The significant merger and acquisition activity currently taking place in thebusiness performance management (BPM) space has caused most of the vendors torethink their market positioning and messaging. Vendors who have stayed out ofthe fray are touting their unified product set and independence (read:openness). Interestingly enough, some of the newly merged companies are tryingto claim the unified and independent mantle as well. Let’s take a look at somedefinitions and realities behind the messages, how these capabilities impact BPMusers, prospects and some of the vendors involved.

The term “unified” can be confusing because it may be applied to multipleaspects of a software product. For example, a product may have a unified frontend, which is essentially a common user interface that may connect to severaldifferent modules. Or, a set of BPM modules may all share a common database,therefore having a unified back end. In some cases, it may mean a single productwith one interface, one database and all BPM functionality in one main module.Each version of being unified has its own benefits. A unified front end is keyto ease of use. The end user does not need to figure out which module he has torun to get what is needed. In addition, the user only has to learn one set ofmenus and navigation terminology. It also makes it easier to roll out newfunctionality/capabilities without having to retrain all the staff that workswith the application.

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