Business Process Management:
Getting Work in Order
BUSINESS PROCESS MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE IS NOT ONLY HELPING COMPANIES
REPLACE PAPER FORMS. IT’S ALSO BEING USED TO CHECK RECORDS FOR ACCURACY, ROUTE DOCUMENTS AND FILES TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE AT THE RIGHT TIME,
AND MAKE ORGANIZATIONS MORE EFFICIENT. BY VIRGINIA CITRANO
BEFORE FOLEY & LARDNER, ONE OF
America’s top law firms, takes on a new
client, it must check for conflicts with
existing engagements. That means looking
to see not only whether the Milwaukee-based firm already represents a competitor,
or someone involved in an action against
the prospective client. It has to check all
the way up to the parent-company level,
across 17 Foley & Lardner offices, as well
as the files of some 1,000 attorneys.
Six years ago, the firm had paper
forms that weren’t routinely used, says
Bob Plastine, the firm’s Milwaukee-based director of projects and applications. Instead, an attorney would send an
e-mail to the conflicts department, which
managed the checks, with details—the
client’s name, nature of the potential
work and the like.
When the conflicts department got
the e-mail, staff would re-enter the information into a specialized conflict check
program from a legal software vendor. If
details were missing, a conflicts staffer
would call the attorney, and if he were
out, leave a message and wait for somebody to reply. “It was screaming for
a unified process,” Plastine says.
Foley & Lardner found one, in the form
of business process management software
from Baltimore-based Metastorm. Instead
of collecting 20 conflict checks a day and
taking up to two weeks to turn them
around, the firm now handles 200 checks
a day and clears them in 48 hours.
The software, called Metastorm
e-Work, begins with standardized forms
for taking in information. The attorney
enters the data from his computer.
Then, the system generates an alert for
the conflicts department. Other units in
the firm that need to weigh in, such as
accounting, get a heads-up.
Plastine’s team used e-Work to set up
rules for how the files would be routed.
If a key person is away when a sign-off
is needed, there’s a rule for how the file
should be re-routed.
Business process management software, which evolved from workflow and
document imaging systems, is still used
to automate manual processes such as
opening a bank account. Several vendors
have taken BPM to a more sophisticated
level, building software packages that not
only replace paper forms, but check forms
for accuracy, alert users to missing information, route them to the right depart-
ments and employees in many different
areas for approval, and re-direct them as
necessary to keep the process moving.
Gartner Dataquest puts the market
for business process management software at $1.69 billion in 2006, up 18.5%
from 2005. It is expected to keep up that
double-digit pace through 2010. The
software helps financial services firms
manage regulatory compliance, and it’s
also being used in health care, manufacturing, retail and government to gather
information and act on it in a consistent,
Gartner counts 170 vendors now in the
market, ranging from point-solution providers such as Axway in Scottsdale, Ariz.,
to companies such as Pegasystems of
Business Process Management: Aiming for Efficiency
WHAT IT IS: Business process management software includes automating manual processes and managing workflows, as well as consolidating and standardizing existing automated
systems. Some vendors offer components to handle targeted functions like establishing
rules for how a process should proceed. Some vendors are grouping these components into
KEY PLAYERS: BEA Systems’ Fuego, Global 360, Fujitsu, IBM’s FileNet, Lombardi Software,
Metastorm, Savvion, Pegasystems.
MARKET SIZE: $1.69 billion in 2006 (Gartner Dataquest)
IMPLEMENTATION COST: BPTrends says 58% of the respondents to its 2006 survey spent
less than $500,000 on BPM, 34% spent between $500,000 and $5 million, and 5% spent more
than $10 million.
WHAT’S HAPPENING: BPM SOFTWARE MARKET, WORLDWIDE
Some 170 vendors offer
BPM software, but consul- $3.20
tancy Gartner anticipates BPM tools $2.75
a shakeout. It expects BPM suites $2.36
major software vendors in $2.00
other categories to enter $1.69
the market—following the $1.43
lead of BEA, which purchased Fuego in 2006.
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
SOURCE: GAR TNER DATAQUES T, FEBRUARY 2007
*COMPANIES IN ITALICIZED RED
T YPE ARE FEATURED IN DOSSIERS