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IBM Blueworks Live OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

IBM Blueworks Live is #12 ranked solution in Business Process Design tools. IT Central Station users give IBM Blueworks Live an average rating of 8 out of 10. IBM Blueworks Live is most commonly compared to Visio: IBM Blueworks Live vs Visio. The top industry researching this solution is Computer Software Company, accounting for 26% of all views.
What is IBM Blueworks Live?
IBM Blueworks Live is a cloud-based business process modeling tool that helps discover, map and document processes and accessible anywhere through a browser and that generates industry-standard BPMN 2.0 layouts, documentation and output. Tutorial videos guide you through creating and editing a simple process model, allowing you to learn and perform business process modeling in minutes.

IBM Blueworks Live is also known as IBM Lombardi Blueprint.

IBM Blueworks Live Buyer's Guide

Download the IBM Blueworks Live Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

IBM Blueworks Live Customers
Cloudsoft Corp. Ltd., Bayer, S¾SS, Essex County Council
IBM Blueworks Live Video

Archived IBM Blueworks Live Reviews (more than two years old)

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Jared Michalec
VP Client Services at Salient process
Reseller
It has the ability to document in different formats and is not tied to a specific model

Pros and Cons

  • "It has the ability to document in different formats. It is not tied to a specific model. You can look at it from different angles and see the intuitive nature of it. It always generates a valid diagram. You cannot create something that is not BPMN compliant."
  • "We would like the ability to add additional custom colors. We would like to color additional items to add notes to the blueprint."

What is our primary use case?

We are resellers. Our use case varies from client to client, but the most common are for initial demonstration, cut mapping, and workshops with the clients.

We are always looking for opportunities to expand. We work with clients, but we also look at our processes internally and where we could streamline some of those.

We are using the following tools from the IBM DBA portfolio: Blueworks Live, BPM, ODM, and RPA.

We have implemented the IBM Automation Platform for Digital Business with our customers, but not internally.

How has it helped my organization?

We use automation in a few different areas. We have a number of internal (as well as external) processes, like expense reporting, sales handoff, and time tracking, which are all done in the IBM automation suite.

In terms of direction, one of the things that we value of a tool is not just that we are getting benefit from it, but can we apply that benefit to other client situations. One of the things that we look at when assessing if something is a candidate for automation: "Is it repeatable, or is it something that we could bring about to our customers?" This is definitely something that we consider when we are thinking about automation.

What is most valuable?

It has the ability to document in different formats. It is not tied to a specific model. You can look at it from different angles and see the intuitive nature of it. It always generates a valid diagram. You cannot create something that is not BPMN compliant.

It is very usable. That is probably one of its biggest selling features: Its ability to have someone sit down and spend a couple minutes on it, then they are off and running. 

What needs improvement?

In the past, we have seen some projects not start on time. This is because we had some process gaps in our automation. By removing those and getting the right people involved at the right time, we were able to send notifications and make sure the information was in the right place. This has really helped to eliminate that risk.

We would like the ability to add additional custom colors. We would like to color additional items to add notes to the blueprint.

We would like to see more robust API access. We want it to be able to interact not just through the front-end, and have the ability to integrate with other systems more easily.

The reporting and analytics features have room for improvement, as well as some of the management and governance. These should be done out-of-the-box, as opposed to being built manually.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The system is very stable, if it is setup the right way.

The cloud versions that we use for custumer-facing things are usually more resilient, as opposed to us standing something up internally. Sometimes, we miss something, or something is not setup exactly right, but these are not product issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable, either horizontally, adding more servers to the cluster, or vertically, where we are increasing the server size. It is pretty easy to keep up with demand and being able to spin things up and down.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't have a lot of interaction with the technical support. In most cases, we are the technical support, since we have the background. For Blueworks, they are very responsive. 

Often, we will either log tickets ourselves or log tickets on behalf of our customers. Then, the Blueworks support team is very responsive and will get back to us right away.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We try it ourselves before putting in front of our customers.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. For Blueworks, because it is cloud-based, they stand it up for you and provision it usually within 24 hours.

What was our ROI?

The solution has increased productivity and reduced operating costs (in soft costs). 

