This is the sixth in a series of articles I shall be producing based on a major piece of research being undertaken by Bloor Research on the BPMS market. For those of you who read Lombardi adds to its Blueprint). At the end of July 2008, I attended an industry analyst briefing on their results for the first half of 2008, followed by personal briefing for the Bloor BPMS Market Update 2008 survey with Lombardi management. So what is happening at Lombardi who was one of the initial BPMS start-up vendors?
For those of you who have not come across Lombardi before, here is a short overview of the company. Lombardi was founded in 2000 and has its headquarters in Austin, Texas. There are other US sales offices in San Jose, California; Boston Massachusetts; and Reston, Virginia. Lombardi moved into Europe in 2005 and has their European headquarters in Maidenhead with other offices in Paris and Frankfurt. 2007 saw major investment in their European operations not only with direct staff but also in expansion of their partner network. In 2008 Lombardi has established a number of important reseller and implementation partnerships for the AsiaPac region, and the company will also be establishing direct operations in early 2009.
Lombardi's sales strategy is based on a direct selling staff of 20 or so people across the globe with further 25 people in support roles. The second layer of the sales strategy is through reference selling with technology partners such as Progress, Vignette, iWay and system integrators and this channel accounts for 30% of total sales. The third layer of sales is through reseller partners. Resellers are to be found in Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The final sales strand is through being incorporated by an OEM of their platform. Good examples are Fiserv, Paisley Consulting, Infor (Geac), Covestic, Siperian, Enkata, Van Meijel Automatisering, and Wolters Kluwer.
According to Lombardi, customer projects tend to fit into 2 types:
- ‘Project', where a company is using BPM to solve or manage a particular process issue.
- ‘Program', where a company is using BPM to change the company at a strategy level.
Lombardi sells to companies across a wide spectrum of vertical industries, but the strongest sector for the company is the financial services industry (like for most BPMS vendors) Customers include Allianz Group, Dell Computers, Ford Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Intel and T-Mobile
So enough background on the company, what about Lombardi's product portfolio? Well, the key component is Teamworks, their BPMS suite, which is now at version 6. The complete product portfolio is:
- Blueprint: This is a SaaS product that is like using electronic post-it notes on a whiteboard when defining business processes with end-users. The service is hosted at a secure, SAS 70 Type II compliant server environment (internet data centre) and its user environment is very Microsoft Office-like. It is licensed in team units of 10 users and there is also minimum "Free" license which allows a single user to work on a process definition.
- Teamworks 6 Enterprise: the BPMS suite consists of three main components. The Lombardi Authoring environment which is an Eclipse development tool, which supports BPMN process modeller, report wizard for report design, a rules designer that builds rules graphically, and an integration wizard. The second component of the Suite is Lombardi's own portal offering as an alternative to Microsoft SharePoint. The final component of the Suite is the common runtime services, which include the Process Server to support process execution and the Performance Server for process tracking and measurement.
- Teamworks for Office 2003: provides the complete Lombardi BPM functionality embedded in an Outlook 2003 user experience. All the Lombardi functionality can be accessed directly from inside Outlook. All process information is organised in folders and key actions can be launched directly from the Lombardi toolbar.
- Teamworks for Office 2007: as for Office 2003 but with support for the new features in Office 2007
- Teamworks 6 for SharePoint 2007: provides a set of SharePoint web-parts for tasks and reporting. Lombardi has built in support for the ad-hoc creation of shared workspaces, discussion lists and sites at any point in a process. This is useful for "case management" collaboration scenarios.
So what does Lombardi think are their unique selling points and how do they stand up? Lombardi told Bloor that customers come to them because of:
- The business value that Lombardi offer in terms of the business facing capabilities of the product portfolio, the optimisation and analytical capabilities available and the visual appeal of the products to the business.
- The speed, flexibility and ability to change in terms of both installation and development. This is in combination with the support for roundtrip optimisation and single shared model.
- The technology delivered by Lombardi based on a model driven architecture and using Eclipse as well as support for other industry standard such as BPMN.
- The market success of Lombardi based on the number of years in the business and on the number of Global 2000 customer references.
OK so that's the Lombardi marketing spiel, how hoes it stand up in practice? Lets us look at each of these points in turn and analyse them:
- Business Value: Lombardi's value proposition, as stated by their management team, provide the best BPM tools, approach and skills training for any company that wishes to deploy an enterprise BPM program. Lombardi's strategy with verticals is to market and deliver BPM as a platform that companies can use to improve productivity throughout the organization. Currently they have no plans to build frameworks, templates or point applications for specific verticals, what they have done instead are partner solutions that operate in particular verticals and knowledge about certain industries based on their own professional services support for projects. In some ways, Lombardi's support for vertical solutions could be viewed as not as strong as some competitors, but their OEM partners mean that product is being used to support a number of vertical solutions. The claim about optimisation and analytical capabilities of the Suite are true from a technical viewpoint. However the real proof is how these capabilities are implemented to get the best out of them. So to get the best value you need an SI who understands how to use the tool in your scenario. Visual appeal is an interesting proof point as all the BPMS tools look the same in a way as they all have a Windows look-and-feel. For business users it is important that the product is intuitive to use. Teamworks and Blueprint do have this going for them. So in terms of Business value, it looks like a yes, but there is a degree of user perception that goes into this.
- Speed, flexibility and ability to change: The first key to Lombardi's success is the 3 services packages that they have put together that exploit their tools capabilities. The first of these packages is the Process Inventory package that in 3 weeks delivers an inventory of Level 1 process in an organisation as well as key business KPIs and SLAs with a prioritised process improvement roadmap. The second is The 3 day Process Assessment package that looks at a single process and drills down to produce a set of level 1 and 2 process maps of the "As-Is" process plus a number key KPIs and SLAs for the process as well as a ranked list of problems and opportunities for the process. The last package is the Process Analysis package is a 2 weeks engagement which is a more detailed version of the second package. Snell stated that these service packages were a definite differential and many customers were using these to get kick-started in automating their business process. Smith added that the success of these packages would not have been achievable without the tools in the products being able to support change in a flexible and agile way. I definitely see that this is definite yes in terms of proven support for the marketing claim.
- Technology: this is a difficult claim to assess as it depends on the client situation in terms of needs and existing environment. Lombardi certainly have all the capabilities that one should be looking for. Like a number of BPMS vendors, Lombardi have developed close working with Microsoft Office Suite which certainly make the user interface very familiar to many business users. So my assessment of this claim is that is in the eye of the beholder!
- Market success: There are many documented reviews by other analysts (IDC and Forrester) that have found that Lombardi customers are extremely satisfied with their purchase. Lombardi has more than 200 customers in the Global 2000 with 10 of the Fortune 100. A pretty impressive pedigree! They have achieved double revenue growth for the last 4 years and are running on their own cash flow. However there is a bit of user perception that has to be implied as to whether this pedigree works in the sector the user is in. So all on the whole, Bloor would see that this claim is substantiated, potential users need to check on other users in their space.
Lombardi is one of the founders of the BPMS market. The company's stance is unusual in some way in the market with no direct verticalisation strategy, but instead one of using partners—both OEM and SI—to deliver. Lombardi are in the process of expanding their sales network to penetrate markets outside of the North America. The approach taken has definitely paid dividends in terms of sales in Europe. The possible recessional market could however cause a blip in an otherwise exemplary rollout. Lombardi management reported to Bloor that for Q3 2008 they had beaten thei plans in terms of new customers and revenues.