Bluespring's Suite 4.5 whets appetite for BPM
Innovative Microsoft-centric suite wades into shallow waters of business process management
Administration of users is uncomplicated. Users' access to processes, reports, and tasks is role/permission based, and multiple roles can be assigned to an individual. On the downside, users with multiple roles don't gain a unified view of the enterprise. Roles can't be combined in Bluespring, limiting your current log-on credentials to a subset of your total tasks and reports. I would prefer to see finer-grained access baked into the package.
It was easy, however, to build up roles and hierarchical staffing associations to be used, for example, to automate escalation of past-due tasks to a supervisor. And, Bluespring can pull data from Active Directory as well as LDAP to build its internal security database.
Sink or swim
I was sorry to see that all custom business intelligence beyond the 50 or so canned reports supplied depended upon the BI stack in Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services. The suite offers no direct interface for easy department-level report autonomy or collaboration.
And although it is Web services-accessible, the inbound taps to the engine amount to little more than process initiators. The package would be better served supporting more complex data exchange, asynchronous call opportunity, and interfaces for real-time process insight.
Bluespring also needs to keep an eye on competitors such as K2 and its forthcoming BlackPearl release. Although Bluespring is currently the easiest choice for SharePoint integration (K2 can get you there but via API and a lot of elbow grease) K2 also has some big plans slated.
Bluespring has demonstrated a good foundation in this release. Solid tools for rapid process development and integration of document-driven workflows could already satisfy many departmental workflows. And, the company has confided a well-defined roadmap due out later this year that points it on a path toward some innovative territories, which are sure to further enhance process management of Microsoft-driven solutions and workforces. This is one company I'm betting on for more good things in the future.
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