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Government // Enterprise Architecture

IBM Acquires BPM Vendor

Lombardi Software's products are typically used at the departmental level, giving IBM an entry into customers who might later expand to enterprise deployments.

IBM acquired Lombardi Software, a privately held maker of business process management applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

BPM software is used to automate processes within a business to make them more cost efficient. These processes include product planning, supply chain execution, insurance application and claims management, human resources and IT services and procurement.

Lombardi's products include its Blueprint software for collaborative process modeling and its Teamworks application for human-centric process execution. IBM has an integration-centric product called WebSphere Process Server, so the Lombardi software is likely to run with that offering.

Lombardi's software is typically used at the department level, giving IBM an entry into customers that could decide to expand to more enterprise-wide deployments through IBM's Global Business Services. Lombardi has customers in financial services, government, healthcare, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, retail and telecommunications industries.

However, some BPM experts questioned how the acquisition would benefit either company's customers. Analyst Neil Ward-Dutton of MWD Advisors said there is almost "100% product overlap" between the two companies.

"What's more the design philosophy of Lombardi's offering is almost diametrically opposed to that of IBM's offering -- many of Lombardi's strengths come from its tightly-integrated toolset and repository," Ward-Dutton said in his blog. "It's not straightforward to see how these things can come together to form a coherent portfolio - unless they're basically fenced off from each other and positioned as supporting different kinds of BPM scenario, with Lombardi focused on 'people-centric' processes, WebSphere on 'system centric' processes."

Phil Gilbert, president of Lombardi, said IBM brought the resources needed to move the company into far larger deployments in big corporations. "Together, IBM and Lombardi deliver scale," he said in his blog.

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