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Business Process Management Moves Beyond Workflow to Business Optimization

Banks are using business process management to improve the customer experience.

First Horizon began its BPM initiative with the low-hanging fruit -- best practice four -- including easily attainable automation opportunities in loan delivery, compliance, risk management, mortgage banking and delivery services, according to Salazar. To accomplish his fifth best practice -- developing a consistent and reusable process methodology -- Salazar began with Fuego's methodology and then adapted it around the bank's existing project management office procedures. "Methodology needs to be based on collaboration across all the stakeholders that partake in the process," he explains.

Following the establishment of methodology, Salazar says, each process should be assigned a clear owner responsible for making final decisions in the case of an impasse -- best practice six. And the final best practice is communicating the successes, which helps build momentum for additional BPM projects, he notes.

Finding the Right BPM Solution

When Steven Liles, manager of integration services at Winston Salem, N.C.-based BB&T ($118 billion in assets), speaks about his bank's successful BPM implementation, he often stirs the listeners into a "frenzy," he says. "We did it in a very agile way," Liles explains. "The implementation time was literally 90 days."

Just a year ago, executives at BB&T realized it was one of the only top 20 U.S. banks that did not offer automated account opening on the Internet, according to Liles. They wanted that fixed in the fastest way possible. "There was a push from management to get this done by Q4 no matter what," Liles relates. Liles' integration team had wanted an opportunity to implement BPM within the bank and realized this was a great place to start, he says.

BB&T first examined building a BPM rules suite in-house, but the project timeline would have been more than a year, according to Liles, so the bank turned to packaged solutions. After reviewing the vendors that performed well in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for BPM, a report that examines the solutions marketplace, BB&T selected Cambridge, Mass.-based Pegasystems' SmartBPM solution. Liles says he chose the solutions for its agility, something that other BPM experts encourage.

Forrester's Pilecki advises banks to look for a BPM suite that a vendor has prebuilt for financial services. The vendor also should understand the specific needs of financial services firms and their core processes so they are not starting from scratch every time they need to build a simple process, such as account opening, she adds. All those things being equal, banks can look to differentiators such as ease of use, robustness of the rules engine, interfaces and simulation abilities, Pilecki says.

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