Lombardi Announces Blueprint Spring Release '09, Teamworks 7

Scott Francis
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Lombardi just announced Blueprint’s spring release.  Looks like the key features are around Sharing and Linking, as well as controlling participant and author access.  Since the release doesn’t drop til Saturday, we’ll have to wait til next week to do a review of the new functionality, but once again it looks like the Lombardi team has managed to make significant strides forward in a quarterly-release format. Simultaneously, they’ve launched the marketing for Teamworks 7.   In that marketing push they claim a 50% advantage in productivity over Teamworks 6, better visibility, and the ability to manage every aspect of the deployment through the Teamworks Process Center.  On the Features page, they have videos that really drive home the point of how well the new approach in Teamworks 7 should work.  I’ve seen demos of Teamworks 7 before, as this has been in the labs for a long time.  They’ve made a lot of progress in the last year on this platform, and they clearly weren’t trying to hit singles or doubles, but home runs. Snapshots and Back-in-Time are features I just haven’t seen on other BPM platforms.  The fact that two authors can edit the process at the same time, while preserving every single change as a restore-point, really removes constraints from collaboration scenarios.  Traditionally you version things in files and check them into VSS, CVS, Perforce, etc.  But Teamworks 7 takes an approach to “Versioning” that follows the Blueprint example:  snapshots, change-history, audit-trail, etc.  Its much more robust than previous versioning options.  You can even run the process “as it was” at some point in time, rather than as it currently is.  The fact that all of this is baked into the authoring environment makes it much easier for process development teams to take advantage of it. They’ve also amped up the re-use opportunities by making re-usable toolkits easier to access.  These toolkits are separately versioned, and a process can be configured to use a particular version of a toolkit, rather than being forced to use the most current toolkit version at each point in time, or forcing the process author to micromanage the connections between processes and toolkits. Of course, I’d like to see Teamworks make the UI still more flexible – perhaps by exposing more AJAX-oriented tools for building mashups that include Teamworks processes.  The portal is still a bit too monolithic for my taste.  But this is perhaps one area where stood pat with essentially what they already have.  Reporting also didn’t get as much attention as I might like – Teamworks already provides great support for tracking data, but some out-of-the-box toolkits for connecting to various visualization technologies would make this data more accessible. In the new website launch, one of the features are the videos interlaced with the header of each page, featuring various folks at Lombardi giving 1-2 minute explanations of their programs.  Its cool, but it is almost disturbing when they come to life without some kind of video bounding box!  (okay, maybe that’s just me). The only thing I wasn’t clear on for Teamworks 7 was the General Availability date – Blueprint’s release (Saturday) was published and sources tell me Teamworks 7 will be available in some form in just a few weeks… UPDATE : wow, quite a few more articles about Lombardi’s new releases lately. From ebizQ, CBR on Lombardi Revs is Product Suite, and the PR release on Lombardi University, and another article on the UK Register, and yet another reprint of the Teamworks release on Intelligent Enterprise, with one on Blueprint here.