According to Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm, the chasm refers to the gulf between two distinct marketplaces for technology products: an early market populated by early adopters and insiders, and a mainstream market consisting of the “rest of us". Typically a new technology goes through an adoption cycle and crossing the chasm is a critical step to ensure its acceptance in the mainstream market.
Within the last year we have seen strong indications that BPM technology has crossed the chasm in the enterprise market. In 2010, IBM announced the acquisition of Lombardi and Progress Software entered the BPM market through its acquisition of Savvion. In addition Open Text recently completed its acquisition of MetaStorm expanding its offerings with BPM software.
When leading IT services companies decide to add a new technology to their offered solutions it is usually driven by increased demand from their customers. This indicates that the sales of the new technology are now driven by distribution, price and availability versus market education of early adopters.
Leading IT research firms, Gartner and Forrester have progressively been increasing BPM events and conferences targeting their marketing towards larger enterprises. Attendance has been growing at the conferences and there is also a rise in analysts covering this space as well as new business process consultants.
BPM may be crossing the chasm in the enterprise market however the mid-market is still in the early adopter phase. The majority of the marketing and research is targeted towards the enterprises while technology providers still cater primarily to the enterprise market. This is not uncommon as ERP and CRM technologies went through similar adoption cycles before becoming mainstream across all market segments.
It’s fascinating to witness the evolution of a new technology into the main stream market as it is happening and we’ll keep an eye out for indicators in the mid-market/SMB space.