I believe that SAP is missing an opportunity to more than double their market, in the same space with the same customers, still for business processes, in a new market segment that is amazingly virgin with virtually no competition, and where the customers are only waiting for the first products.
Why do I believe that? Well, allow me:
A Business Process is any process, sequential work or activity, that happens in an organisation. Some are repeatable and linear, others happens in unstructured ways and are hard to model.
Let me keep it simple and divide process types into two groups:
1. The Easily Repeatable Process (ERP for me)
Processes that handles resources, from human (hiring, firing, payroll and more) to parts and products through supply chains, distribution and production. The IT systems go under catchy names like ERP, SCM, PLM, SRM, CRM and the biggest players are as we know SAP and Oracle plus a long roster of smaller firms.
Known to be rigid, but handles events and transactions with precision and in volume. Systems delivers value through extensive reports and full control over resources.
Resource oriented, transactional, event driven systems. Delivered by system vendors with roots in accounting using up to 25 year old technological solutions.
A mature market segment where an upgrade from version 7.0 to 7.1 would not deliver much in productivity growth for the customer so much of the vendor growth stems from finding new customers for the same solutions.
2. The Barely Repeatable Process (BRP)
Typically exceptions to the ERPs, anything that involves people in non-rigid flows through education, health, support, government, consulting or the daily unplanned issues that happens in every organisation. The activities that employees spend most of their time on every day. Processes that often starts with an e-mail or a call. A process volume, measured by time and resource spent at organisations, probably larger than for the Easily Repeatable Processes.
These are mostly handled and organised - frameworked - by systems like paper based rules and policies, e-mail, meetings, calls and now in more modern organisations by wikis and other collaboration systems and methods.
Known by extensive loss of information (e-mails residing on HDDs), little knowledge acquired and reused (typical research says 70% of problems solved before without being known) and most of all, untrustworthy processes (oops, forgot to send that mail). In other words not an iota (well almost) of business process thinking or methodology applied to this huge untapped area of business processes.
Requires a different conceptual representation of the processes and data than the transactional linear processes so this would require a technological shift from the current.
A truly virgin market segment where even installing a humble wiki would increase productivity measurably. And most important, a market where the customers are yearning for solutions.
The big question: Why does not SAP spend almost all of it's R&D funding in the BRP space? It would make utterly, completely, undisputed sense.
Now folks, this situation puzzles me so much that I need some help; is there a glitch in my logic? Good folks at SAP, prove me wrong or right!
[Sidenote: Obviously BRPs is what thingamy can handle nicely, but I'm not afraid of some competition at all so come on ye big enterprise software vendors, I'm waiting! ;)]
[Update: Should have been a question mark in the title really, as afterthought, added that]