December 16, 2003

RBC Financial Group distributes its IT resources across each of five lines of business banking, investment, insurance, capital markets and global custody in order to achieve faster time-to-market for new products and to inculcate greater industry expertise in its pool of business technologists.

But other aspects of IT remain in the center. "We have a lot of common pieces managed centrally to ensure enterprise standards and efficiency," says Morteza Mahjour, SVP of Enterprise Information and Technology Services at RBC Financial Group (Toronto, C$413 billion in assets). "We try to have the best of both worlds."

One of the big projects for 2003 has been the rollout of an enterprise-wide solution for business process management (BPM), enterprise application integration (EAI) and workflow management. After evaluating four vendors, RBC Financial selected Vitria BusinessWare. "The primary reason was a really sound, flexible and scalable architecture." says Mahjour. "Ideally we could have gone for best-of-breed in the market and ended up with three products, but we wanted to get a product at least was covering us 80 percent of the needs across all three."

Following a two-month technical evaluation, Vitria was adopted as a standard for the entire RBC Financial organization. "We have two application development groups that have already embarked upon using Vitria to develop systems, one on the banking side and one on the RBC Investments side," says Mahjour. "We have about three or four other ideas brewing between other business lines, looking at how to use Vitria for business process management."

In banking, the benefits will come from doing "straight-through processing from some of the manual interventions that happen in the branch network, all the way to the back-office for fulfillment," says Mahjour. The result will be faster data flows in applications processing, such as for mortgages. "We're imaging that [mortgage application] and then we're putting it through Vitria, sending it to the right level of people for sign-off and review," says Mahjour. "We're building a lot of intelligent rules."

RBC Investments will use Vitria BusinessWare to integrate its front-end trading applications with its back-end trading engine.