As I wrote just over a year ago when Progress (PRGS) acquired Savvion and IBM acquired Lombardi, I have never considered Metastorm (or Pegasystems -- PEGA, Global 360, Handysoft, or Intalio) pureplay business process management (BPM) suppliers anyway. All had come to BPM from other value propositions and would just as easily move on when BPM ran its course as a buzzword. BPM, like ERP, is more a value proposition than a market but back when there were many pureplays, at least you could measure it like a market.
That's no longer the case. In fact when Metastorm's acquisition by OpenText (OTEX; also OTC on Toronto exchange) was announced on February 3, I didn't think it merited a post. It looks like OpenText paid two-three times revenue (ho-hum in Facebook days) but that Metastorm revenue stream is itself a mix of various Metastorm acquisitions over its existence, none of which represents a strong BPM flow in and of itself. Similarly Open Text is a mix of its original enterprise content management business plus Vignette and Smartstream middleware and a half dozen other acquisitions during the last decade. There is some revisionist positioning of this acquisition as Open Text's "move into BPM," but Vignette and Smartstream had already been there.
So there's very little left to measure. BPM is now basically a feature of everyone's middleware (or application set depending on your definition). That's everyone from the big four plus across the alphabet from Adobe (ADBE) to EMC to TIBCO (TIBX). It's easier to say who doesn't have a BPM play: Symantec (SYMC), BMC, and the company formerly known as Computer Associates.
As for BPM as an investment opportunity, Metastorm had looked at going public back in the market trough of 2009 and pulled back. There is no way to invest in them but it appears the only pure BPM pureplays left are very close Microsoft (MSFT) partner Ultimus, close Microsoft partner Appian, and the sort-of agnostic Cordys-- which I think is running on the good will and deep pockets of ERP legend Jan Baan. That means, if you like BPM as an investment idea, invest in Microsoft.
-- Dennis Byron
(No financial interest in companies mentioned except for EMC.)