Product review: Lombardi Teamworks conquers BPM with superb tools, flexible execution
Lombardi Teamworks 6 Enterprise sets the curve with superior simulation and analysis tools, nicely integrated performance monitoring, and unmatched ease of development for IT and business users
The most well-rounded business process management system (BPMS) we've tested to date, Lombardi Software's Teamworks combines an execution and events monitoring engine with a close-knit IDE and tools for modeling and simulation analysis. With the inclusion of human-centric, collaborative workflow and services-based integration hooks, Teamworks can deliver near-seamless mapping, testing, and deployment to execute most any enterprise workflow. Where Teamworks truly stands out from other players is its well-integrated performance server, which draws on a unified tracking data store for both real-time process optimization and historical playback in design phase analysis, where testing for optimal flow and efficiency can be challenging.
[ Lombardi Teamworks 6 Enterprise received an InfoWorld Technology of the Year award. See the slideshow of all winners in applications and middleware. ]
Teamworks gains additional yardage with a superb simulation facility. Embedded directly within the IDE, the process simulator allows analysts to test multiple “what if” scenarios, displaying heat maps that highlight pain points in process flows and even offering suggestions for optimization.
On the downside, although Teamworks uses standard BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) for designs, its runtime engine is proprietary. This could limit execution portability compared to engines such as BEA/Fuego or Fiorano that handle BPEL natively.
I also found the business rule development tools, although well put together, not quite as easy to use as those of Appian (see my review of Appian Enterprise 5.1), and not as capable as those of Pegasystems. Nevertheless, the drop-down configuration interface is sufficient for directing most common scenarios, and hooks to outside rule engines including Fair Isaac’s Blaze Advisor and ILOG JRules are included.
A number of new features highlight this Teamworks release, including a Web services interface that augments the Java API, ad hoc process intervention for in-flight flexibility, and improvements to Lombardi's SaaS (software as a service) add-on, Blueprint, that bolster collaborative process discovery and lifecycle management.
With its clean portal interface, good reporting facilities and performance dashboards, and superb development environment, Teamworks offers a solid BPM solution that doesn’t demand the development expertise required by most high-end solutions. Lombardi Software has scored a touchdown with this latest release.
Tooling for BPM
Lombardi has done a terrific job building its Eclipse-based IDE. Perspectives for process and service modeling, as well as validation, debugging, and optimization, will help developers quickly find their footing.
Modeling tools consist of the usual palette of drag-and-drop, BPMN-compliant constructs and familiar swimlane layouts. Drill-down into services is good, and the Teamworks Library of saved services and connections encourages the encapsulation and reuse of best practices.