Is SAP NetWeaver BPM lagging in the BPM Tools race?
Its been approximately 2 years ago, when I first had the opportunity to work on the SAP’s offering in BPM, called SAP NetWeaver BPM tool. This tool was made available with the SAP NetWeaver Composite Environment(CE) 7.1 and 7.2 platforms. The tool was not yet production ready and was used to demonstrate its use in Business Process Modelling. The feeling among the developer community was that this will bridge the gap with the customer and become the leading choice in the BPM tool eco-space. However, in my opinion SAP NetWeaver BPM has fallen behind in the race.
BPM as a solution offering was a very good theoretical concept but was not hard-sold to the customer. Customer who is generally burdened by his existing business, needs to be persuaded by capable and confident consultants to invest in new technologies. Amid the buzz, SAP NetWeaver BPM seems to have lost to the newer technologies like WD ABAP, UI5, SUP Mobile etc. But, SAP NetWeaver BPM and its solutions seemed more on presentation rather than reality.
Now, I have no facts to prove my case and open for any criticism in this front. My opinion is guided by my interaction with various consultants in the industry and observation of the trends with customer projects. Just check the lack of activity in SDN – BPM space in comparison to others.
Every attempt to push the tool is met with resistance. The reason stated is license cost but the hidden reason is, they feel there is not much value to it. One of my project manager told, “Why should a customer invest on this BPM tool? They just don’t need it”. Actually, customer does not need SAP Business Suite. What customer needs is, a solution to manage his business. Our duty as IT consultants is to suggest the best possible way to accomplish the requirement. Now, a customer has some specific and some abstract requirements. When we are approached for implementation, we need to analyze based on experience and interaction with customer the preferred IT infrastructure to facilitate its implementation. Our view as always is more guided by our existing skills/preferences rather than the actual requirement.
During this period, I have soaked my hands with non-SAP BPM tool called inubit. A powerful tool which fulfills the needs of Business Process Modelling with help of this Business suite and Visual Rules engine. This tool in comparison with NetWeaver BPM (within the organization) had greater focus and investment. Reason: The tool is owned by separate business entity whose parent organization also owns my company.
It pains to see the lost opportunity in this space and partly its lack of effort on our part in not pursuing it the right path. It requires faith and effort in the tool to deliver solutions which not just fulfill the existing customer needs but can adapt to the possible future changes.
We need the whole set up: developers, project managers, functional consultants and sales teams to understand the value behind this concept of BPM. Only then can we convince and sell it to customers.
Critics are welcome to disprove my assessment and hopefully enlighten the BPMers with future prospects.
Thank you all.