IBM BPM Overview

IBM BPM is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Application Infrastructure tools. It is most often compared to IBM Business Automation Workflow: IBM BPM vs IBM Business Automation Workflow

What is IBM BPM?
IBM Business Process Manager is a comprehensive BPM platform giving you visibility and insight to manage business processes. It scales smoothly and easily from an initial project to a full enterprise-wide program harnesses complexity in a simple environment to better meet customer needs.

IBM BPM is also known as WebSphere Lombardi Edition, IBM Business Process Manager, IBM WebSphere Process Server.

IBM BPM Buyer's Guide

Download the IBM BPM Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2021

IBM BPM Customers
Barclays, EmeriCon, Banca Popolare di Milano, CST Consulting, KeyBank, KPMG, Prolifics, Sandhata Technologies Ltd., State of Alaska, Humana S.A., Saperion, esciris, Banco Espirito Santo
IBM BPM Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about IBM BPM pricing:
  • "I wish it was less expensive. I don't know why their pricing model is so high for a piece of software that could benefit so many. It just seems to me that they could have a lower cost, maybe with fewer features or whatever, but it should be possible to do a lower cost workflow software that uses the same interface and underlying engine but does not cost so much that you have to be a Fortune 50 company to buy it. It is annoying to me. There are a lot of solutions that IBM has that are really powerful but nobody can afford them. They know their business, but I still feel that there are a lot of customers who would benefit from this sort of thing. I don't know what this elitism is all about. I am sure they have people doing the money numbers, but it seems like you can make a lot more money by selling it to way more people for a little bit less."
  • "It's expensive. All software is always extremely high. The manufacturing cost that we have compared to the selling cost, it's not like you're building a house or building a car. But putting that aside, considering that it's expensive, it's a lot of money. If you compare it with some of the other alternatives in the market, it's a similar price. For instance, if you compare it with Pegasystems, it's a similar price."
  • "The price of the solution is fair for an enterprise solution that has both cloud and on-premise deployments and when comparing to competitors. Recently IBM has introduced Cloud Pak which allows for more flexible licensing options for automation and other features."
  • "IBM could improve the price. It is far too expensive."

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Blake Smith
Unemployed at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
A very stable and powerful tool for handling lots of concurrent users, but it is expensive, and the Eclipse-based tool has performance issues when you have a lot of developers

What is our primary use case?

I used it in my previous company where we did a lot of work with banks, financial institutions, and accounting firms. We were primarily using it for automating business processes, but a lot of them were really custom applications that used the process engine for making things happen. We were using it in innovative ways to make that BPM process engine do lots of other things that I'm not sure it was really ever designed to do. There was a lot of financial stuff. There were financial calculations that would fire off a SQL process and then get the results back.

Pros and Cons

  • "I liked its robustness the most. It was a very robust platform in my experience. It seemed like a very stable and powerful tool for handling lots of concurrent users and hammering at the system."
  • "It is a really powerful tool, but its entry price is so high, which makes it a very exclusive club for who gets to use it. The thing that seemed to be the most intolerable was that you could put lots and lots of users on it, and it worked fine, but if you put lots and lots of developers on it, it sure seemed to have challenges. The biggest challenge was the development because of the Eclipse tool. It just seemed like irrespective of the development team that you put together, whether it had 10 or 50 people, you would end up having to reboot the development server throughout the day when you concurrently had lots of people hammering on the system. The development server just got sluggish. This was true for every project I was on. Once you got more than about five people working on the system at the same time, it would just get slower and slower during development work, and the only way to fix it was to reboot the server. It became just like a routine. Sometimes, we would reboot at lunch or dinner time, which is silly. After the cloud instances started rolling out, I never saw that again. That was probably the one big advantage of the cloud version. Instead of using an independent Eclipse-based process development tool, we moved to web-based process and design. The web-based tool definitely had greater performance than the Eclipse-based tool. I never got onto another project after that with 50 people, so I don't know how the performance is when you get a large team on it, but it definitely seems that the cloud design tool was a massive improvement."

What other advice do I have?

When it first started, one of the things that were clunky about it was that it was ugly out of the box. It was not a very pretty program. There was a whole ecosystem of people who would do development on top of this IBM business tool, and everybody was coming out with their own toolkits to have a better UI application-wise. That was a real big problem. Towards the end, they bought up something called SPARK UI, and that toolset was significantly prettier and made the applications that you produce with BPM look a lot nicer. There are definitely some improvements there, and they are heading in…
Zoran Cerkez
Owner/CEO at IT SPHERE
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Offers lots of space, quite stable, and perfect for large enterprises

Pros and Cons

  • "IBM's deployment box is one huge black box. We can create all the services with our own code or without a codebase, however, we have a huge amount of space with practically no limitation."
  • "If you want to use IBM BPM, you will have to invest a lot of money for licenses and you need to learn that there are limitations in developing applications. You cannot create anything you want."

What other advice do I have?

We're just customers. We are not partners. We don't have any business relationship with IBM. I started with the very old versions, with only BPEL processes. It was also BPM, however, I was using BPEL processes Right now, for the latest client, we are using the business automation workflow 19.0.0.3. Our clients are mostly in the banking industry, and therefore we don't really deal with the cloud versions. IBM is preparing some new tools specific only for the banking industry and for the cloud. I don't much about it but I'm sure that it will be presented soon. Basically, if you company is large…
Learn what your peers think about IBM BPM. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2021.
512,711 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Pedro-Peres
Senior Manager at Celfocus
Real User
A business process management solution with a lot of capabilities and potential

What is our primary use case?

