Escape from Visio

March 2, 2009

Interestingly enough, the product that Lombardi Blueprint most often replaces for process mapping is not some high-end tool but rather Visio.  So to let Visio users know that there was a better way to document their processes we launched a PPC campaign on Friday.

The campaign takes the user to a landing page on our site where we feature a  2:49 video (starring yours truly in his very first role as a video pitchman).  After a brief intro, the video takes the viewer through a high-level overview of Blueprint and compares it to Visio.  Check it out:

If you like what you see and want to try a 30-day free trial you can sign up here.

Pau for now…


Latest Rev of Blueprint (Rock ‘n’) Rolls out

February 16, 2009

reo1The latest Blueprint update debuted this weekend.  Being a cloud-based application we are able to push out a new Blueprint release every ~6 weeks and drive continuous improvement in the product.  (In case you’re wondering about the picture to the left, each release comes with its own cheesy-band code name.  As you can probably guess, the code name for this release was REO Speedwagon).

We’re Listening

In this latest Blueprint release we tackled the top three customer requests we’ve heard over the past few months on the forums and out in the field:

  1. Autocomplete revamp
  2. Swimlane improvements
  3. File attachments and the word export

If you can spare 1 minute and 18 seconds, check out the video that Blueprint Product Manager Dave Marquard put together that takes you through the new features.

For more details on the release, check out Dave’s entry.

Coming Soon to a Browser near you

What’s next? Well alphabetically we are up to “Survivor” and its gonna be a cool one.  It’s coming out party will be in April at our Driven 2009 user conference.  Until then, you keep up with the latest and greatest in the world of Blueprint by following us on twitter.

Pau for now…


Forrester Posts Great Blueprint Review

February 10, 2009

At the end of last year, Blueprint Product Manager Dave Marquard and I had a call with Forrester analyst Clay Richardson to brief him on Lombardi Blueprint.  The result of that call and a considerable amount of further research was a 6-page report that debuted last Friday — “Vendor Snapshot: Lombardi Blueprint Bridges Gap Between Process Discovery And Execution.”

Here is the Executive Summary from the Forrester site:

Austin-based Lombardi Software’s latest offering, Blueprint, positions the vendor to extend its leadership in human-centric business process management (BPM) and takes direct aim at Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Visio as the tools of choice for process analysts. Blueprint provides a process modeling and discovery platform that blends collaboration and documentation capabilities into an easy-to-use, low cost, software-as-a-service offering that can be used by beginner to expert process analysts. To stay ahead of the pack, the platform needs to continue extending its collaborative Web 2.0 functionality as other BPM suite vendors play catch-up by introducing similar offerings. Consider Lombardi Blueprint if you need a collaborative and lightweight process discovery tool that is tailored to support geographically dispersed process discovery teams.

We are in the process of licensing this report and as soon as we do, we will be making it available on the lombardi.com site.  If you are already a Forrester client, you can log in access the report here.

Pau for now…


Teaching Process

February 6, 2009

Yesterday I chatted with Dr. Joyce Statz who has been teaching a course at St. Edwards University in its school of management and business.  Her course, “Multiple project and portfolio management” is offered as part of the Masters of Science in Project Management degree, and teaches how to manage multiple portfolios of project work in an organization.

I recently learned that Joyce introduced Lombardi Blueprint as a tool within her class and had a lot of success.  I called her up to learn more.

Take a listen:

>> My talk with Joyce (6:11): Listen (mp3) Listen (ogg)

Joyce Statz in the process of teaching process.

Joyce Statz in the process of teaching process.

Some of the Topics we tackle:

  • Who are the students that make up her class and what are their backgrounds?
  • Mixing concepts with hands-on exercises
  • Replacing Visio/Word/Excel in the classroom
  • How the strongest Visio advocates at the beginning of the term became the biggest Blueprint champions at the end of the course.

Blueprint Educational Program

Lombardi provides free Blueprint subscriptions for educational use.  If you are teaching or taking a course where you think Blueprint would be appropriate, please contact us at blueprint@lombardi.com to learn more.

Pau for now…


“Stalking and capturing a Business Process” — Blueprint grabs virtual ink in Forbes.com

February 4, 2009

When I was out at Cloud Connect, I met Dan Woods who writes the Jargon Spy column for Forbes.com.  Turns out Dan has a particular soft spot in his heart for BPM and I was able to give him a quick demo of Lombardi Blueprint.  The result was his piece that came out yesterday, “Stalking and Capturing a Business Process — We need a process for creating business processes.”

