IBM plans to acquire business process software firm

IBM strengthens offerings that automate processes to align business and IT functions

IBM plans to acquire Lombardi, a privately held software company that develops business process management applications and services used by organizations to improve decision-making and reduce costs.

IBM has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the company, which is based in Austin, Texas. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal in announcing the plan. 

BPM is a type of software that automates the management of processes that support business functions such as product planning, supply chain execution, insurance application and claims management, human resources, information technology services, and procurement.

Lombardi offers a department-level approach to delivering process management, which will complement IBM's existing strengths in enterprisewide process management software, IBM officials said.

IBM has strengthened its presence and investments in business process and integration software to meet growing user demand for technology that can help them align business strategies with IT functions, said Craig Hayman, general manager, IBM Application and Integration Middleware.

The acquisition also re-enforces IBM’s efforts to strengthen its service-oriented architecture offerings. SOA is an approach to application development that can help organizations run more efficiently through the reuse of legacy applications and databases. Industry experts say that as organizations seek to share more data and services internally and among partners, they are finding that BPM and SOA are co-dependent. Working in sync, the two disciplines can help agencies align business requirements and functions with their IT strategies.

IBM acquired Paris-based ILOG earlier this year for $340 million to boost its BPM portfolio. The market opportunity for BPM software will increase at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 15 percent over the next four years, from $1.7 billion in 2009 to $3 billion by 2013, according to IDC, a market research company.

Cloud-based platform

The Lombardi technology portfolio includes Lombardi Blueprint, a cloud-based process discovery and documentation platform accessible from any browser. It is designed to be easy to use and collaborative so that a wide range of people can work together synchronously or asynchronously to map, refine and improve processes.

Lombardi also offers an application development platform called Teamworks7.

Lombardi software already works with IBM WebSphere middleware. Lombardi provides collaborative and graphical capabilities to the WebSphere infrastructure so users can automate, manage and improve essential operational processes, officials said.

Additionally, the company has a presence in the financial services, government, health care, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, retail, and telecommunications industries that will complement IBM's existing users and partners, IBM officials said.

The Homeland Security Department, Federal Aviation Administration, National Institutes of Health and Navy are among Lombardi's federal customers. The company also claims unidentified users in the intelligence community.  

Both companies are providing solutions for process improvement at the departmental level as well as a platform for process automation. These solutions are designed to help streamline development processes, which typically have multiple iterations of designs from disparate teams, officials said.

After the acquisition is complete, Lombardi will become an integrated part of IBM.

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