IBM BPM Standard, Express and Advanced Editions

Since the blue-washing of Lombardi, IBM has introduced three variations on the core product in order to provide different entry level costs to consumers based on the how they intend to use the product suite.

These levels are defined as

  • Express Edition
  • Standard Edition
  • Advanced Edition

Broadly speaking Express and Standard differ in how the consumer is allowed to use the technology where Advanced edition differs in that it allows customers to use integrated WebSphere Process Server (WPS) capabilities which have now been integrated into the technology suite (this includes integration designer which is the new WebSphere Integration Designer and Also Business Spaces)

WPS has always been known for strong integration capabilities and Lombardi has been known for strong human centric capabilities so the combination makes sense in larger more complex environments (barring a solution that meets both needs)  Purchasing Advanced edition would be a consideration for anyone wanting those advanced integration capabilities.

At this point in time, from experience I would not recommended Advanced edition for BPM 7.5.x as there are still issues ironing out the blue-washing of the product for full compatibility with the Lombardi Process Center and model, however version 8.0 will be the version to watch to see if these capabilities are finally integrated and functional in the way IBM intends (once the first refresh pack is released shortly).

Deciding between Express and Standard is more about licensing restrictions.  Express carries restrictions on both authors that can write processes (typically a maximum of 3) and on the number of users that can use the system (typically 200 users)  Express is not licensed for use with a scalable architecture so unless your operator base is under 200 people (or 200 logins) and your existing systems don’t need scaling its unlikely express would serve you.   Express seems to be more targeted to proof of concept / first time projects and systems for internal use (i.e. HR systems, internal processes that have non-critical SLA’s).  Some clients may go Express edition as a form of production trial system then upgrade to Standard if they find the BPM solution can add value in additional areas.

If Express happens to meet your needs the other advantage is its easier to install because it doesn’t support complex advanced configuration options (clusters).  Also if your worried about three process authors don’t be.  A large scale project can be carried by three Lombardi specialists as long as process specialists have a way of capturing requirements in BPMN format or similar.  There are plenty of free BPMN tools around and a great cloud based tool called Blueworks live that allows for design of processes at a business level.  The bulk of the analysis can therefore be done without using the process designer…

Breakdown of features

All editions

  1. Process Designer (BPMN  Compatible)
  2. Collaboration and Playback capabilities
  3. Human Centric Form Designer
  4. Very basic ILOG based process rules
  5. Real time monitoring and reporting
  6. Optimiser
  7. Performance Data Warehouse
  8. Shared asset repository and Process Center


  • Max 3 Process Authors
  • Max 200 End Users
  • Development / Production 2 / 4 cores
  • Single Server only


  • Unlimited Authors
  • Unlimited End Users
  • Unlimited Cores (bound to license costs so scalable cost)
  • Clustering


  • Unlimited Authors
  • Unlimited End Users
  • Unlimited Cores (bound to license costs so scalable cost)
  • Clustering (Golden Topology is relevant)
  • WebSphere Process Server Compatible
  • New tool Integration Designer (SOA / BPEL / ESB)
  • New tool Business Spaces
  • Transaction Support
  • Integration Adapters


So in summary, standard edition is probably going to be the key version that most customers will be happy with as it covers scalability, provides all the key Lombardi features without adding the burden of having trained WPS staff on hand but still has the ability to integrate with anything using custom developed code.   On the sales front I suspect IBM will still get customers to buy into advanced edition for “future proofing” or longer term integration with mainly existing WPS customers buying into the offering for reasons founded on technical needs.