IBM Offers New Cloud Service to Speed Up, Analyze, Automate Business Processes

SaaS-based Blueworks Live combines business process with automation tools and social network features, delivered by channel partners at prices starting at $10 per user per month.

October 13, 2010

D.H. Kass

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IBM Corp. said it is offering a cloud-based service that allows enterprise level and smaller business customers to accelerate and automate business management processes using its social community features.

The new SaaS-based application, called Blueworks Live, is an update to the vendor’s existing Blueprint software—a free product that enables users to model and refine processes—rebranded and equipped with additional features. It operates on the same principle as IBM’s LotusLive, which is a set of social networking and online business collaboration solutions delivered as a service.

Blueworks Live retains Blueprint’s key features, such as process discovery, mapping, documentation, analysis, and built-in collaboration, and adds social community ingredients and the ability to automate simple processes, officials said.

IBM said that aspects of Blueworks Live are based on input from some 20,000 members of the Blueprint community and data from more than 200,000 modeled and documented business processes.

Using Blueworks Live, either in a private or public cloud setting, users can transcend the traditional way of using email and spreadsheets to build and modify businesses processes, officials said. The product, which contains templates with checklists and approvals, allows team collaboration.

“75 percent of our customers’ processes today are conducted using email or spreadsheet and document attachments,” said Marie Wieck, IBM General Manager, Application Integration Middleware.

“Blueworks Live is a revolutionary tool for the masses, opening the door to valuable business user involvement and insight into processes not addressed by business process management tools in the past,” she said.

Blueworks Live users can improve processes such as marketing campaigns, on-boarding new employees and approval of sales quotes with greater visibility, understanding, insight and control, IBM said. Both managers and team members can view the status of their work through built-in dashboards and reports, the company said.

IBM pointed to one client, Lincoln Trust, a provider of financial services, and a beta user of Blueworks Live, which it said is using process documentation and analysis as a key tool in their BPM projects.

“We now have tools to map out, study and improve all of our processes,” said LaTeca Fields, a Lincoln business analyst. “They are user friendly and logical. I’m excited that we’ve embraced the BPM technology and culture that supports the way we want to manage our business,” Fields said.

Lincoln said using IBM’s BPM solution has prompted a 90 percent decline in customer complaints due to lost or mishandled documents, resulting in an a savings of more than $2 million.

IBM said that Blueworks Live will be available on November 20, 2010. The vendor said that it will continue to offer the Blueprint software.

TAGS: cloud computing,IBM,social networking,SaaS,business process management

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