The Key to Smarter Business Processes: IBM Blueworks Live

by James Wakefield
If someone asked you if your business processes are documented, would you confidently be able to say, “yes they are”, and will you know where to find them?

If a change were required to the documentation around that business process, would you know how to communicate it to all the stakeholders involved/impacted by the change?

Documentation of a business process to understand the 'as is', and to identify if there is any chance for process improvement, is typically not a job an employee looks forward to.

The key to any business process improvement project is engaging business users. Common process diagramming tools like Microsoft Visio are a barrier to business user engagement. Visio is a thick client installation; it requires training, doesn't contain the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) diagramming standard out-of-the-box, and is expensive to roll out.

IBM BlueworksLive on the other hand excels at engaging business users, and is part of the 'Smarter Process' family within the Middleware brand of IBM.

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At Tridant we have business processes that need documentation too, and as IBM partners, we use IBM BlueworksLive to engage people in our business, document the processes and find improvements. But before you can improve any business process, it is vital to understand and document what is currently happening. Take the simple example of claiming expenses. BlueworksLive helped us document each step a consultant must do and identify the systems involved and sign procedures required. Prior to this the process was a word document, or just stored in people's memory.

Sometimes a business process might not exist, or you may not know where to start. This is where BlueworksLive offers a very extensive set of templates that outline common business processes within Industry verticals. Even though the application is easy to use, it's important to remember that there is governance around everything with out-of-the-box review/approvals, and a full history of decisions for audit purposes. You might even want to document Company Policies and link them to Business Processes to ensure compliance e.g

I speak to many businesses involved in implementing Lean, Kaizen or Six Sigma. By using BlueworksLive your business improvement teams can work in collaboration on mapping out processes in real time. Team members can be based anywhere in the world and all they will need is a web browser to participate. There is even a chat function within the application.

Unlike Visio, BlueworkLive is very easy to learn and has extensive help available online. It also has an extensive video library available on Youtube for your users to understand and connect with:

IBM also has a large library of Redbooks that people can download to their PC or tablet to read and the BlueworksLive Redbook can be found here:

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IBM has published an infographic, detailing Blueworks Live (source: IBM -

If you would like to give BlueworksLive a go, there's a free 30-day trial available:
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If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.

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