Lombardi's August Blueprint Update

Scott Francis
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Over the weekend, Lombardi pushed out their August, 2009 Blueprint update.  This release continues Lombardi’s track record of pushing releases out every 6-12 weeks with significant improvements (and yet, without so many changes that current users get lost). In the current revision, additional export options were added.  I was able to easily export my processes in an Excel summary format, as XPDL, and as BPMN 2.  The hardest part about doing this was just finding/remembering where the export feature was hidden within Blueprint (hint: instead of just opening your process, open a “project” and then you’ll get a view that lists each of the processes and gives you export options for each).  The help and/or forums will benefit from an update to guide users to this very useful page. I always assumed that Lombardi would make it easier to import than to export from Blueprint, and admittedly the import features were rolled out first (from Visio and Teamworks for example).  But the export / publication features have caught up – to Powerpoint, Word, Excel, XPDL, BPMN2.  The last two representing the kind of structured export I wasn’t confident that Blueprint would support because those are also opportunities for other BPM tools to pick up the models for execution.  Clearly Lombardi feels confident that their end-to-end user experience and tooling will cause customers to use Blueprint and Teamworks in combination rather than Blueprint and other tools.  Lombardi claims this is the first shipping implementation of the BPMN 2 specification. Earlier this year, I wondered out loud about the future of BPMN 2.0 as an exchange format given that Lombardi and a couple of other hold-outs had finally adopted XPDL 2.1 as a supported exchange format.  Lombardi reassured me that they still fully intended to support BPMN 2.0, and I recently had a conversation with Signavio (another vendor which supports XPDL -look for more on this in another post), who also stated their preference for BPMN 2.0 as an exchange format. Full-text search is another feature that was added to Blueprint.  Not sure what technology they use behind the scenes but it seemed to do the trick for my searches.  The what’s new feed has been updated as well, but those and other refinements are a little more subtle – the kind of things you might not explicitly notice as being different, but you’ll appreciate being able to find things just a bit easier, in general (and *thankyou* for the longer process names – mine always seem to be a bit verbose, like my blog posts).