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…

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 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 to learn more.

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 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…

A Quick Peak at Blueprint thanks to Google

December 11, 2008

A couple of weeks ago Alex Moffat, chief engineer for Lombardi Blueprint, jetted out to Mountain View to record a video at Google headquarters.

The video, which is in YouTube’s new 16:9 aspect ratio (the only way you want to watch Lawrence of Arabia or Blueprint demos), is part of a series of developer videos Google is doing to show the cool things that can be built using Google Web Toolkit (GWT).

What you’ll see (and what you’ll get)

In the video, which is only a minute and 16 seconds, Alex shows how business users can enter info in outline form which then generates corresponding boxes in an adjacent map view.  These boxes can be easily moved around via drag-and-drop.  Additionally, at the push of a button this high-level view is auto-magically converted into a process flow diagram.  As Alex points out, thanks to GWT, all of this happens completely within any browser without the user having to download any plug-ins like Flash etc.

Extra-Credit Reading

Pau for now…

Blueprint: See what’s so cool about it

December 9, 2008

Yesterday, Dave Marquard posted a cool video on the Lombardi blog that provides a great introduction to Blueprint.  The video, which is less than three minutes long, was created by Nachi Chidambaram, a Lombardi Business Process Management Analyst.  Check it out below.

For those who prefer to read — Spoiler Alert!

The video starts out by showing how a process mapping project works using Visio and the tremendous amount of double-work that’s involved: transcribing from sticky notes, managing and incorporating a blizzard of feedback and keeping track of attachments.

With Blueprint on the other hand, as Nachi explains you can capture the original brainstorming session directly in the browser-based product and then, at a push of a button, transform your discovery map into a process flow diagram.   Also due to Blueprint’s collaborative and wiki-like nature, keeping track of feedback and input is easy and attachments are all stored in a central repository accessible to all.  And given that Blueprint is cloud-based you can get started as fast as you can enter your credit card number 🙂

Pau for now…

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