BPM Futures

Pegasystems to buy Chordiant

Conversations that include the words ‘Pegasystems’ and ‘buy’ in the same sentence tend to cast Pega as the vendor, so this move has the immediate benefit of surprise.

I’m not going to attempt too much learned reflection on the purchase, since I know very little about Chordiant. However, I do know that CRM / BPM mergers aren’t always easy – Staffware bought a small US CRM vendor in the late 90s (whose original name escapes me now) and my own sense was that in the end this was more distraction than synergy. It’s hard to make a world-beating BPM system and, no doubt, the same goes for CRM. Trying to maintain both of those market positions whilst simultaneously promoting an entirely new ‘CRM+BPM’ market position as well requires a near-superhuman organisation of the engineering teams, not to mention sales & marketing.

What leaves me with some interest and excitement with Pega is that their vision has for some years been focussed on all-round excellence in BPM with an emphasis on BPM’s original mission – providing systems that render the exceedingly complex (UI +process+rules+integration+data) sufficiently easy for business process deployment to be affordable and – crucially – for subsequent process change (=agility) to be realistic.

Given this track record, it could just be that Pega will use Chordiant’s technology to push ‘Build for Change’ in quite new and original directions. BPM needs a lift at the moment – perhaps from a ‘should buy’ to a ‘must buy’ – and the vendor that delivers this transition will be richly rewarded. My money to date has been on the big players – IBM, Oracle, SAP – simply because of the size of the challenge in terms of both re-engineering and re-launching into the market. However, perhaps Pegasystems will leverage its intense focus to take the lead, showing the rest of the market the way.

Let’s hope that the fact of the purchase is the least of the surprises Pegasystems has in store.

For more facts and figures, check out this article. Good stuff.