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Anne Stuart’s BPM in Action

Dennis Byron

BPM's place in the upcoming decade of corporate change

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Lombardi Software of Austin TX briefed an analyst group on July 29 about the six months ended June 30, 2008. This was not an IT-Investment-Research-type briefing because Lombardi is still privately held. (But I am underlining privately because if the Metastorm IPO is successful it should open the equity-market floodgates for standalone BPM software suppliers.)

Although it provided no hard numbers, the company said it had experienced 50 percent overall revenue growth compared to the same period in 2007, which is impressive in the middle of what fellow Texan and former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm has called a "mental recession" here in the U.S. One of the reasons for the apparent disconnect is because Lombardi is beginning to do well outside the U.S., citing representative customer wins from Ayudhya Allianz C.P. (Thailand), Allianz Hungaria Biztosito Zrt., G&D Integrated, Jaguar Land Rover, Maritz Research, Merchant Investors Assurance Company Ltd., OAD Groep BV, Savvis, Singapore Refining Company Private Limited, TeliaSonera, Wirtualna Polska SA. There were also wins at Yale University and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, two places that many Americans think of as outside the country. During 1H08, the company shipped two major product upgrades which I wrote about here and here.

Given that there was no real news and no numbers to dive into I was interested in what the Lombardi executives thought about the Metastorm strategy. As I discussed on my own site, Metastorm is looking at a market that combines EAM, business process analysis and BPM. Lombardi agrees that it is seeing those functions converging? They said "To the extent that white collar workers are doing all of those things, they need to address it." I don't see the EAM connection but I've discussed why elsewhere.

Another comment I dug into was the President Phil Gilbert's prediction that major changes were coming in BPM. "You won't recognize it in 10 years" I think was the quote. I asked for some more detail offline and Lombardi responded by email:

"BPM is the scalable program by which a company develops and maintains a capability for change. By "capability for change" I mean: having a corporate culture that will actively embrace change, without fear, and work to make that change good. Today, most cultures actively reject change, until forced by market conditions into it. And while companies are finding that the technologies of a BPMS ((roughly characterized as model-based design, business rules, business intelligence, business activity monitoring, and workflow) help, they don't solve the cultural problem of people embracing change. The maturity of today's BPMSs... may reduce the development time of a process application from, say, 90 days to 89 days. But it still takes months for a business case to get approved to charter the project. It still takes weeks to roll-out the new application. It still takes a year to get budget. "

Unless I miss my guess, that's a great statement of the problem you face in implementing BPM in your company. In fact, please comment or send us an email if you are not seeing that kind of resistance because we would like to do a case study for an upcoming feature article. If--as is likely--you are seeing the type of resistance that Phil mentions, we will be happy to do a case study next year.

By the way, Lombardi says:

"The next major release of Lombardi Teamworks will make a big step forward in re-thinking change management around BPMS-developed process applications."

They're not going to sit back and wait the decade out.

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Business process management and optimization -- philosophies, policies, practices, and punditry.

Anne Stuart

I am the editor of ebizQ.

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