Market Report: Analysis of Process Automation Investments and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Analysis of Process AutomationOver the course of Q4 2018, BPM.com conducted market research on end-user organization investment strategies and experiences with Business Process Management (BPM) software platforms, also referred to as workflow automation, intelligent automation, and digital transformation platforms. This is the type of software offered by vendors such as Appian, IBM, and Pegasystems. Other references for the software in question include vendors found in guides such as Gartner’s report on "Intelligent Business Process Management Suites (iBPMS)."

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The purpose of this research is to understand how automation software is being used to improve and automate mission-critical processes, and how these results correlate to economic advantages and overall investment size. Through the course of our analysis, we sought to identify the differences in both success rates and ownership costs. Specifically, we examined the costs associated with the different software platforms in use today, as well as the factors that contribute to overall TCO, including the respondents’ respective project scope and resources required to deliver them.


The research began with an online survey consisting of approximately 50 questions related to the participant’s current practice with the software in question. From the survey we received approximately 500 responses. We then evaluated and validated each response. We eliminated any non-compliant entries, such as those from organizations deemed too small or from firms engaged in the sale, development, or specific services involved with this type of software. Then our team conducted follow up interviews with selected respondents to further validate and expand upon their answers. All responses included in this research represent verified end user organizations that are currently using process automation software and have documented project results. Through the validation process, our survey yielded a net total of 104 verified projects.

Research Findings

Research findings are provided in four areas:

    Total Cost of Ownership - Differences in investment required between leading platforms, including combined sums of license, implementation, personnel, and maintenance costs.

    Project Team Breakdown and Total FTEs - Team resources across various development roles required to deliver the projects cited by respondents.

    Time to Market / Speed of Application Delivery - The reported timeframes involved for key development activities required to deliver the projects cited.

    Enterprise Platform vs. Departmental Silos - The scope of projects cited by respondents, and the contrast between leading vendors relative to departmental and enterprise wide initiatives.

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