It saves time, probably a couple days a month, but this is dependent on the process. E.g., it reduces our onboarding from about five days to three days. Therefore, it saves us about 30 days over the course of a year. This is how it helps us from a business process management use case.

For automation projects, the ROI varies depending on the tools. The RPA capability definitely has the fasted ROI and lowest investment. However, we see a more significant ROI with some of the deeper automation tools, like BPM and ODM.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Our licensing costs are very minimal, because we get a lot of the solutions for free (as a partner).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We only work with IBM.

What other advice do I have?

Try it out. It is clear once you start using the solution that it is a different type of application. There is no direct competition to the tool.

I don't think that there is another product out there quite like it. There are some competitors certainly, but they are either more complex, costly, or too simplistic and not geared towards process documentation.

The integration process is pretty open-ended. You need to be fairly technical to make it work, but we have seen success in integrating it with QuickBooks and Salesforce. Now, we are looking at other systems to integrate it with, as well.

I learned the best approach to adopting process improvement across an organization from using this solution.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
SK
Business Process Analyst at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Gives insight into where processes can be more productive

Pros and Cons

  • "It enables decisions based upon processes that we do model, and ultimately move forward with."
  • "We haven't yet been able to dabble in case management with Blueworks Live, as it is not yet offered with the product."

What is our primary use case?

This is the best process analysis tool on the market.

How has it helped my organization?

Blueworks Live gives insight into where processes can be more productive. It gives that, "Ah ha!" moment from a visual perspective. Since a lot of people are visual, having this is helpful as it provides the ability to tweak, update, and refine processes so easily in Blueworks Live, that feeds improvement.

It enables decisions based upon processes that we do model, and ultimately move forward with.

The solution has improved our business processes.

What is most valuable?

The usability is easy peasy. Most of the users from the business who do use Blueworks Live have found the tool through me. I end up training them on it, and they have been using it ever since. They don't usually come back to me for needs after the fact. 

What needs improvement?

We haven't yet been able to dabble in case management with Blueworks Live, as it is not yet offered with the product.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for almost ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is rock solid. I don't have any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't have any issue with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't had to use the technical support, so that is saying something.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was easy.

What was our ROI?

We are seeing ROI from this solution. The solution has saved us time.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This is the only product that I have used in this space.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend starting small when using this product.

We are using IBM BAW. We are also using Automation Anywhere throughout the organization, so the sky is the limit. We are planning to expand automation in our organization. We have several onboarding processes and still have a plethora of manual processes that we have yet to automate. Therefore, the platform is only growing.

From the IBM DBA portfolio, we are using: BAW, ODM, RPA, FileNet, and Datacap.

The solution helps us indirectly with compliance or governance issues.

I attended the business track and client success track at the IBM event, tackling one of each. The biggest take away for me was the focus on journey maps and design thinking.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about IBM Blueworks Live. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
543,424 professionals have used our research since 2012.
AJ
Head of Process Innovation and Robotic Automation at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
The stability is highly available, which is key. You don't lose your work and can autosave.

Pros and Cons

  • "You can use if from your mobile device or you can be on the desktop. It doesn't matter. You are always connected. It is cloud-based, so you don't have to install anything."
  • "The stability is pretty good. It is highly available, which is key. You don't lose your work and can autosave."
  • "The ability to create a very structured rule. With the capability that we have right now, Blueworks Live is more process focused. We should be able to enhance it to include a lot more of decisions as well."

What is our primary use case?

We are using Blueworks Live mostly for process innovation and transformation. With most of our clients, we are using to it to capture the process as is, analyze it, and spatially, the analysis phase helps us. We then come up with a model. The other great feature from the tool is since it is integrated with IBM BPM it helps me import the process, making sure the business is always connected.

We have been using it mostly as an end-to-end enterprise transformation tool. We start with our discovery workshop and Blueworks Live plays a key role. We use this tool to discover processes, analyze those processes, and define them from a tool set perspective: Whether the process should got into BPM, ODM, cognitive, IAB, etc. 

This helps during the UAT phase because it becomes easier to clean the business process model in Blueworks Live, then fitting it on a process which is in IBM BPM or a rule which is in IBM ODM.

