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Sandy Kemsley

Gartner Day 2: Jim Sinur panel

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This afternoon, Jim Sinur hosted a panel on Implementing an Enterprise-Transforming BPMS, which included Jeff Akin from American Home Shield, Alan Jones from Sandisk, Craig Edmonds from Symetra Financial and Jodi Starkman-Mendelsohn of West Park Assessment Centre.

American Home Shield's goal was to double their revenue by 2010 with limited growth in their service centres, which they planned to accomplish by replacing older systems with more agile systems and move towards a more process-centric view. They've just rolled things out so aren't seeing the ROI yet, but are seeing more consistent customer handling and enforcement of best practices. They're implementing Pegasystems as their BPM.

Symetra's object was to improve satisfaction, since they recognize that it's much easier to keep a customer than to get a new one, and they used goal management as their approach when building processes. They did what appears to be a fairly standard imaging+workflow type of implementation using Global 360, although with today's BPM technology that provides greater agility than the older workflow systems. They've seen huge ROI numbers, and have increased levels of customer service in terms of transaction turnaround times.

Sandisk has deployed 4 mission-critical BPM applications using Handysoft, started with the purchase requisition process, which was paper-based and not scalable. Their goal was to improve employee efficiency by improving the approval cycle time and reducing processing costs. Like American Home Shield, they consider different classes of solutions: a module in their ERP system, online forms, and finally selected a BPMS. They reduced the processing cycle time from 3 weeks to 1 week, and saw a number of other advantages.

West Park Assessment Centre needed to bolster their IT infrastructure to allow them to grow, and improve the quality of their services such as scheduling. They also wanted to see cost savings to a 3-year ROI, improve productivity of remote users and improve operating efficiencies. They wanted to automate their processes from the point that a referral arrived (regardless of channel), scheduling, booking, reporting, invoicing and all the other tasks that are involved in providing their services. They went live in late 2002 using Ultimus, just in time for the SARS outbreak in early 2003 that locked them out of their hospital-based offices in Toronto. With no access to their physical records, or any space to provide assessment services, they set up shop in a local hotel and were up and running within two business days due in no small part to their BPM implementation -- effectively preventing total business failure. They did get their 3-year ROI and reduced turnaround time by 27%; these efficiencies have increased their profitability. By externalizing their business rules and logic in the BPMS, they have improved their agility to the point where they can make changes to their systems within a couple of days.

Although I like to hear the customer case studies, I find these panels to be a pretty artificial construct: it's like 4 mini-presentations by customers with a few questions from Sinur at the end of each section, joint questions from the audience at the end, but no interaction between the panelists. I'd really like to see less canned presentations and more conversation between the panelists.


I agree with the format of the panel. I would have liked a more interactive discussion as well. Please feel free to contact me and we can discuss further. Ten minutes is not nearly enough to communicate the real story.

Did you happen to observe Jim Sinur asking enterprises how BPM fits into their enterprise security strategy? Many vendors are starting to support SSO, XACML and OpenID in the BPM space yet no one talks about it...

Craig, I was interested in your story, I'll definitely be in touch.

James, I don't recall discussion about security on this panel; however, there was an entire session on security (which I didn't attend): http://agendabuilder.gartner.com/bpm3/webpages/SessionDetail.aspx?EventSessionId=905. The slide deck for that session doesn't even mention OpenID (which surprises me... or maybe not) and only had XACML as a parenthetical comment at one point.

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