Should I choose IBM BPM or Pega? How strong is IBM BPM?
March 12, 2014

Should I choose IBM BPM or Pega? How strong is IBM BPM?

Prasanna Selvaraj | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Overall Satisfaction

My customer uses IBM Business Process Manager to onboard its clients for trading in new markets. The clients basically undergo a registration process with my customer. The one big problem my customer used to have was visibility into the whole process. Without a BPMS in the past my customer was unaware of the status of the onboarding client, leading to manual phone calls and email conversations to resolve the registration process involving chaos and confusion. In the process a lot of time and money was lost both to my customer and to my customer's client. With IBM BPM on-boarding managers were empowered with real time dashboards which helped them to act on exceptions when they happened not after something had happened. This was a department level usecase.
  • IBM BPM's biggest strength is process modeling. With blueworks its a cake walk to white board processes to stakeholders and chat around.
  • IBM BPM Coaches went through a significant improvement with a easy to customize views, rich Dashboards and REST API for building complex portals. This is a game changer when compared with Pega which is little rigid when it comes to displaying BPM tasks on external portals.
  • With IBM BPM Advanced there is a way to enforce a clean architecture. Long running system to system level processes can get into BPEL Process Server, short running system to system transactions on WESB and human interactions on the Lombardi Process Server. Basically IBM BPM supports SOA to the core. So bottom line is IBM BPM supports human centric, integration centric BPM methodologies. With CMIS support, document centric capabilities are well supported too. This is a another distinguishing feature from Pega which isn't too integration centric.
  • IBM BPM should bring in the Agile methodology and enforce it as a way to build software. If its comes from IBM there is very little chance that vendors can mess around the SDLC, jeopardizing project implementations.
  • IBM BPM should enhance the traceability of implementation with requirements. Blueworks to Process Modeling works well for the first time implementation, however when a process needs enhancement or improvements, the modeling represetation gets blurred due to implementation details. This can be currently worked around with stricter goverance around process modeling, but would like IBM to come up with a solution
  • Merging of snapshots - something needs to be done on this aspect
  • A tool to peek into process data BLOB. Ability to change the process data at runtime - Nice to have.
  • Improved process visibility
  • A realistic chance of improving process, continously
  • Real time tracking and alerting, empowers managers to take decisions on the fly when error happens, not after something had happened
Pega is a comprehensive suite which offers a unique theme of BPM development in the market. A no-coding approach based on rules with inheritance makes Pega a very powerful product. However Pega, falls short on integration centric capabilities and very rigid to customize. On the other hand IBM comes with array of products which suits needs of varying degree. Advanced integration is solved by BPEL Process Server which has support for state based patterns and mediation. Dynamic rules and event management can be solved with WODM, Cloud to on-premise connectivity with Cast Iron, Enterprise gateway and security usecases with DataPower, Social BPM with IBM BPM , WODM, mobify with Worklight.

Pega has a little bit of eveything here and there. It solves the dynamic rule management, brings out the flavor of Social BPM and mobility with Antenna ( I guess) and predictive analytics as well in one single suite. There are certain usecases which needs to have a little bit of everything, however this little bits and pieces of functionality when its blows, Pega would have problems to scale. With IBM its a bit nightmare to maintain a variety of technologies, however you can wish to go for one without the other and go for something only when you truly need it.

Pega vs IBM

Its difficult to pick a winner. In nutshell when you want a full scale BPM with rich integration capabilities go for IBM BPM. On the other hand if you hava mature integration capability already, Pega can yield quick results for you as well. Pega's strength is its methodology. IBM BPM's strength is integration. Actually you can't go wrong with both in terms of implementation. My strong recommendation is to invest time to process analysis and pick a good vendor to support consulting and implementation.
Enhancements to IBM BPM are excellent. What they have done to Lombardi and Process Server is the best fusion I have ever seen.
Have your process first on paper
Its important to first document the process before venturing into BPMS. It will save a lot of pain and heartaches. A BPM tool is no
magic bullet, it merely automates your process. Its upto you to put visibility and tracking on top of it. Provide monitoring so that
you get a chance to improve your process continously.
BPM is not an application
If you are trying to build an application with BPM, chances are that your are alraedy failing. BPM must be a strategic initiative for an
organization. Yes, you build Dashboards, Reports and other software in BPMS, however you do it at a process level not at an application
Know the difference between process data and business data