Gartner BPMS Quadrant Released

Yesterday Gartner unveiled their magic quadrant for BPM Suites. For those unfamiliar with the format, it's a square in which the horizontal dimension represents "completeness of vision" and the vertical represents "ability to execute". Only BPMS products meeting Gartner's feature/capability checklist are eligible to compete. The evaluation is generally via a questionnaire and interviews and the result is a dot somewhere in the square, which is divided into 4 quadrants. The upper right "leader" quadrant is the place to be. The lower right "visionary" quadrant generally indicates a small company with good technology but not a large customer base or sales resources. The upper left "challenger" quadrant usually indicates more mature products with significant installed base but which lack (in Gartner's view) the "vision" of the leaders. The lower left ("niche players") is where you don't want to be... unless you're happy just to be in the Q at all! From a starting point of "over 150 companies," only 17 made it over the checklist hurdle this time.

The four happy leaders are Pegasystems, Savvion, Lombardi, and Fuego (now BEA), and overall I think that's about right. If you just look at the vision axis, the top two are Pega and Tibco (Staffware) -- that's crazy -- and if you just look at the ability to execute axis, the top two are Fuego and Savvion -- totally crazy. My interpretation of the ability to execute axis must be outdated. How do you explain Ultimus and Appian having a higher ability to execute than IBM, Tibco, or Adobe?

A few other observations. Of the 13 rated products I'm familiar with (I know nothing about the 4 languishing in the lower left corner), only one (IBM) is BPEL-based -- even though Gartner continues to flog BPEL, ESB, and other SOA-ish things in its definition of BPMS. The rest are human-centric. Also, all the leaders and visionaries are Java-based; Windows-based BPMS all fall on the left side of the vision axis.

Gartner also makes special mention of a few future contenders whose BPMS is still "under construction." I.e. they don't make it over the checklist hurdle today but probably will soon. These include Oracle, SAP, Cordys, Handysoft, and K2. My list would probably also add EMC and webMethods.

Of the 8 products in the leader and visionary quadrants, 6 are reviewed in detail in my 2006 BPMS Report series, which is available for free. These include Pega, Savvion, IBM, Adobe, Fuego (BEA update in process), and Lombardi (available in August). If you want to understand more about these offerings than where their dot falls in the Q, check it out.

Note added: If you want to see the MQ report for yourself, you can get it through Lombardi here.

Further update: If you want to avoid registering with Lombardi, Sandy Kemsley has posted the Q here. At least until she gets the cease-and-desist letter from Gartner.