I'm a consultant. We are working for a consulting company, and we initiate solutions in IBM BPM at the moment, mostly for banks.

Pros and Cons

  • "Overall, I'm satisfied with the product. If you compare it with other products, it's probably not as easygoing or as simple to implement as the rest. But after you get used to it, it works. It has a lot of capabilities and potential, but the people, who come from different technologies, have some difficulty getting used to the way of working with IBM products."
  • "This is technology, and there's always room for improvement. It would be better to have a single solution. Trying to have an overview in terms of this solution brings together the concepts of BPM processes, customer journeys, and an automation part for KPIs. All of this working together and coming up with a single solution with privacy is more commercial than anything else."

What other advice do I have?

I would advise potential users to get proper training and figure out the most suitable version that they need. Because in terms of internal versions and support, they need to be careful. Like all software, the latest versions always include some bugs. Older versions lack some support. You need to be careful about that. Have a proper solution architect that knows enough about the BPM system's ins and outs to make sure that you have proper internal support in terms of projects. Apart from that, try to build a close relationship with the vendor. People who come from different technology…
Paul Parisi
Enterprise Architect at Mobiliser
Consultant
Top 5Leaderboard
How to decide which edition of IBM BPM you need
Since the blue-washing of Lombardi, IBM has introduced three variations on the core BPM product in order to provide different entry level costs to customers based on the how they intend to use the product suite. These levels are defined as Express Edition Standard Edition Advanced Edition Broadly speaking Express and Standard differ in how the customer is allowed to use the technology where Advanced edition differs in that it allows customers to use WebSphere Process Server (WPS) capabilities which have now been integrated into the technology suite (this includes Integration Designer which is the new WebSphere design too and also Business Spaces) Update: IBM is introducing additional changes to BPM Advanced edition that will result in a further divergence of the…
VC
Manager - Systems and Services Delivery at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Straightforward to set up with the potential to scale but configuring was difficult

What is our primary use case?

We're primarily using the solution for workflows, mostly. We are a telco-based company, however, most of our use cases are kind of in a workflow format. We're trying to workflow things across other systems.

Pros and Cons

  • "The installation was straightforward."
  • "They should incorporate an API gateway functionality within it to simplify integrations."

What other advice do I have?

We were just end-users and customers of IBM. It's hard to rate the solution as we didn't really get to use it. I would likely rate it at a seven out of ten - if it was installed correctly. If I learned anything from the experience, it's the importance of proper training. A company really should get proper IBM training to understand the product first, before committing to purchasing and implementing it.
SuhasVasudevamurthy
BPM Architect at GBM
MSP
Improved user interface, easy to scale, and highly reliable and stable

What is our primary use case?

I am a Solution Architect and I support both cloud and on-premise versions of IBM BPM. I use the solution for banking applications, such as account opening, fund transfers, corporate and credit limit approval process. In the insurance sector, digitalization, underwriting, life insurance claim settlement process, and vehicle claim settlement process.

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution has always been lacking in the user interface (UI), it needed to be improved a lot. However, from the acquisition of Spark UI, the UI is much better. Overall the solution is robust and has the ability to integrate with any product for complex workflows."
  • "IBM BPM integrated with Spark UI and the UI is now much better, but they still need to improve the UI because competitors have predefined templates and other additional features. In these competitor's solutions, you are able to use the templates, map your data, and the form is ready to use. With this solution, you need to write a lot of code to have the same quality as the competitor's templates. It would be a benefit to make this platform more towards low-code or no-code."

What other advice do I have?

I rate IBM BPM a nine out of ten.
FB
Digital Banking & Innovation Director at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
The processing functionality makes it easy to change processes and workflows easily

What is our primary use case?

We do use not the BPM alone; we use the BPM with the ODM and the BPM with the RPI from IBM too, which is Automation Anywhere. So we have a lot of pieces connect to accelerate the process. We have a business process to open accounts and a workflow from open accounts to transfers. The transfers include internal transfers and international transfers. We have a business process to open accounts and a workflow from open accounts to transfers. The transfers include internal transfers and international transfers. We have about 60 processes, including nine complex processes implemented. We also have… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "This is one of the best tools to support the business and the way we work, and the numerous processes we need to implement."
  • "The front end is not customised for a good user experience."

What other advice do I have?

It's a robust technology, able to support a lot of processes so that users can use it in a large group processing environment. I don't customers use the latest version. The latest version, 6.0, has been out for 2 to 3 months, but there have been many problems with it. It is best to use a mature version in the market, which is well established.
AV
Head Enterprise Platforms at Mashreq
Real User
Top 5
Add option simplifies scale of production and all production processes

What is our primary use case?

We currently use IBM BPM in our company to digitize platforms, to ensure that whatever we are currently doing in terms of manual operations, gets digitized. It means that anything a customer needs becomes an STP journey straight through processing instead of requiring any manual work. We chose IBM BPM because of that. I'm the head of enterprise platforms and we're a customer of IBM.

Pros and Cons

  • "Good user interface and good add option."
  • "Could increase vulnerability and security patches to make it more robust."

What other advice do I have?

I have no serious complaints, it's basically the combination of pricing and the security vulnerability that are concerns. I think they also repackage a lot of their products within the new upgraded version of IBM BPM, a BAW - Business Automation Workflow. For anyone contemplating using this solution, it's important to study the entire landscape of your business operations. A solution needs to be chosen based on your business needs and there are multiple solutions available. If you're a smaller company, for example, there are other tools like Zing that have less scalability, but it's a…
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Buyer's Guide
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