BPM Drives Value For Insurers - InformationWeek

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7/15/2004
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BPM Drives Value For Insurers

Examining a business process management value proposition for the insurance industry.

Each day, insurance organizations execute millions of transactions that require information to flow between systems, between people and between the company and third parties. Business Process Management (BPM) orchestrates the completion of a transaction across the multiple human and system touch points in a typical process. Through advanced monitoring and reporting capabilities, BPM provides a near real-time view of process activities to allow businesses to assess and initiate process improvement decisions on the fly. The components of a robust BPM platform provide the ability to reconfigure business processes as needed in order to provide maximum agility in responding to continuously changing business environments. An agile business can better optimize revenue, costs, profitability and productivity.

The greatest challenge that application developers have had over the past several decades is that software platforms essentially "hard-code" a business process. Businesses, of course, are continuously changing and therefore the flexibility to quickly change software to meet business needs has always been a constraining factor. The value proposition for BPM is that it provides better business agility because it is a software platform actually built from the ground up with the anticipation that business' processes will change over time.

The advent of Web services is a positive development toward decomposing business functions into granular application and data services that can be more easily orchestrated to support a business process. Because Web services are granular, each component can be more easily standardized. Application development in a Web services environment then becomes more focused on bringing together the right standardized components to support the execution of a business process.

However, developing Web services alone will not achieve business agility. By providing an environment where business process components, such as process models, human workflows, screen forms, integration points, business rules and metrics definitions are all integrated, BPM offers the Web services orchestration platform that supports accelerated process reconfiguration and deployment.

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