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Think of Bizagi as the CAD/CAM of Process Automation

Interview with bizagi CEO Gustavo Gomez

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Please tell us, what is bizagi all about and what do you do?

Gustavo Gomez, CEO of bizagi: Bizagi (an abbreviation of business agility) is a software platform author. Our experience with process automation started when developing ERP solutions for Apple in late 80s. After delivering successful projects, clients often asked for changes which took too long and were costly to implement. We realized that existing technology was too rigid and organizations ended up adapting their business model to their legacy technology and not all the way around as it should be. Bizagi was born as a new business collaboration platform for faster and more flexible process automation in order to make companies more adaptive to changing market conditions and support the continuous improvement of their core processes. Think of Bizagi as the CAD/CAM of process automation.

What's your flagship product?

Gomez: The Bizagi BPM Suite enables clients to model, build and run business processes by enabling the collaboration between business and IT.

Who is your target audience and how do you intend to reach them?

Gomez: Today we focus on middle to large global enterprises in several industries such as GE, BAE Systems, adidas, Oxy, Audi, Riyadh Military hospital and Old Mutual among others.

What is your distribution model? Where to buy your product?

Gomez: The first pillar of our ‘go-to-market' strategy is ‘free'. We were the first and still only enterprise vendor who offered freemium software. Our modeling and automation environments (Bizagi Modeler and Studio) can be downloaded from our website for free, on an unlimited time basis. This is complemented by a comprehensive self-service program online that includes e-learning, training courses and videos, so the learning curve and adoption of the Bizagi software is significantly shortened.
This resulted in over 2.5 million downloads and over 150,000 active users. Our research shows that most of our customers come from our business community who approached us only when ready to deploy several processes.

In addition to the free ‘pull' model, we also sell direct and through a strong implementation partner network worldwide focussing on big 4s like EY, PWC etc.

I'd be curious to hear any general thoughts you have on market trends in BPM.

Gomez: We operate in a mature and crowded market with a tarnished reputation. This is because many BPM projects take too long to deliver, rarely demonstrate ROI and are very expensive. Bizagi is seen an innovative disruptor who is not only confident enough to offer freemium software but is bold enough to say ‘no metric, no project'. We are known to provide an ROI on every project we undertake and deliver first process in a matter of weeks. Our QuickStart program guarantees delivery of the first process in 7 weeks. Over the last 2 years, we have observed strong increase of interest in process automation which contributed to our significant growth. We expect this trend to continue

Who are your competitors?

Gomez: BPM in its present form has been around form over 10 years so there are many players in the sector although we have been noticing a strong consolidation in the last 5 years. On one hand we successfully compete with computing giants like IBM, Oracle, on the other hand, the pure-play authors like Appian and Pega. Others, like Tibco, Software AG among many others have gradually evolved from document management, technical workflow, SI, process modeling and that origin had a big influence on their products functionality and focus.

You are competing with a lot of industry heavy weights. How do you differentiate from your competitors?

Gomez: When we ask our clients why they select Bizagi, they share with us three main reasons:

  1. Unlike other tools in the market that are yet another tool for software developers, business people understand Bizagi thus enabling the collaboration between business and IT. Our clients consider this collaboration indispensable for the success of their BPM initiatives.
  1. With Bizagi they can automate processes faster: 10 times faster than traditional software development and at least 3 times faster than any other BPM competitor.
  1. Bizagi is enterprise class software that scales not only in terms of users but also to terms of number of processes. There are many alternatives in the market to automate a single process, but when they want to automate the second or third they have so many limitations sharing and re-using information that it becomes very cumbersome and expensive. With Bizagi the more processes you automate, the faster it gets. After all, that's what you expect from a true platform, isn't it?

Additionally our business model is completely transparent, potential clients can download and test drive our technology without restrictions and validate our value proposition (just try to get access to any of our competitor's products)

Who are your customers? Can you talk about some of your clients?

