Business Process Mapping (BlueWorks Live)

When to use a single or multiple accounts with IBM Blueworks Live

By Genevieve van den Boer posted Sat September 21, 2019 12:27 AM


Each tenant of the IBM Blueworks Live multi-tenant SaaS application is referred to as an account. This IBM Blueworks Live account is the basis for all user entitlements. Licenses are purchased per user per account and each user can only have a single license type within an account at any given time, e.g. a user can be either an editor or a contributor, and an administrator can change their license type throughout the year as needs change, but this license type applies to the entire account.  At the core of an account is the Glossary where all of the terms used across the account are defined.  The structure of an account is comprised of a hierarchy of user-defined Spaces containing all of the account artifacts (sub-spaces, processes, decisions, policies, process apps). An IBM Blueworks Live account can be highly customized, and one of the jobs of the IBM Blueworks Live Account Administrator involves setting up & managing the configuration of their account.

One of the first decisions that the Account Administrator will need to make is whether to set up a single IBM Blueworks Live account for their organization, or whether to set up multiple accounts. In general, it is  recommended and preferable to use a single, consolidated IBM Blueworks Live account across your organization whenever possible as this encourages reuse, helps establish common naming conventions across organizations, facilitates sharing of best practices, provides an enterprise-wide view of the process and decision landscape, and reduces administrative and user management overhead. There are some exceptional cases, however, where having multiple IBM Blueworks Live accounts within an enterprise makes sense.

In this article, I'll review criteria to help you determine if you should use a single consolidated account for your enterprise or setup multiple accounts.

One Account, Separate Spaces

Access to artifacts are managed at the Space level in IBM Blueworks Live, rather than at the account level. If you have different needs for different sets of users for viewing or editing different artifacts in IBM Blueworks Live, you can likely achieve this using Spaces.

The following requirements for isolation can be all accommodated within a single account using Spaces.


How to Address

in progress vs published artifacts

As an Account Administrator, setup different spaces for different purposes, e.g. sandbox, individual spaces, official viewable artifacts, sharing examples, etc.

edit access controls

Individual spaces have their own access control lists with individual user or user group access rights. As a Space owner, use the Users access control list to separate out artifacts according to project, department, individual, etc.

temporary editor

As an Administrator, use the user license type slider to promote/demote user abilities

reduced visibility

Users will only see the Spaces that they have access to. A typical user will not have visibility to all Spaces, but only to those that are relevant to their work. As a Space owner, use the Users access control list to limit access to those who require it.

controlled published versions

As an Administrator, setup separate a Space with edit access only available to centre of excellence editors or administrators, add all other users with access to the Space, but no edit access

Multiple Accounts

In IBM Blueworks Live, Administrator-managed account customization settings and the Glossary are account-wide, not Space-specific.  Thus, if you need to support different account customization settings or a sub-Glossary, you will likely need to use separate IBM Blueworks Live accounts.

If you have any of the following requirements for your usage of IBM Blueworks Live, you will need to use separate accounts to achieve them.



isolated testing environment

Testing settings without impacting day-to-day usage, e.g. Security & APIs

country data residency requirements

Adhering to requirements to host materials in specific countries, e.g multi-national enterprise with processes and related documentation for different countries

account customization

Requirements for different administrative settings, e.g. branding, security, etc. (Customizations)

specialized properties

Usage of different custom properties with the same name that mean different things (e.g. different languages)

unique glossary entries

Managing different glossary entries available to a variety of users, e.g. language-based entries or curated (official approved) vs non-curated (draft non-approved) glossary entries

When deciding whether to use multiple accounts in IBM Blueworks, examine these requirements thoroughly to see if the multiple accounts are needed for the long term, e.g. a testing account might only be used for a short duration in a project to try out new security settings, and whether the requirements are firm, e.g. could they be modified to match the capabilities provided by a single account.  Consider that, in general, the total cost of ownership of multiple accounts is higher than a single account solution, as you will typically have additional administrative overhead for managing multiple accounts, additional licenses for users who need access to multiple accounts, additional governance for managing different teams who follow different terminology, concepts, standards, and practices, and additional complexity for providing an integrated cross-enterprise view of your process and decision landscape.

In this article, we reviewed some basic requirements for isolating your artifacts in IBM Blueworks Live to determine if a single account could sufficiently fulfill these requirements through the use of Spaces, or if indeed separate accounts were required. Differing needs for artifact access can typically be managed in a single IBM Blueworks Live account through Spaces and User access control lists, while differing requirements for account customization settings or the Glossary typically lead to the use of separate IBM Blueworks Live accounts.

Check back for my next posting where I’ll discuss in more detail how to set up and use Spaces to manage artifacts in your account and achieve goals for curating content and governing view and edit access to artifacts.