As a leading BPM Software Company, we often get approached by small to mid-sized companies that want to develop a specific vertical industry workflow application inside our BPM Software so that they can sell it to others in their industry. I really love it when I am fortunate enough to be in on the meeting or phone call with these prospective customers.
90% of the calls we get from customers are from Process Consultants, VPs of Process Re-engineering, CFOs, of Process Managers of one sort of another, etc. These users are interested in deploying a BPM Software Suite in their companies to improve efficiency, eliminate paperwork, and reduce costs. This is, of course, exactly what Workflow Software and Business Process Management Software is meant to do. So, from a vendor’s perspective our role in answering the potential customer’s questions is quite standard and we understand it well.
But every now and then, we get a call from a business owner, usually of a small business, and they aren’t just interested in automating their company’s workflows. These business owners have usually heard about BPM software and they have probably watched one of our BPM diagramming videos, and then a giant Light Bulb probably turned on.. They no longer see simply a solution to their own efficiency problems, rather they see an enormous opportunity. They see an opportunity to become the underlying Operating System (the DOS or Microsoft Windows) of their industry. They may even see a way to get out of the rat race they are running with their competition and actually become a supplier to their competitors.
I call this realization – “striking BPM Gold – the discovery of a Vertical Niche.” There are still hundreds or thousands of these epiphanies out there and waiting to happen. They usually require an entrepreneur with a slight inclination towards technology. I would say they have to have creativity and an appetite for starting new projects – but then again all entrepreneurs tend to posses these traits. These entrepreneurs suddenly realize that they can build a digital solution which can automate not only their business, but their industry vertical segment. And then they realize that if they don’t do it someone else will. Usually, the next step in their mind is to create a workflow solution, own the workflow solution, brand the workflow solution, and offer it as a hosted service/solution.
I really love to be on these calls myself because I love to hear about new industry segments, and I love to hear the excitement of the entrepreneur as he comes to the realization of how quickly he can implement such a solution and how “automatic” he can make his business and industry segment. As a Business Process Management solution provider, we love to be part of these solutions. And the beauty of Open Source BPM and Open Source Workflow is that the entrepreneur can really control his destiny by designing his own vertical application. He has access to the code and can easily combine it with other software when and if necessary.
So, if you are out there in a relatively paper based industry where you have many years of experience and know exactly how your industry should work – have a look at BPM Software. Do your research into workflow automation, and figure out if you are sitting on some BPM Gold. Find the right BPM software vendor partner, and then go for it! Remember, if you don’t do it, your competitor probably will. If he does, you will probably be paying him a small fee each month in the very near future to keep your business running on his software platform.