Questioning BPM for Financial Services in Current Economy

  • September 25, 2008
  • Scott

On a LinkedIn Group I participate in, there was the question posed: “How can BPM Practitioners help Banking and other Financial organizations effectively, in the current scope of situations? Do you believe Financial Regulations will significantly change the way the processes are driven.”

My thoughts… We’ve see an uptick in interest from financial services companies in what we do in the BPM space. Granted, budgets are tight, but times such as these are exactly the time to invest in process, if you haven’t already. If you already have significant process investment, now is the time to revisit thresholds and measures and make sure they reflect current reality.

Although whenever regulations change, the analyst community and people in general assume this will mean an uptick in process. However, I’ve not seen regulation *by itself* as a big incentive for companies to tackle process improvement. It is only when the bottom-line costs of compliance become apparent that there is interest in investing in process to mitigate or eliminate those additional costs. (For example, Sarbox didn’t cause a big uptick in BPM by itself in the first wave of implementation.  Most companies implemented a highly manual or paper-based system at first.  But about a year after everyone implemented Sarbox, projects were kicking up all over the place to improve compliance and reduce cost.) I tend to think that the economic environment will cause more process change than the regulatory environment.

Besides BPM implementations, in terms of the mechanics of the process, one can still address financial services situations via a process lens. By way of example, one might consider a particular financial process to not benefit from process improvement because the defect rate is quite low, or because there isn’t a lot of pressure on timing. But there are areas to look at that matter: if the few defects that exist cost a significant amount of money, then you still want to address them; if money sits in reconciliation accounts, unrecognized until it gets reconciled, then that is like a manufacturing business sitting on inventory – there is a cost to that inefficiency because those funds can’t be deployed to investing in the business.

BPM can improve speed while retaining alignment with process and goals. Good time for companies to be process-aware.

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