With the current account, or engagement, we have been doing a large process transformation where we have Blueworks Live with IBM BMP, BPN, ODM, and Watson (for its cognitive features). There is also Robotic Process Automation from Automation Anywhere, IAB, and third-party integrations with SAP.

The product is business-friendly. That's the key thing that resonates with most of our customers. By giving the demo of the tool in the first 15 to 20 minutes, businesses start to get a feel of how they can use the tool. 

It's intuitive, and it connects really well with business teams.

How has it helped my organization?

Collaboration is key. Therefore, you don't have a document sitting on a shelf for multiple years with nobody looking at it. It is a live document. Whatever you have, it is live and accessible to everyone. 

Multichannel: You can use if from your mobile device or you can be on the desktop. It doesn't matter. You are always connected. It is cloud-based, so you don't have to install anything. People don't have hassle of installing, then updating, etc. It's always on the fly available for you on demand.

This becomes key, and it is a big differentiator.

What is most valuable?

We utilize the collaboration features of this solution, such as editing pathways and uploading documentation, especially the documentation which is a key part inside the solution. There are a lot of accounts with whom we work and they have all standard operating procedures. We are converting them into Blueworks Live models, uploading their documentation and screenshots along with having people to chat with on the fly. When the process is published, there are multiple people using the same process. This has become a key goal from the tool's perspective.

What needs improvement?

There are a couple of things which are not there right now:

  1. The ability to create a very structured rule. With the capability that we have right now, Blueworks Live is more process focused. We should be able to enhance it to include a lot more of decisions as well. Right now, we can create a simple decision, not a complex decision, in tools like the business console, modeler, etc. 
  2. In the file management feature, we get 50MB of space. Maybe that needs to be given out as an option to customers who want to purchase the extra space.
  3. While using the tool, it is a lot like creating a structure in BPM and Compliant, though not like 100 percent the same. The rule part as well becomes much easier when you are not using IBM BPM as a run-time engine, but Blueworks Live only for process discovery. If you want JBoss as a run time engine, it becomes a more compliant tool set and will help to increase your footprint.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is pretty good. It is highly available, which is key. You don't lose your work and can autosave. People do not keeping focused and save their information. Therefore, the information automatically getting saved, so it helps from a stability perspective.

We have the ability to use the tool from our iPad or on the fly. Also, when we are at the airport, we can still login and use it, which helps a lot.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a cloud-based solution.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support, especially for Blueworks Live. There is an option to create a process app, which can be either a check list or a workflow. 

We were facing some technical issues with the execution of our workflow. We wanted to assign the task to a group of users, not to a single user. This is where we reached out to IBM support to help us out and improve the next release of Blueworks Live.

How was the initial setup?

It's two minutes from a setup perspective. We get the I.D. created for our clients, give them the URL, and they are all set to go.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Based on the licenses purchased, from a footprint perspective, you can have as many people as you want. You have multiple different categories of licenses to keep the cost low. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

My hierarchy works only with IBM, but we do work with other products as well.

What other advice do I have?

My first process model had 142 activities. This is humongous from a single process perspective. To model, it took us three days to complete. It helped with our process version control issues.

When we are working with one of our financial clients every quarter to do their financial reporting, the process changes. They had a lot of material weaknesses, so there are process changes. We keep on creating snapshots, so it helps us to to move them from a BPM implementation tool and put a governance structure around it. Creating snapshots helps us form a governance perspective.

We use a document repository. There are multiple places for how we upload documents, either by going to dashboard interface or by taking pictures/screenshots that can be put in the documentation tab. It goes into the file management of Blueworks Live. You can review them later, clean them out later. You have one single source where you have lot of documents which are used across multiple processes. Everything's stored there. It helps in that way, making it lean and having your documentation updated.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
MA
Architect at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Helps us produce an automated, improved workflow solution for our customers

Pros and Cons

  • "Business users understand it really well, which means we can then help them automate their business processes."
  • "We are you using the product as a process mapping tool and as part of a larger process improvement project. We use it with IBM BPM and IBM ODM. We get an automated workflow solution for our customers, an improved workflow automation."

    What is our primary use case?

    Discovery workshops and collaborative sessions with customers.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Very collaborative, and business users understand it really well, which means we can then help them automate their business processes.

    We don't use the document repository.

    What is most valuable?

