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From the personal blog of Ovum analyst Tony Baer (read original blog post here):



This has been quite a busy day, having seen IBM's announcement come over the wire barely after the alarm went off. Lombardi has always been the little BPM company that could. In contrast to rivals like Pegasystems, which has a very complex, rule-driven approach, Lombardi's approach has always been characterized by simplicity. In that sense, its approach mimicked that of Fuego before it was acquired by BEA, which of course was eventually swallowed up by Oracle.

We'd echo Sandy Kemsley's thoughts of letdown about hopes for Lombardi IPO. But even had the IPO been done, that would have postponed the inevitable. We agree with her that if IBM is doing this acquisition anyway, it makes sense to make Lombardi a first class citizen within the WebSphere unit.

Not surprisingly, IBM is viewing Lombardi for its simplicity. At first glance, it appears that Lombardi Teamworks, their flagship product, overlaps WebSphere BPM. Look under the hood, and WebSphere BPM is not a single engine, but the product of several acquisitions and internal development, including the document-oriented processes of FileNet and the application integration processes from Crossworlds. So in fact Lombardi is another leg of the stool, and one that is considerably simpler than what IBM already has.

IBM's strategy is that Lombardi provides a good way to open the BPM discussion at department level. But significantly on the cal, IBM stated that once the customer wants to scale up, that it would move the discussion to its existing enterprise-scale BPM technology. It provided an example of a joint engagement -- where Lombardi works with the engineering department while IBM works at the B2B trading partner integration level, as an example of how the two pieces would be positioned going forward.

James Governor of RedMonk had a very interesting suggestion that IBM could leverage the Lombardi technologies atop some of its Lotus collaboration tools. We also see good potential synergies with the vertical industry frameworks as well.

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