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Krissi Danielson

Lombardi Software: Blueprint Helps Business Develop a BPM Game Plan

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Listen to the entire 22:39 podcast Download file


    Agenda and Resources

1. Origin of Lombardi Software's name
     
     a. How BPM relates to football
     b. Football metaphors in Lombardi's products

2. BPM and Top-Down Business Commitment
     a. Major concerns in business
     b. Ensuring scaleability

3. What Blueprint Does
      a. Facilitates planning
      b. Documentation and modeling
     
c. Ensuring collaboration
      d. Collecting metrics

Read a complete transcript of the podcast here

Hear Phil's controversial take on mashups during our 'BPM and Enterprise 2.0' BPM in Action Panel Discussion

Read Phil's 'What a Tangled Web 2.0' blog entry

Learn more at Lombardi Software's Web Site

Phil Gilbert will regularly respond to any comments posted below.

Many IT companies out there have newfangled, technical sounding names that can often leave you scratching your head and wondering, "is that really a word?" Lombardi Software stands out from the bunch in that it is named after famed football coach Vince Lombardi.

"We've got this notion about coaching people through processes and teamwork, and a lot of people collaborating to get things done," explains Lombardi CTO Phil Gilbert. "There's nobody better to personify that than Vince Lombardi."

In keeping with the football metaphor, Lombardi's initial product was called Teamworks and forms designers and forms were called "coaches." But eventually Gilbert realized that the football metaphor might not carry over well to international markets, where the sport Americans call soccer reigns over the football name domain. Lombardi Software's newest product, which aims to help companies document and map processes across organizations, carries the name Blueprint.

Top-Down Commitment

According to Gilbert, there's a lot of confusion in the marketplace about what BPM is and isn't. He points out that one of Lombardi's biggest Google AdWords hits is "workflow" and that many customers' first experience with BPM is a large workflow project. But there's more to BPM than that.

"Our view is that business process management is a business function and it is something that should be pervasive to your organization," he says. "If you're really going to start viewing your company through the prism of process, this requires top-down commitment."

And there's more to that than just technology. Customers tend to struggle with questions such as how to allocate often scarce resources and how exactly to prioritize what might be a list of 50 projects that might benefit from BPM technology. The prioritization discussion leads to the need for a governance model, and then strategy and top-down thinking come in.

"If you don't do it top-down, if you do it bottom-up -- then you don't really have a scaleable way to ensure that you're doing the right things at the right time," Gilbert says.

How Blueprint Facilitates Planning

Implementation of any solution can be done in a decentralized fashion, but companies need to be able to move through the top-down discussion as quickly and effectively as possible in order to distribute the implementation, says Gilbert. Blueprint aims to aid in that process.

"It helps walk that group of people, senior IT and senior business leadership through that top-down process," he explains. "I'm talking a matter of days and weeks instead of a matter of months and years."

Or, for the football fans, Blueprint would be targeting the company's equivalent of the offensive coordinator up in the box -- the person who surveys the field looking for all the defensive possibilities rather than the ones who implement the plays. Implementation may be decentralized, but it is guided strategically by top-level decision makers.

The Everyday Pains and 'Personal Value Proposition'

You may be thinking that's all fine and good, but what about everyday concerns like documentation and modeling?

Blueprint focuses a lot on aligning the strategic forces in the company in order to have the business conversation, but there's also a strong focus on what Gilbert calls the "personal value proposition." Blueprint has the ability to drive the documentation, to collect process maps to draw to some level of detail, to start diagramming the process, and to collect all of the metadata around all of those process components, answering questions from "who is the process owner?" to "how can I get these inputs and outputs in the language I need?"

Companies tend to already do these things but with numerous disparate and often muddled processes, leading to what Gilbert calls "a confusion of artifacts." With Blueprint, Lombardi wants to make those artifacts centrally accessible, to improve ease of use, and to facilitate collaboration.

"Documentation and just getting the process into one place is important. Making sure that everybody knows where that is and they can get to it and they can use it, is even more important.

Ensuring Collaboration

Sometimes certain team members might act as roadblocks to new processes, but Gilbert cautions that these people usually aren't trying to make things more difficult but may be frustrated because the processes they have to go through to collaborate are harder than if they just completed a task themselves. But most people would be happy to collaborate if the tools made the process easier.

"That's the market we're going after," he says.

How Metrics Assist in Planning

Scale is achieved by automating as many transactions as possible, as proven by Google, Gilbert says. This can help in driving revenue, but companies often fail to apply that learned lesson. But BPM can help with that, offering metrics that allow discovery of business rules being applied by humans.

That discovery means that work can become automated, offering metrics for where humans do need to be involved in a process.

"It's giving me a common set of ways that I can measure the work that my humans do so that where I have problems, which may be training problems. It may be skill problems, or it may be any number of problems, data quality problems, " says Gilbert. "It's giving me a normalized set of metrics across the organization that I can apply to my humans.

This process is not unlike how a sports team studies the reasons why they can't make the playoffs despite having seven all-pros. Gilbert explained how one must  understand the parts of the human behavior that contribute to the winning team in your company just like you would on a football field. The BPM platform is less about executing workflows than about generating artifacts of execution in order to better understand them at the intelligence layer and make decisions to solve business bottlenecks, drive up revenue, increase profitability, and increase the customer experience.

For more about Blueprint and BPM, as well as a few real-world examples, listen to the entire 22:39 podcast.


Executive Summary by Krissi Danielsson

 

 

 

Join ebizQ producer Krissi Danielson for interviews with the innovators, movers and shakers behind emerging enterprise software solutions.Have a solution that qualifies? E-mail Krissi at krissi (at)ebizq.net

Krissi Danielson

Krissi Danielsson is a podcast producer with ebizQ and contributor to ebizQ's SaaSWeek site. View more

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