    In terms of utilizing the collaboration features, really we use everything. We use it for creating the as-is and the to-be business process model; for activities, decisions, documentation.

    We are you using the product as a process mapping tool and as part of a larger process improvement project. We use it with IBM BPM and IBM ODM. We get an automated workflow solution for our customers, an improved workflow automation. We're helping our business.

    What needs improvement?

    I think it's pretty good. I can't think of any additional features it needs.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability is pretty good. It has never broken on me. I've been able to do my job.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is pretty good. 

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Pretty good, pretty responsive.

    How was the initial setup?

    Pretty straightforward.

    What other advice do I have?

    I rate it a nine out of 10 because it does the work.

    I've recommended Blueworks Live to many people, for collaboration.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user842859
    Risk at Citibank N.A. - ISP Peering
    Real User
    Gives us one centralized depository for our critical processes, and it's very intuitive

    Pros and Cons

    • "For me the most valuable feature is that it's one depository for our bank. So it's not like everybody has their critical processes on SharePoint or on their desktops. Everything is centrally located. It's very intuitive, easy to use. The support that I get from IBM is always great."
    • "I wish Blueworks Live had simulations built in, but it doesn't. It also lacks a feature of reporting; ad hoc, drag and drop reporting. A lot of senior people are always asking for reports, and there's no reporting feature within IBM Blueworks."
    • "The APIs are great, except the normal business user doesn't know how to create APIs. So it's hard because IBM comes to us as the business users and tell us to create reporting with APIs, except we don't know that, so we have to turn around and flip it to our IT people."
    • "We'd also like to see it be Six Sigma or Lean compatible, a lot of people have asked about that."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use Blueworks Live to put all our critical processes in one depository, within the bank.

    We've been using Blueworks since IBM acquired it from Lombardi, so quite a while, and we're still using it, but there are quirks with it. That's why I'm here, at the Think 2018 conference, to actually talk with people, try to get some things fixed.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We use it as a process mapping tool.

    What is most valuable?

    We upload all our policies into Blueworks Live. It's used throughout the business for audit purposes, for backup purposes for employees.

    In terms of it helping with process version control issues, I administrate our licenses. I don't actually build the processes themselves. So I don't know all the different processes within all the different departments, how they work and how they run everything.

    For me the most valuable feature is that it's one depository for our bank. So it's not like everybody has their critical processes on SharePoint or on their desktops. Everything is centrally located. It's very intuitive, easy to use. The support that I get from IBM is always great. My sales guy, Steve, he always picks up the phone when I call him. It's good to have somebody like him onboard.

    What needs improvement?

    I wish Blueworks Live had simulations built in, but it doesn't. 

    It also lacks a feature of reporting; ad hoc, drag and drop reporting. A lot of senior people are always asking for reports, and there's no reporting feature within IBM Blueworks.

    The APIs are great, except the normal business user doesn't know how to create APIs. So it's hard because IBM comes to us as the business users and tell us to create reporting with APIs, except we don't know that, so we have to turn around and flip it to our IT people.

    We'd like to be able to bring it on to our server. Because it's in the cloud I don't think that's going to happen.

    We'd also like to see it be Six Sigma or Lean compatible, a lot of people have asked about that.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    More than five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Right now, our challenge is - I work for Citibank. Citibank wants all its information on our side of the wall. This solution is on the cloud. So I'm hoping... I just heard something about the private cloud, but the issue is that we want to bring this on to our server. That's what we're working towards right now because I guess Citibank feels a little iffy that all our information is mixed with everybody else's, and it's vulnerable.

    So far, though, the solution has been stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It's pretty big. We want to make this our go-to process diagram application. There are other vendors that we looked at. So far, IBM is the one that we're mostly interested in, but like I said before, there are flaws. There are groups, especially in compliance - even in our engineering - they want to see where we can improve in a process, where we can cut things down. They want to see where we're doubling employees doing the same work. So we're trying to save dollars by using this.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We were looking at cost effectiveness, if it's intuitive or not to the employee. We went with IBM because it's intuitive and because of the cost.

    Originally we were with Lombardi, and IBM honored the contract that we had with Lombardi. That was great for us.

    How was the initial setup?

