Finally, after tinkering around with its new, hosted business process management web application Blueprint, IBM (news, site) has announced November 20 as the launch date for Blueworks Live, a rebranded and upgraded version of Blueprint that enables users to create ‘lite’ BPM apps that are more responsive and agile than the bigger BPM suites.

While the original Blueprint app, which enabled users to model and refine processes, will still be available and free, to create and run processes with the new service will cost US$ 10 per user/month.

It will also enable team collaboration on daily tasks that would normally be carried out by less easily managed applications like email, while users will be able to automate all processes and benefit from Process Apps templates containing checklists and approvals.

Simple, Social BPM

What this does will make business processes social, one of the key elements of creating agile BPM’s, and which we looked at last month, but with none of the weight or installation problems that are normally associated with large BPM suite deployments.

When it launches, whether enterprises decide to use it in a public or private cloud, there will be three simple ‘work’ areas:

  • Community Area, where process will be identified
  • Work area, where users can develop Java-based process apps
  • Library, where BPM apps are stored for later use or refinement


While this may the first time that IBM has ventured into the area of cloud-based BPM, it has considerable history in the BPM area.

Only last month it upgraded its FileNet Business Process Manager, one of the targeted software packages in the IBM acquisition of FileNet.

In it, it consolidated five BPM products into one offering with cost reduction and ease of use in mind. The content-centric BPM bundle now includes FileNet Process Monitor, FileNet Business Process Framework, FileNet Connector for Microsoft Visio and FileNet eForms. Addressing monitoring capabilities, IBM Cognos Now! is also part of the deal.

But it’s not a surprise that it has been so attentive to its BPM portfolio. In the first-quarter of 2010 alone, IBM reported double-digit revenue growth in BPM and integration software.

BPM and the Cloud

And now, the move is on towards BPM in the cloud, according to research carried out by Datamonitor (news, site) earlier this year.

In a report in March entitled SaaS BPM: Silencing the Skeptics it said that while demand in the on-premises BPM market continues unabated, SaaS BPM is slowly finding acceptance in certain pockets of the BPM market.

Lower entry costs, broader reach and faster time to deployment is endearing SaaS BPM offerings to customers that are comfortable with the cloud computing application delivery model.

It is also attractive as many business processes are carried-out using resources outside an organization, such as BPO, SaaS customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and cloud infrastructure.

The result is that as the number of external influences in a process grow, it will become imperative for BPM to be able to customize the external services it consumes.

Scheduled for November 20, Blueworks Live keeps will keep all the features from BPM Blueprint -- such as process discovery, mapping, documentation, analysis and built-in collaboration -- as well as adding social community features from IBM BPM BlueWorks Beta.