BUSINESS PROCESS MANAGEMENT
Metastorm: Keeping It Simple
GREAT CLIPS KNOWS THE RIGHT TOOLS
for trimming split ends. But when the
Minneapolis-based hair salon franchisor
wanted to trim the time spent opening
stores, it turned to something very different from scissors: business process
management software from Metastorm.
Several different departments have
a role in creating a Great Clips store,
from finance to legal to
real estate. Under the old
setup, each department
kept the information in a
different way: some on an
Excel spreadsheet, some
on paper. When a project moved from
one department to the next, information
such as the franchisee’s name or store
address had to be walked over—and necessary details were re-typed.
Beyond the possibility for data entry
errors, there was the risk that one department would do its work before another
finished its due diligence, such as real
estate clearing a deal before finance had
verified that the franchisee had the necessary resources. “It was a huge process
of waiting for information we already
had in a computer somewhere,” says Jim
Waldo, the consultant who managed the
implementation as Great Clips’ interim
CIO. The company estimates it invested
$1.3 million on the system.
The Metastorm BPM software creates
one file for each store opening or remodeling that every department can access.
The system has been set up with rules
that govern each aspect of the job; it
knows what information is necessary and
who has authority to sign
off on each step. Now,
before the real estate
department gives its
green light to a potential
location, the system has
checked to make sure that other financial
and legal hurdles have been cleared.
The company credits the software with
cutting two weeks from the time needed
to open a new salon. It has launched 200
new salons a year while managing the
relocation and remodeling of another 50.
As of May, it had 2,575 salons.
Metastorm gets high marks from customers for flexibility and responsiveness.
Its starter suite, BPM Essentials, includes
a graphical interface to design and quickly
automate a process. It accommodates
interfaces with the desktop applications
users are most familiar with, such as
FROM A HAIR
TO A HOSPITAL.
Metastorm: At A Glance
500 E. PRATT ST., SUITE 1250 /
BALTIMORE, MD 21202 / (443) 874-1300
TICKER: Privately held EMPLOYEES: 175
Robert J. Farrell, President, CEO
Greg Carter, Chief Technology Officer
PRODUCTS The Metastorm BPM Suite
is designed to allow users to
model, analyze, integrate and
automate business processes.
The suite includes seven
modules such as Integration
Manager for supporting complex integration and manage
REVENUE: Not disclosed
FUNDING: $44 million
INVESTORS: 3i Group, Axiom
Ventures, Internet Capital ’96
Group, Ironside Ventures, Paul
Capital, Sandler Capital Management, UBS
Capital, Wall Street Technology Partners
CUSTOMERS: 1,300 in industries such
as financial services (CIT Group, Skandia-Banken), government (Australian Department
of Finance, City of Philadelphia), business
services (Allen & Overy, Morrison & Foerster)
and manufacturing (Cooper Tires, InBev).
an electronic-forms company
Raises $24 million in
Raises $15 million in
One of 10
Merges with Business
gets $5 million Alliance
’01 ’05 ’07
SOURCE: COMPAN Y REPOR TS
Microsoft’s e-mail and contact management application, Outlook. It also offers
advanced products as part of its Breakaway
BPM Components that include modeling
and simulation (Metastorm Envision)
and a rules engine built on the Microsoft
Biz Talk Rules Engine.
Prices begin at $125,000 for small
installations; large enterprise deployments can run into the millions.
Children’s National Medical Center,
a 279-bed facility in Washington, D.C.,
went with Metastorm to get better control of its purchase requests. Five years
ago, the hospital’s costs for folders, paper,
printing and the like totaled $2.32 per
purchase request. After it installed a BPM
system, costs dropped to 79 cents per
request, a savings of $43,000 in year one,
says Cherie Pardue, director of application development and support.
Before, the hospital’s purchase request
process began with a three-part paper
form. Users looked up items in a supply
book or got a price quote in writing, filled
in the form and attached the quote. Then
the request was routed to department
heads in areas such as I. T. and biomedical.
“If people didn’t know the rules of the signature level authority,” Pardue says, “
purchasing would have to figure out if they
had the right signatures.”
Now, using a system of programmed
rules, the system routes the electronic
form to the right department. “When
you are mapping out the workflow,”
Pardue explains, “you have to map out
the decisions that each particular person
can make. Can they approve? Deny?
Modify?” The hospital put a rule into
the system that if a request is denied,
a comment must be made on the denial.
CEO Robert J. Farrell says Metastorm
is poised for bigger things, and hints that
an initial public offering might be in its
plans. “We can compete against really big
guys,” he says. “We have tried to make sure
we have the innovation capabilities of a
small tech company, but we can deliver to
a big company.” –Virginia Citrano