The Gartner BPM Summit: Cool High-Tops, TLAs and The Price is Right

A couple of weeks ago, my second day on the job, I was on a flight to our Nation’s capital to take in the Gartner BPM Summit.  It was a great way to dive into the wild and wacky world of Business Process Management.  It also enabled me to meet a lot of the members of the Lombardi team who aren’t based here in Austin.

To say it was different from the last tech event I attended (Debconf08) would be an understatement.  Out the 600 odd attendees, I don’t think I saw one t-shirted hacker. While I did see a cool pair of high-tops (see below), it was mostly a blazer-clad crowd (moi included).

These shoes are so money!

According to Gartner, the assembly was pretty evenly split between Business (51%) and IT (49%), roughly 60% of which identified themselves as currently being involved in a BPM project of some sort.

Some of the things I learned

The three days of the Summit I hit a whole bunch of talks to try to get up to speed in this industry which is new to me.  I learned a ton, met and talked with a lot of great people (including a buddy from high school that I hadn’t seen in 15 years and who is now at IBM) and soaked up a whole bunch of new TLAs.

Here are a few of the notes that I took:

  • BPM is a journey that affects culture, skills and the way that work gets done
  • BPM objectives: Agility, speed to market, compliance, customer satisfaction, efficiency and cost savings.
  • Whoever best describes the problem is the one most likely to solve it (I want to remember this one)
  • SaaS: Two of its biggest benefits are: 1)  its pricing model allows it to fit within an operational budget (no need to get your manager’s manger’s manager to sign-off) and 2) the web-based nature allows for nearly instantaneous implementation.
  • During the Thursday morning SaaS session Michele, Cantera of Gartner and conference co-chair, positioned Lombardi Blueprint well by saying that it targets the business person and not the business analyst and thereby opens up BPM to a much wider audience (the “accesible pricing” doesn’t hurt either).  I also liked her phrase “Modeling in the Cloud” that she used to describe the space that Blueprint plays in.
  • In Michael Blechar’s talk on Business Process Analysis (aka BPA) tools he offered up a great quote appropriate to the space of process modeling.  Everyone knows the first part of Muhammad Ali’s famous quote, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” but Michael provided the rest of the quote, “Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.”

Gene Rawls models what to wear with C-note high-tops.

A vendor presentation that’s not a sales pitch!?

Lombardi was a Platinum sponsor of the event and we had a booth, a couple of talks and a great Hospitality Suite on Thursday night.  Ill have to admit that when I heard we were doing a vendor presentation, given my experience with other vendors at other conferences, I was expecting a Lombardi roadmap presentation and sales pitch.  I was therefor completely taken by surprise when Toby, our VP of Professional Services got up and didn’t talk about Lombardi at all but instead took the audience through the 10 things needed for a successful BPM project.

For the second half of the hour, Toby turned the platform over to Gene Rawls, VP of Continuous Improvement at Wells Fargo and Lombardi customer.  Gene, in his soft-spoken manner did a great job of telling the audience how he and his team went through their implementation and what to expect.

Come On Down!

One of the high lights of the conference were the hospitality suites on Thursday night.  Three other vendors hosted a suite and the themes they chose were football, James Bond/Casino Royale and rockstar/Guitar Hero.  We chose “The Price is Right.”  While it was a cool concept, the execution was very cool.  We held actual 10 contests and gave such amazing items as a Toaster Oven, an iPod Speaker Dock, a luggage set and a NEW CAR (ok it was a remote control toy Hummer).

Lombardi marketing VP Jim Rudden channels his inner Bob Barker.

Pau for now…

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