BPM controversy or value?
Nice controversial news topic!
To me (and many others), the main purpose, objective, and hopefully the value, of BPM is to improve and better manage the processes (ideally, to achieve strategic goals and objectives). Emphasis on improve!
Much confusion comes from people automatically associating BPM with technology, e.g., BPM suites/software (BPMS) or any other technology.
The focus has to be on business processes improvement and management. Sounds simple, but often either misunderstood or ignored.
When an organization is considering BPM, it has to start with business fundamentals. What business are they in; their strategy, goals and objectives; etc. Again, this "may" sound basic, but my 20+ years of experience have shown that even Global 2000 organizations often ignore the fundamentals -- only to wonder why the project failed or failed to yield any significant results. Therefore, I have become a stickler about clearly defining and doing the basics and fundamentals.
Once the basics are addressed, technology can be considered as part of an overall BPM solution. Let me quickly add that it is a good idea to think about or know what technology is available and functionality -- but NOT a primary focus or driver in doing basic BPM.
My approach is to try to use whatevever technology the client has for cost, knowledge, and experience considerations. That technology inevitably includes Microsoft (MS) products. So, yes, MS is inevitably a part of the technical solution to do BPM.
However, to even suggest that Microsoft owns the "BPM space" raises the question "How do you define 'BPM space?'" Is it the amount of products that are installed, in general? Or is it what could be used for doing BPM? Or do you want to define BPM space as the best suited technology for doing BPM, from beginning to end? Again clear definition helps to be able to answer a question.
When I do a focused BPM project, my preference is to use the best, easiest for the client, depending on their budget. At a minimum, I want a BPM tool that will allow the client to model and analyze their processes, with metrics, and perform a comparison (e.g., simulation) between the current state process and what changes can be made. Microsoft products are a last resort. On the other hand, a full blown BPMS tool is a serious over-kill (and please, don't let me even hear the acronym SOA -- to further confuse people).
By organizations (oops, I mean, organisations) focusing on BPM basics and fundamentals, the correct and proper tool becomes blatantly obvious!
Existing technology tools (e.g., MS products) may be sufficient, to start doing BPM. However, considering the intent of doing BPM in the first place, dictates that continuous improvement will lead to the need for a full BPMS tool to fully "manage" the processes.
The main point that I want to re-emphasize is that BPM must start with the basics -- Business -- including a clear definition of BPM, goals and objectives. Then, defining the objectives of doing BPM, the realistic requirements will further define what technology can and should be used.