Be vewy, vewy quiet, we’re hunting pwocesses

Dan is clearly sold on the value of business processes and BPM:

“For large and small firms, the business process is the right way to think of what to do and how to do it better, whether or not it is automated or supported with technology. BPM puts the focus where it should be–on what you must do to make your company successful, not on the capabilities you happen to have.”

What he wants to know however is how are these processes captured in the first place?  If the processes being submitted aren’t of quality, how can you expect the BPM results to be?  Garbage in, garbage out.

Incremental and Collaborative…that’s the ticket

Dan argues that developing the processes incrementally is the only way you can be assured of solid inputs.  The three approaches he advocates are: Wiki-based process discovery, Task-based process discovery and Mash-up based process discovery.  And this is where the Blueprint shout out comes in:

Lombardi Software has recognized this trend and recently launched a Web-based service called “Blueprint” that allows for collaborative brainstorming and definition of processes. Using this service, you start with a bunch of ideas and can end up with a nice diagram. The JargonSpy imagines such a system could be used as the scratch pad for capturing and refining the processes that emerge in the other three methods.

Thanks for the mention Dan, and thanks for pointing out the importance of iterative and broadly inclusive input collection up front.  For without that, are we not building our BPM castles on diagrams of sand?

Pau for now…


Experience using Excel, Powerpoint…Lombardi Blueprint… a plus!

January 19, 2009

Last night when I was checking my Google Alerts, I came across a job description for a Process Modler/Analyst position.  In the Requirements Section it stated: “Experience with Lombardi Blueprint a plus.”  It looks like Blueprint has arrived :)

Blueprint recognized Across the Pond

In other Blueprint related news, at the end of last year there was an article in ComputerWeekly.com in the UK about how Blueprint was used by a “US dairy giant” to overhaul its processing.  The article focused on the Web 2.0 nature of the solution:

A huge dairy cooperative in the US, which supplies the likes of Wal-Mart, Safeway and Costco, has taken hold of Web 2.0 technology in order to reengineer its whole business.

Change came with the arrival of a new chief executive officer, who identified that IT could bring massive efficiencies to Tillamook in the form of business process management (BPM).

He gave Burge and his IT team his backing to investigate Web 2.0 technology, to see how it could be used to identify, capture and optimise the firm’s “tribal knowledge”, and drive down inaccurate information.

Tillamook examined several applications, including diagramming tool Microsoft Visio – which the firm found too complicated for its needs – but eventually chose Lombardi Blueprint.

Blueprint is at an inflection point right now.  With the economy in the shape its in right now, we are seeing quite a bit of interest in a solution that can be paid for on a monthly basis and help drive costs down and efficiencies up.

Here’s to saving money!

Pau for now…


West Bend Insurance uses BPM and Process Mapping to Create New Offerings and Streamline Operations

January 14, 2009

Over the the holiday break I chatted with Stacie Kenney, a Business Process Analyst with West Bend Mutual Insurance. West Bend is located in Wisconsin and has been around since 1894.  They offer property/casualty insurance for businesses, homes, autos, and personal property through independent agencies in six states.

stacie_westbend-edited1Stacie and I discussed how she worked over the last year to help create a small commercial offering which, before BPM and process mapping, had not been practical to offer.

We also discussed the role that process mapping played in the recent IT department re-org, helping to streamline processes and breakdown silos.

West Bend Business Analyst and Blueprinter, Stacie Kenney

Take a listen:

>> My talk with Stacie (7:17): Listen (mp3) Listen (ogg)

Some of the Topics we tackle:

  • West Bend’s “Smart Business” offering and how it leverages new technologies like services, content generation tool and Teamworks.
  • Given that the “Smart Business” premiums were small, the goal was to de-complicate the process so that the agencies could set up the policy with very little time up front.
  • Before Blueprint, the BA’s leveraged Visio for flows along with a “mammoth” spec doc in Word.  The biggest issue with this approach was keeping the content in sync.
  • West Bend was drawn to Blueprint by its collaboration and document generation capabilities.
  • The “Road To Excellence” and the IT re-org, breaking down silos and centralizing the BA’s.
  • Using process mapping to document the flow of work coming into the BA group from the business, categorize it and then deliver it back on a monthly basis.

Pau for now…


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