A Year in the Life of BPM

  • December 23, 2010
  • Scott

The Lombardi Blog reminded me that it has been a year since IBM announced its acquisition of Lombardi.  Minhea Galeteanu tells the story from his point of view, and it made me take a step back to think about it from mine.

I remember getting the news on a conference call and having an immediate sense that everything was about to change.

I got the news in a phone call at 5am(!) and then had to wait to confirm it by reading the press release before I really reacted – and I recall having the exact same sense that everything was about to change-  that feeling of standing at the point of the fulcrum on a see-saw, waiting to find out which end will go down and which end up. I was on-site with a customer – I remember worrying that they would have doubts about the platform because of the acquisition – but those fears were put to rest when members of their team came over to congratulate me (they knew I had previously worked for Lombardi).  My initial thoughts on the merger are in the blog.

I got a chance to meet many of my new colleagues at Impact 2010 (which happened to be not only their first trip to Impact, but also mine). Low and behold, what for so long represented “competition” were actually people and moreover nice ones. For the industry (customers and analysts) Impact 2010 was a chance to meet the new IBM Lombardi team. For me, it was a chance to meet the people with whom I now interact with on a daily basis, working together towards laying down the plumbing for the next decade of BPM.

That almost perfectly captures what Impact was like for me as well- a bit of a coming out party for Lombardi’s version of BPM, and I also remember being very impressed with the power of IBM’s “machine”.  I think the Lombardi folks were equally impressed with IBM’s reach. And everyone was impressed with how quickly IBM positioned the Lombardi BPM offering and got behind the message.  As an outsider, you just don’t expect a big company to pivot that quickly.

Mihnea then touts the achievements since the merger, in terms of product releases-  two significant releases of Websphere Lombardi Edition (7.1 and 7.2), and the relaunch of a combined Blueworks and Blueprint being chief among them.  But he’s right – mergers are even more about people and culture.

For our part – the merger has worked out better than we could have expected-  IBM’s partnership programs are more explicit than Lombardi’s were, more prescriptive.  The products Lombardi built are playing on a bigger stage, for a bigger audience.  And those products are actually being improved upon at a pace that impresses us, from the outside.  Moreover, there is the opportunity to share what we know about BPM with a whole new set of customers.

And, just as we predicted, the innovation in the BPM space isn’t over- 2010 more than delivered on the innovation front.

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