G360 Update

I had a briefing recently with Global 360's CEO Michael Crosno, and it's interesting to see how far that organization has come since the management buyout last year.

Although G360 is one of the largest BPM vendors from a total software revenue perspective - Gartner/DQ had them #2 to DST in 2005, but... well, let's let Gartner defend their own numbers - they don't get a lot of respect, or even recognition, outside of their base of 1900+ customers. The reason for that is understandable, since the original idea of G360's founder, Sonny Oates, was simply to roll up mature imaging/workflow vendors, like Eastman Software and Viewstart/Mosaix, keep the customers happy, and harvest the maintenance stream. But not invest in unnecessary frills, like R&D or marketing.

That only takes you so far, and Crosno - brought in in 2004 to sell the company - found he had a better opportunity to invest in it and grow the business. So last year, along with a private equity team led by TA Associates, Crosno and other key managers bought out the company and set to aggressively building it up. They had a very strong 2006 and now have put in the engineering, marketing, and financial teams needed to compete at the top tier in the BPM market.

Crosno's approach to the market is a bit different than others. In his view, it's companies who have invested heavily in information management technology over the past decade - content management, knowledge management, collaboration - that are now looking to add process management. That's one industry dynamic driving BPM. Crosno admits that much of G360's customer base today is really document management and document workflow, not full BPM. Part of the strategy is to process-enable not only their own base of content-oriented customers, but those of FileNet, EMC, and other ECM leaders. (This is in sync with my post yesterday on the intersection of process and content. )

The second industry dynamic is the growing need for process intelligence and optimization, BI with an operational flavor, something he sees as bigger and longer-lived than BPM by itself. To serve that dynamic, G360's strategic offering is the Business Optimization Server. On the surface it looks like the BAM + process analytics component of any BPMS, but G360 has built it to work with any BPMS, not just their own, or even stand alone. (Again, in sync with my recent column on BPMInstitute.org, "Measure Then Model". It's not just webMethods and Lombardi who see the opportunity in performance monitoring independent of modeling and process automation.)

In addition to BOS, G360s product stack going forward features the Process Management Suite, a content-centric production workflow platform that heavily leverages Microsoft architecture and services, and Case Manager, a new collaborative semi-structured case handling offering - see Phil Ayres' blog to find out more about this one - that is Java-based. Different process platform architectures, different process styles, but both leverage BOS. We'll be writing it all up in the 2007 BPMS Report series sometime this spring.