IBM Reworks Its BPM Strategy and Products

G00212732

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Summary

IBM's radical overhaul of its portfolio of business process management products, methodologies, services and industry solutions will clear up confusion among its customers and enable IBM to broaden its BPM market opportunity.

News Analysis

Event

On 10-15 April 2011, IBM made several announcements related to business process management (BPM):

  • It announced Business Process Manager v.7.5, based on the WebSphere Lombardi BPMS Edition. The product will become generally available in June 2011, in three editions — Express, Standard and Advanced — using the same licensing model that was previously in effect.

  • It has introduced a new dedicated BPM Services practice made up of consultants from the Global Business Solutions and Software Group.

  • It has introduced a new BPM methodology, IBM Method for Business Process Optimization, that IBM, its clients and its partners will use on BPM projects.

  • It will offer three new industry packs based on IBM Business Process Manager v.7.5: Banking, healthcare and telecommunications.

Analysis

IBM has realigned its vast resources behind an updated strategic vision for BPM, which emphasizes that the goal of BPM is to optimize business results. IBM's updated BPM vision and portfolio will better meet the needs of business stakeholders interested in BPM as an approach for growing and transforming their businesses. Phil Gilbert, former president of Lombardi Software, is now responsible for IBM's BPM business and will provide business direction to IBM's BPM sales, marketing, development and services teams.

The new BPM portfolio advances the simplicity and "build to change" strengths of Lombardi’s products and methodologies to make operations more visible and more agile to enable business transformation. In addition, the new BPM product incorporates the integration and service orchestration capabilities from WebSphere Process Server. This strategy also broadens the market opportunity for IBM's professional services and process solutions.

IBM's new BPM strategy includes:

  • Reducing it from three BPMS products — WebSphere Dynamic Process Edition (WDPE), FileNet Business Process Manager and WebSphere Lombardi Edition — into a single product, Business Process Manager v.7.5.

  • Repackaging, rebranding and updating many of its other BPM-enabling technologies, such as WebSphere ILOG JRules, IBM Blueworks Live, IBM Business Monitor and WebSphere Business Events into a more unified and integrated BPM portfolio.

  • Establishing a dedicated BPM practice consisting of consultants from the IBM Global Business Solutions and Software Group, reporting into the IBM BPM group.

By deeming Business Process Manager v.7.5 its strategic BPM product, IBM is clearing up confusion among its customers and prospects regarding the positioning of its various BPM-enabling products and services. The product itself is essentially an update to WebSphere Lombardi Edition 7.2. IBM has added functions (such as integration features, new mobile functions and enhanced business rule editing) through linkages to ILOG JRules and WebSphere Process Server. Customers making the transition from WebSphere BPM technologies to Business Process Manager v.7.5 will receive significant benefits, including:

  • Improved process visibility (both in design and runtime modes).

  • Easier and governed process change.

  • Better collaboration between business and IT roles involved in all phases of the BPM project.

  • A built-in BPM iterative methodology supporting the entire process improvement cycle.

Recommendations

IBM customers:

  • If you use Lombardi Teamworks, WebSphere Lombardi Edition, WebSphere Integration Developer or WebSphere Process Server, plan to migrate to IBM Business Process Manager v.7.5 to meet your BPM needs. Request an "entitlements" conversation with IBM to map out your license conversion to address your BPM and service-oriented architecture needs. IBM has stated that current WebSphere Process Server and WebSphere Lombardi Edition customers will be able to move their process assets directly to IBM Business Process Manager v.7.5

  • If you are using WebSphere products to meet your service orchestration needs, continue to use your current product set.

  • If you use FileNet Business Process Manager, plan for continued support; however, IBM has stated that it will no longer market FileNet as a BPM solution. For any new BPM projects, depending on your project requirements, consider implementing IBM Case Manager, built on FileNet P8.

Prospective IBM customers:

  • Evaluate IBM Business Process Manager as IBM’s strategic BPMS offering, rather than FileNet Business Process Manager or WebSphere Process Server and related WebSphere products.

  • If you are looking for an IBM solution for case management needs (a challenging BPM use case), consider IBM Case Manager, a set of tools and run-time additions built on the FileNet P8 architecture.

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