Open Innovation Awards: BonitaSoft

The following 5 “Open Innovation Awards” were assigned on Friday afternoon at the Open World Forum held in Paris. This year a jury of ten international open source experts considered as the most promising and representative of open innovation the following companies: BonitasoftKalturaScaledbSonarSource and Ulteo.

Let’s have a closer look at all of them by alphabetical order.

Bonitasoft, a provider of open source BPM software, recently raised 3 Millions from Ventech and Auriga Partners:

“The team, the business model, and the BonitaSoft solution completely captivated us. Given the reputation that this BPM solution has in the open source community, we are confident that BonitaSoft will contribute to the ‘democratization’ of BPM in business through its technological innovation” says Claire Houry, Ventech. “BonitaSoft has everything it needs to quickly become the open source BPM leader in the marketplace,” says Philippe Granger, Auriga Partners.

The idea of ‘democratizing’ BPM sounds fascinating, but justifying a BPM project maybe not trivial. Download numbers - if these were meant to mean anything - are  ’big’ (140.000) considering that we are talking of a BPM software, but converting users into customers is a different matter.

While Intalio – probably the most famous open source BPM player around (see 2008 BPM Gartner’s magic quadrant) – goes commercial by layering editions (open core), Bonitasoft today generates revenues only through support subscriptions and services. The business model paragraph of their manifesto reports:

BonitaSoft will develop additonal versions of Bonita with professional grade technical support and advanced features to facilitate collaborative work and to industrialize Bonita deployments. BonitaSoft reserves the right to give access to these versions on a subscription basis to its customers only.

My suggestion in this respect is: the sooner the better, upselling is hardly welcomed by the users, and being clear about the business strategy can help potential customers to make their decisions.

From a community standpoint, Bonitasoft is starting to get traction, at least in terms of bug reports and feature requests, much less in terms of code contributions.

Sharing R&D costs doesn’t appear to be a major concern at the present stage, along with standards co-creation and alike.

BonitaSoft business strategy might take inspiration from Talend, but they need to work hard on fostering their ecosystem, provide third-parties with documentation and tools to ease extending the platform and maybe consider to move (also) in the cloud.

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