WebSphere BPM Analyst Briefing

The second of the analyst roundtables that I attended was with Angel Diaz, VP of BPM, and Rod Favaron, who used to head up Lombardi and is now part of the WebSphere team. My biggest question for them was what’s happening (if anything) with some consolidation of the BPM portfolio; after much gnashing of teeth and avoiding of the subject, my interpretation of their answer is that there will be no consolidation, but that customers will just buy it all.

IBM has a list of 10 questions that they use with their customers to determine which BPM product(s) that they need; my guess is that most customers will somehow end up requiring several products, even if the case could have been made in the past that a single one would do. Angel and Rod talked about the overlap between the products, highlighting that WPS and Lombardi have been targeted at very different applications; although that has been true in the past, the new functionality that we’re seeing in WPS for human-centric processes is creating a much greater overlap, although I would guess that Lombardi is far superior (and will remain so for some time) for that functionality, just as WPS provides greater scalability for pure orchestration processes. There’s also overlap in the modeling side between the free BlueWorks site and the on-demand Blueprint: both offer some discovery and mapping of processes, and as more functionality is added to BlueWorks, it may be difficult to justify the move to a paid service if the customer needs are minimal.

They were more comfortable talking about what was being done in order to move Lombardi fully into the WebSphere family: a single install for Lombardi and WAS; leveraging WebSphere infrastructure such as ESB; and the integration of other IBM rules, content and analytic products to provide an alternative to the previously existing third-party product interfaces used in Lombardi TeamWorks. They also discussed how the small Lombardi sales team has been integrated into the 800-strong WebSphere sales team, and used to train that team on how to position and sell the Lombardi products.

We had a very enjoyable session: I like both Rod and Angel, and they were pretty relaxed (except for the points when I asked if they considered FileNet to be their competitor, and mentioned that Blueprint should be Lotus rather than WebSphere), even having a competition where whichever of them said “TeamWorks” (instead of IBM WebSphere Lombardi Edition) had to throw a dollar into the pot, presumably for the beer fund. At the end of it, however, I was left with the thought – and hope – that this story will continue to evolve, and that we’ll see something a bit more consolidated, and a bit more cohesive, out of the WebSphere BPM team.

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