BPM takes on the tough challenges
Many more organizations now understand the value of BPM and are able to use it effectively, according to Laura Mooney, senior director of corporate and product marketing at Metastorm. "The leading analysts are providing a steady stream of research and information from early adopters," she observes, "and the user community is now much more educated about what BPM is and how it can be helpful." In addition, after the product is installed in one department, managers see other uses for it.
Over the next few years, organizations will better align their big-picture business strategy with execution, predicts Mooney, adding, "BPM is helping increase performance at the departmental level, but without an overview of how it all fits together, it is limited in what it can achieve."
Metastorm’s acquisition of Proforma, which provides enterprise-modeling solutions, is aimed at tying enterprise architecture to business process execution, to better link strategic objectives and execution over the entire organization.
Paper and process
The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) is a membership organization that provides a wide variety of products and services to boaters, including insurance, advocacy and towing assistance. Several years ago, the organization took on a major task of setting up a system to support yachting members’ insurance claims, underwriting, records management and administration. At that point, all the processes were paper-based. Additional hurdles included the large volume of paper—BoatUS supports more than 200,000 insurance policies—and the complex processes involved. The seasonal nature of the business put time pressure on the delivery deadline.
Having been a customer of Global 360 for an imaging application previously, the organization began exploring possibilities available through that company. Within just a few days, the professional services group from Global 360 was able to deliver a prototype for claims processing that included the majority of the workflow. A test version was delivered within another month.
The increase in efficiency for processing claims was dramatic. Some users found that the completion time for a claim dropped from two hours to 20 minutes. In addition, the system provided clear feedback on when a processor had received a work item, unlike the paper method where folders could be lost. Users found the new system easy to learn and work with, so training time was minimal.
BoatUS went on to develop an application for the Underwriting Department, which was more complex because it involved underwriting administration and records management. Executives at BoatUS estimated that it was five to 10 times more complex than the claims processing application. Like the claims processing application, though, the Underwriting Department application was successfully implemented and also began saving time for users immediately.
As BPM systems become increasingly complex, more sophisticated technology is needed to optimize performance. Being able to model future performance is one such example. "Global 360 can take in-flight activity and create a simulation to enable the work force to prepare for situations they are about to be faced with," says Jim Sinur, chief strategy officer at Global 360, "rather than finding out about a problem after the fact."