    Straightforward, but I had to get our IT people involved. Before, what happened was, you would log in to blueworkslive.com. That meant that any employee from our bank could go home, log in, and all our process flows were there. So what we did was we worked with IBM and we worked with our IT people, and now we've integrated so that we have to be actually logged in to our Citi mainframe in order to get into Blueworks Live. So that's one good thing about it.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    TIBCO, they were at the bottom of the list. Sparx, they were at the bottom of the list too. The top two were IBM Blueworks and an application called AG ARIS.

    What other advice do I have?

    Use it. Test it, use it. It's great.

    It also has a lot to do with my guy at IBM. If we had this, and I had to call in to a number all the time, and it was just support out in India... It's great, but it's a pain sometimes. The guy that I deal with, I call him - he's a sales guy, and I call him with my problems - and he puts me in touch with exactly who I'm supposed to speak with.

    It's a good tool. I like it.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user840858
    Director at a retailer with 1-10 employees
    Real User
    Enables exploring options, modeling a variety of different processes

    Pros and Cons

    • "In terms of the collaboration features, from the point of discovery, it was useful to go to load up the policies and the rule sets that the client had. And in terms of exploring options and being able to model a variety of different processes, that was incredibly useful as well."
    • "Valuable features include real-time modeling and design work, the ability to perform workshops with clients in real-time with the tool, and getting instant output."
    • "Some of the import functionality was a bit restrictive, in terms of loading data in from other data sources. Something as simple as Excel, loading data tables from Excel, wasn't great. And vice-versa. Some of the export and import functionality with something like Visio - which, I know it's a slightly different tool - but being able to work seamlessly with those other tool sets would've been quite useful. I know it was something that was in the pipeline to be looked at. So that would be useful."

    What is our primary use case?

    It was for business process, modeling and analytics, and it performed really well.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has improved the way the organization functions. We were using it for design and modeling purposes. We didn't actually follow through with the tool into an operational process. So it was very much a discrete workshop-based activity.

    We didn't use the document repository, at least, not extensively. We used it as a mapping tool.

    What is most valuable?

    • Real-time modeling and design work
    • The ability to perform workshops with clients in real-time with the tool
    • Getting instant output

    In terms of the collaboration features, from the point of discovery, it was useful to go to load up the policies and the rule sets that the client had. And in terms of exploring options and being able to model a variety of different processes, that was incredibly useful as well.

    Building out my first process model took quite a while, because I hadn't done it before. But the teething problems were very limited and very short-lived. Within 24 - 48 hours, we were pretty much in full flight.

    As for process version control issues, that wasn't something we were particularly suffering from.

    What needs improvement?

    We didn't really explore the opportunities for process execution. So moving from the modeling to the process orchestration, it wasn't very clear how we would do that from a BPM perspective, and then into the larger tool set perspective. But I can't talk with authority on it. We just never actually got there.

    Some of the import functionality was a bit restrictive, in terms of loading data in from other data sources. Something as simple as Excel, loading data tables from Excel, wasn't great. And vice-versa. Some of the export and import functionality with something like Visio - which, I know it's a slightly different tool - but being able to work seamlessly with those other tool sets would've been quite useful. I know it was something that was in the pipeline to be looked at. So that would be useful.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Really stable. We didn't have any stability issues at all.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I don't know about this actually. We didn't experience any problems with it, but we didn't use it at scale. It was fairly localized. I wouldn't have any concerns with using it at scale though.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We didn't use technical support.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We were using a previous solution, it was called "paper and ink." So we needed to something slightly more, well, less 19th-century and slightly more 21st-century.

    When selecting a vendor, what's important is a vendor that understands and is able to provide a clear solution for the problem that's in front of us. In this particular instance, it was an answer to a question we didn't even know we were asking. We had what we thought was our set of requirements, and then we found we actually had a different set. Meaning, we had that first set of requirements and then some others. We were able to not just take one step but take several steps at once. So, having a vendor that understands the problem and is able to deliver the answer is important.

    How was the initial setup?

    Straightforward. It was just really intuitive. It's not a particularly complicated tool to set up. There are fairly limited configuration requirements. It was reasonably straightforward.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We really only evaluated IBM in this particular scenario.

    What other advice do I have?

    For what it did, for what we used it for, it was relatively complete.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.