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Nancy Feig
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Business Process Management Moves Beyond Workflow to Business Optimization

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

The technological aspects of a BPM implementation, however, can be challenging, according to Dimitris Livas, director of retail IT strategy for EuroBank (US$72 billion in assets). The Athens-based bank currently is expanding both its footprint and product portfolio within and outside of Greece, Livas explains, and turned to BPM to alleviate its growing pains. "We need to close the gap between business and technology, and that is what BPM is doing for us," he says. "We want to automate the business processes of the bank."

While some of the basic tools that go into BPM for defining and deploying rules, and optimizing and analyzing processes have been around for a while, "integrating all these things is quite new," Livas asserts. "We need guidance on how to use them," he adds. "They are very early suites [and] we have a lot to learn and improve upon."

Mature or not, BPM solutions are going to be big business in the coming years. According to Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner, the worldwide market for BPMS will exceed $1 billion in 2007 in total software revenues and will reach $2.6 billion by 2011. The BPMS proliferation, which began in 2005, marks the end of "pure-play" solutions that focus solely on human workflow capabilities in specific areas, according to Gartner.

Recent innovation in BPM technology has largely been in simulation capabilities, says Ashish Mohindroo, senior product director, Oracle (Redwood Shores, Calif.). Newer systems have the ability to tie in with business intelligence (BI) tool sets and capture data to create real-time business insight and create more realistic pilots, he says. In fact, many experts are pointing to BI's integration with BPM as the future direction of the technology, including using historical data for process development as well as building real-time data integration into decision-based processes.

"In banking, things change in real time," Mohindroo continues. "Banks have to be nimble to adapt and adjust to market changes."

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