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Business Process Management Moves Beyond Workflow to Business Optimization

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

While First Horizon was implementing BPM, it was also moving to SOA, the bank's Salazar reports. "The better the SOA, the faster we can do automation," he says, adding that the reusable services created with SOA give the bank the speed to quickly deploy new solutions and products.

"If you simply use a BPM platform without an underlying architecture, you can get value," says Lombardi's Gilbert. But "to do this at scale and make it an organizational competency, you will need to have an underlying technology architecture for the part of BPM that is technology," he stresses.

As a result of its BPM initiative, Eurobank is tying together previously separate processes to add value for its customers, according to the bank's Livas. "We can offer more-sophisticated, bundled products" with the new level of automation, he says, adding that the bank markets the combined products. For instance, customers that fill out a mortgage application also will have provided the information needed for a credit card, which the bank now can offer them on the spot, Livas relates.

BB&T similarly has added value to its services following its BPM implementation. BB&T's new online account-opening system, for example, allows new and existing customers to open accounts, receive approval decisions and transfer funds into a new account from BB&T and other banks immediately, according to the bank's Liles, who adds that BPM also has enabled the process to be completed across channels. If a customer begins account opening on the Internet and runs into problems, he then can call the call center and a customer service representative will be able to find the in-progress application. "They can pick it up and complete it for the customer over the phone," Liles says.

BB&T's BPM implementation has also led to increased sales, reduced costs and improved customer experience, Liles continues. Completed and funded applications per month rose by a factor of five and the number of employees required to maintain Web applications fell from 20 to 3, he says. Further, exceptions for account opening are less than 5 percent, Liles adds.

BB&T's online account-opening system also received high marks from Forrester, which said that it "promises to be the envy of the industry." And the bank is already leveraging its BPM solution to other areas of the bank, Liles says, noting that it currently is building a centralized dispute-management system and launched a lead-management system for merchant checking and payroll in early June.

First Horizon's Salazar says he measures his success by the fact that he continues to get approval for more BPM projects throughout the bank. But there are more-tangible results, he points out. "[BPM] has measurably reduced internal costs related to operations processes and reduced service turnaround time at customer touch points," Salazar says.

Similar reported results of BPM implementations across the industry have made a believer out of Forrester's Pilecki. "I love BPM," she says, adding, "It's not going to solve all the problems of the world, ... but if banks haven't looked at it yet, they really should. It's a critical tool in financial services."


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