisition, making it one of the largest acquisitions by the tech giant in the last few years. As you may know, Nest is an organisation dedicated to developing smart appliances for various household applications. The company shot to fame when it re-invented the humble thermostat to enable it to analyse usage patterns and optimise the heating for the entire home ultimately leading to savings in energy bills. However, what most industry analysts find more interesting is that this is probably the largest affirmation of the mega trend of "Internet of Things (IoT)" which has been threatening to go mainstream in the next few years.
One of the Infosys 3.0 BTE theme is the Pervasive Computing. A nice example is provided in the YouTube video. The components comprising to provide a ubiquitous experience are Sensors Networks, Cloud based computing and Intelligence. Dissecting the intelligence part, a perspective can be developed using Complex Events Processing.
Across Industries, technology is transforming at a high pace and with this is increasing customer expectations. What was considered as a WOW factor last year is expected as basic requirement today. With increasing customer expectations, changing compliances organizations today have to look beyond customer relationship management to Customer Centric organization. Customer Onboarding is the first step where a customer gets connected to an organization and every additional on-boarded customer turns to be a contribution to the revenue of the organization.
Customer onboarding is generally considered to be a part of CRM process and last year while implementing one of the Customer Onboarding solution using BPM in back of my mind I had a few answers to find out - why BPM, if the same can be done with CRM, what extra value do our BPM solution bring, a part of it got answered very soon and other over the time.
Had the pleasure of attending the recent Pega Developer Conference in Hyderabad (27, 28 October 2013). The event was marked with the enthusiasm of the developer community who were eager to get know the new PEGA7, which had many great new features.
BPM (Business Process Management) has been catching my attention for last few months and some of my colleagues helped me in explaining this domain to me and this seems fascinating to me. BPM market is around 3 BUSD and is growing much faster than ERP and other related technologies. It is expected to grow to 8-9 BUSD in next 5 years with a CAGR of 14-15%.
When I got to know about Pegasystems (www.pega.com) conference in my own city Hyderabad, and Infosys being given an opportunity to send its practitioners to attend, I jumped onto the opportunity to know more on BPM from the horses' mouth itself- one of the leading BPM product companies.
OTT (Over the top) players emergence has been a pain point for most of the operators and revenues are getting hit, however looking this from a standpoint of product lifecycle, I would rather say that Voice and text plans for CSPs have just entered the maturity phase, although due to the emerging OTT players. It is estimated that WhatsApp1 & WeChat2 have joined the 250 million active users club recently with Skype having around 280 million users exchanging billions of messages every month.
Below is my take on various aspects of end-to-end BPM solution development in IBM BPM vs PEGA PRPC.
My observations are primarily centered around ground realities in terms of industry adoption. The strengths indicated below are relative to each other.
Sections of the blog meant for Business Leaders and Decision makers - [TTM and TCO for the solution], [Market presence, Sustainability and Delivery risk], Future trends
Sections of the blog meant for Architects and Techies - Tool features [Inception/Elaboration/Construction/Transition]
Going forward in this note, my reference to IBM and PEGA would be to IBM BPM 8.1 Advanced and PRPC 6.2 SP2 respectively. Also, i will be talking only about OOTB features and will not touch upon customization aspects as they can be pretty context sensitive.
TTM and TCO for the solution
PRPC can be looked upon as "BPM in a box". It provides BPMS along with necessary ancillaries like BRMS(Very strong), Case Management(Very strong), BAM(Strong), EAI(light), CEP (Very light) in a single runtime environment(and license). We will be needing CDM for full-blown predictive analytics separately.
To achieve the same feature offerings in IBM BPM, we will be needing the following licensed products around the core offering - WODM (Strong BRMS and Very Strong CEP), IBM Case Manager (Very Strong), Websphere Business Monitor (Strong BAM), EAI (Very strong built-in ESB OOTB with Advanced flavour of the BPM product). We will be needing COGNOS for full-blown predictive analytics separately.
The industry BPM frameworks provides by PEGA seem to have a strong edge over IBM.
With the above details in place, we can think of the efforts needed to deliver an IBM BPM equivalent solution by integrating different products(expensive IBM services is a must to get the landscape up and running), application maintenance/support and inter-twined product version upgrade costs.
PRPC is touted to be very expensive (relatively), but i feel that the cost would be justified in terms of ROI delivered to the business by quicker TTM and lower TCO.
Market presence, Sustainability and Delivery risk
Looking at the product evolution path, PEGA tracks back to rules whereas IBM to integration-centric workflows.
Lombardi (human-centric BPM side of IBM story) is an acquisition by IBM to fill in the space that integration-centric WPS is struggling with. Both the tools rank similarly in terms of their market presence and maturity in the BPM space. PEGA has always been business-centric whereas IBM is quickly catching up on that front with Lombardi and ILog (rules) acquisitions.
Coming to sustainability and risk of solution delivery factors, IBM ranks higher due to its humungous base of distributed thought leaders and knowledge base.
Tool Features (OOTB)
One major advantage i can think of for PEGA is that it can run on any J2EE compliant appserver like Tomcat, JBoss, Weblogic, Websphere, etc. The customers will have more choice and need not get locked into a single vendor.
I would like to broadly categorize the tool feature comparison into Inception, Elaboration, Construction and Transition phases of typical BPM application development roadmap.
Inception and Elaboration
Integration with social networking sites - PEGA has integration with Twitter and facebook.
Mobile enablement - PEGA has OOTB support for mobile. IBM has come up with a platform named "WorkLite" for mobile integration needs
Cloud BYOL, PAYG models - IBM has a pretty strong cloud coverage that supports public/private/hybrid cloud models.