One of the innovating ideas I spoke about in the recent BPMS Market Update is the concept of a Business Operations Platform (BOP). Dr. Richard Sykes, Bloor Director of Research, Services explains this as "The Business Operations Platform is a virtual facility on which business processes can be manipulated as discrete entities. The business process is unlinked from the underlying enabling technologies, business requirements, so that one can now drive and shape the business processes required directly, while decisions on underlying enabling technologies can be taken quite independently and driven by the operational requirements of each particular technology platform. You might also thus call it a Business Services Platform." What makes an analyst come alive is when they find a vendor and a product that seems to have grasped and delivered on a concept you have been working on. Last week this happened to me when I had a meeting with Dan Carmel, the CEO of SpringCM.
So who are SpringCM? The company was formed some 3 years ago and they market themselves as a supplier of content management software. Their headquarters are in San Mateo, California, USA. SpringCM's key differentiator is that they market their solution solely as a SaaS offering. In 2008, the company acquired the software company that developed the US Government bid systems—Privia. This acquisition, according to Carmel, saw SpringCM increase its client base almost 50% in 8 months.
But what makes SpringCM a BOP? The product consists of a series of web service modules which cover data capture, document management, workflow and collaboration, document delivery, security and administration. This base architecture is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: SpringCM Architecture (Source: SpringCM)
But SpringCM realised that the cost of setting up for SaaS is not zero; therefore organisations won't work across lots of different vendors as it becomes prohibitively expensive to test each connection. Therefore what SpringCM saw was the emergence of Platforms to develop applications.
The acquisition of Privia allowed them to take an application and put it on top of their existing platform. Each of these applications requires a great deal of business knowledge and each application in its own right won't generate enough money to sustain a large company. So SpringCM set up what they call SpringCM Solutions Central. Solutions partners commit to training in the use of the platform, a launch date, a way of monitoring of leads and joint marketing planning with SpringCM. Currently, Carmel explained, SpringCM have the solutions shown in Figure 2 of which the most have been developed by partners. Now you have a Business Operations Platform and one that is totally SaaS built with the only applications not available in the Cloud those in-house applications that run your business and those of your partners and customers you need to work with.
Figure 2: Spring CM Solutions Central (Source: SpringCM)