Best of both worlds in BPM – IBM Blueworks Live in the cloud and Microsoft Visio on the desktop

IBM® offers a BPM modeling platform for the cloud: IBM® Blueworks™ Live, formerly named Lombardi Blueprint®. This new platform empowers process owners and business analysts to document business processes, collaborate, share information and drive business process analysis (BPA) for process improvements in their organization. The IBM® Blueworks Live™ tool supports BPMN™ 2.0 for modeling and can also import Microsoft® Office Visio® diagrams. However, BlueWorks Live™ is not designed to export process models back to Visio®.

But in fact, many organizations are actually using Visio® as their preferred mapping tool for BPA. For such a scenario we have created a configuration to export IBM® Blueworks Live™ process models provided in XPDL format to Visio® BPMN™ diagrams. In Visio® business experts can enhance business process models by adding BPMN™ shapes, business objects and organizational structures in order to design sophisticated process models. While Visio® 2010 already supports BPMN™ 1.1, the new version Visio® 2013 also supports the BPMN™ 2.0 notation. By using these BPMN™ templates, Visio® allows to quickly and easily create BPMN™ process model diagrams.

To fully support this scenario in terms of round-trips – from Blueworks to Visio® and back – we have developed a bi-directional transformation between the Blueworks XPDL export format and the Microsoft® Visio® XML drawing format. With this capability, different teams in organizations can efficiently work together for ERP, SOA and BPM projects – despite using different tools. This protects existing investments in tools and documentation and saves time and money. Business analysts, for instance, can use their favored Visio® in ERP requirements workshops and scope process models coming from Blueworks.

Because this round-trip scenario is supported through a configuration, it can easily be extended, e.g. to import best-practice models provided in other formats and notations or to share BPMN™ models created in Blueworks with other tools.

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