Gomez: Our largest clients include General Electric, Oxy Petroleum, BBVA , Adidas Group, BAE Systems, Generali, AgFirst, BNP Paribas, Abengoa, Basil Read, Old Mutual, Colpensiones (Colombian Government), Mars, Prince Sultan Military Medical Centre and Audi among others.

With Bizagi they have automated all sorts of processes, ranging from a complete hospital, end-to-end supply chain, new product design & development, claims, mortgages and policy expedition among many others. Bizagi is a true process platform without limits.

Targeting this level of enterprises, it is very hard to get your foot in the door. Who founded the company, when? What can you tell me about the story of the company's founding and entering the marketspace?

Gomez: The company started in Colombia developing ERP solutions over 25 years ago. The initial partners and founders (including myself) studied at the Andes University in Bogota and started the company from scratch, without any external investment. I have been the company's CEO for over 20 years.

Is your Company disrupting the BPM market?

Gomez: Let's put it this way: how good does Bizagi need to be in order to be selected by some of the largest and most sophisticated companies in the world against competitors such as IBM and Oracle? We invite everybody to download and compare Bizagi now, just be ready to get very excited.

Does your product support a standard external interchange format for process definitions? Does your product support XPDL? Is this still relevant?

Gomez: Bizagi leads all the BPM standards and we are an active member of the OMG. It not only supports XPDL, but also BPMN, CMIS and BPSIM among others. We believe standards are good for the industry, we lead their development.

When the product exports a process, and then imports it in again, does it look that same? How many other products read that export format?

Gomez: The XPDL standard enables process model interchange between products, with very limited loss of information (such as colors).

Tell me about your ability to exchange process definitions? Can you add or modify an activity in a process instance while it is running? What other modifications can be made to the process definition?

Gomez: Bizagi raison d'etre is to support the continuous improvement of organizational processes in a simple and agile manner. In order to achieve this goal, with Bizagi you graphically define your business model (that is, without programming) including process flow, user interface (with full mobile support), business rules, process participants and integration with existing applications. This model is then saved onto a standards DBMS and said model is interpreted in real time by the Bizagi engine in order to present the process (workflow) application. Since the model is interpreted in real-time, when you modify any of its elements, the web application adapts itself automatically.

 

Can you extend the system with new capabilities, and call those capabilities from within a process? How is this accomplished?

Gomez: Everything in Bizagi can be extended in a standard and future-compatible way, from the UI to the business rules, data virtualization classes or the legacy connectors.

What's next on your product roadmap?

Gomez: Revolutionizing the complete application development space, not just the process automation sub-segment of it. Stay tuned.

Are you targeting a first VC round? If yes when and what will you use the funds for? How much money is being sought?

Gomez: We have grown organically and self-funded so far and we can continue doing so for the short term (2014 and 2015). The very fast growth rates we are experiencing could force us to search for external funds and hence we are currently developing these relationships with potential investors.

What is your exit strategy?

Gomez: Currently we are more inclined on an IPO as the preferred exit strategy.

 

 

Bizagi (which stands for business agility) is a privately-owned company run by software entrepreneurs who are experts in Business Process Management (BPM). Over 350 global customers have selected Bizagi to model and automate their business processes which results in improved operational efficiencies, shorter time to market and business agility. Our enterprise customers gain significant competitive advantage by using Bizagi's software to streamline mission-critical processes (cross-functional, complex and international) as well as mundane daily routines. With global headquarters in the UK, offices in Europe, US and Latin America, Bizagi is supported by a strong implementation partner network worldwide. For more information, please visit www.bizagi.com

More Stories By Xenia von Wedel

Xenia von Wedel, Tech blogger and VP of Socialradius/San Francisco-San Jose. She mainly writes about B2B solutions, social media and open source software. SocialRadius is a full-service social media marketing agency, serving clients in a variety of industries worldwide. The agency is focused on thought leadership content creation and syndication, social media outreach and strategy.