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Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Battle for Dominance in Enterprise Process and 'The Process of Me'

Garter: Major vendors in application software markets, including those focused on collaboration and business process management, will begin to combine application development, business process management, business applications and collaboration capabilities to take advantage of the new market opportunity presented by the 'process of me'. The 'process of me' impacts on many dimensions of IT support to business and individuals and the early impact is particularly noticeable on vendors who participate in all these markets. Gartner expects that the vendors with development platforms, for example SAP and Oracle, will begin to use their platforms to build pre-defined 'process of me' capabilities and offer them as packaged offerings. The biggest mistake that the vendors will make will be trying to take the enterprise processes they know well and adjust these to individual processes. This will not be good enough. With the chaotic nature of the 'process of me', the individual user needs the ability to manipulate the process and the tools that enable the process. This will require a combination of packaged content and user focused tools. Microsoft is well placed with all of the necessary elements to execute against the 'process of me'. This includes Office with its dominance in the industry and business process definitions through Dynamics. In addition, an application development platform, workflow and collaboration services via Sharepoint. However, the ingredients do not automatically make the meal. Microsoft faces challenges in creating a delivery model for products to enable the 'process of me' and in integrating the diverse and historically high independent business units that must collaborate to deliver against the opportunity.

Oracle has a mix of applications, collaboration support tools and development platforms, but the weakness of its market position in support of the personal tools is a major hurdle to cross. However, while Oracle's collaboration suite is not broadly used in the market, it understands how collaboration suites, development platforms and business applications will come together to underpin the 'process of me'. IBM has some of the elements and strategies needed to support the 'process of me'; Workplace, WebSphere, Activity Explorer and Activity Centric Computing. The lack of its own business applications may limit its ability to create an off the shelf solution to support the process of me and will likely result in IBM taking a more developer centric approach. The packaged processes that it already delivers via Workplace Solutions may take on a much larger role in its product portfolio, but will require a combination of development efforts and consulting investments. SAP recognises that this is where the market is going and is looking for alliances. It made a bold move in support of the individual process perspective with its Mendocino project with Microsoft, which is now renamed as Duet. However, the result is primarily causing Microsoft to wake from its slumber and address the issue from its own position of strength. SAP has a challenge ahead to better understand the processes around individual activity as it has traditionally only focused on the enterprise. Many alliances, even between the competing vendors, to serve the emerging need for the 'process of me'. The recently announced Duet partnership between SAP and Microsoft is a striking illustration of this. However, while the partnerships will deliver useful capabilities, they are essentially tactical and will result in the companies delivering both their own 'process of me' capabilities in addition to the partnership. The competitive dynamics at play will not allow the vendors to cede control of one half of the user experience over the long-term.

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, Barcelona

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