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Success for solution provider is all about driving change. Unless customers have some motivation to develop a new business capability or enhance an existing one, they really have no reason to invest in new IT systems.

Unfortunately, while most solution providers have a wealth of technology skills, they usually don’t have much insight into a customer’s business processes. That lack of insight is often debilitating. Unless the solution provider can show the customers there is a better way to manage their business, it becomes exceedingly difficult to have a meaningful conversation about the IT technologies that might enable that transformation to occur.

For that reason, Kramer Reeves, IBM director of product marketing for business process management , says IBM has been steadily increasing the number of business process experts it makes available to channel partners. IBM has 1,000 partners that are officially BPM certified, but only 300 of them are certified to manage the process from end to end. That means that roughly 700 of them may need partners to actually build the IT solutions that enable those processes to run.

Reeves acknowledges that fact that there is obviously a shortage of certified business process experts. In fact, he says industry analysts estimate that the business process management (BPM) market is potentially valued at $5 billion. Right now, however, Reeves says that the BPM market is worth somewhere between $1 to 1.5 billion, which suggests there is a significant BPM opportunity available to the channel.

To help solution providers address that opportunity IBM released this week version 8.0 of IBM Business Process Manager at the IBM Impact 2012 conference. Reeves says that IBM Business Process Manager is now only a lot easier to install, the user interface is a whole lot cleaner. That means that instead of BPM technologies being the province of largely Fortune 500 companies, Reeves says IBM BPM software, which is based largely on the ILOG technology that IBM acquired in 2009, has become more accessible to any number of small to medium (SMB) companies.

In addition, IBM is also making available free discovery assessments in which BPM specialists engage customers to two to three days to identify areas where BPM software can be applied in ways that make a strategic difference. In general, more organizations are starting to approach IT from a business process rather than application perspective. To facilitate that process many of them have begun to appoint executives that are in charge of specific processes no matter what applications are involved or organizational lines that need to be crossed.

The challenge for solution providers, of course, is overcoming the resistance to change that permeates most organizations. It takes not only the support of the internal IT organization to launch a BPM project, but also major commitments from multiple business executives. That can be a tall order in organizations where business executives spend more time competing  for access to internal resources than they do being focused on external competitors, so Reeves suggests that solution providers start off with small projects that provide some immediate tangible results before embarking on large-scale projects.