Last decade saw the automation of back office business processes through BPM technology adoption in three distinct areas, i.e., document-centric BPM, human-centric BPM and straight through processing (STP) with integration-centric BPM. We have seen extensive back office use-cases like payments reconciliation, customer on-boarding, KYC, anti-money laundering (AML), loan approval and trade reconciliation being automated.
With the advent of SMAC era, we are also observing convergence of all three types of BPM to deliver the right front office (multichannel customer experience across sales, services) and back office process automation. In fact, it is going through a seismic shift which warrants high focus on customer centric business process development to facilitate two-way customer interaction capabilities.
Today, organizations are adopting high degree of mobile and social channels to facilitate simple business processes (i.e. approvals, complaint management; travel or accommodation services, sales force management, etc.). Organizations are also starting to experiment with advanced BPM use-cases using analytics and context aware techniques. We are also seeing BPM adoption entry barriers getting removed through BPaaS platforms and thereby enabling rapid development with cloud models.
This presents a big opportunity to banks provided the right strategy and focus is applied in the following areas:
Align Business, Operations and IT KPIs - With BPM processes becoming more customer-centric, alignment of KPIs across Business, Operations and IT layers are becoming more important. Marketing/sales executives, back office operations and business solution architects should play an equal role in defining the goals and objectives. Use of tools like Aris and IBM Blueworks helps to bridge the gap that exists between Business and IT and also helps in establishing business and process KPIs to continuously measure and optimize them. Additionally, agile prototyping and pilot helps to align KPI’s and set the right expectation across customers, business, operations and IT.
Infra agility & resilience (Cloud) - Infrastructure on-demand is a key driver for agile BPM adoption. There is a huge disruption in cloud services (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) paradigm, where multiple vendors are providing BPaaS, Integration PaaS, API management, application development, web content management, big data and analytics on the cloud. Most large BPM vendors like IBM, Oracle and Pega offer both on premise and cloud solutions. The key is to choose the right cloud services to expedite the BPM adoption. However, before embarking on a large BPM initiative, banks must ensure that they have a clear infrastructure strategy in place. Prototyping and pilot on an agile cloud infrastructure help banks to prove the business case in a shorter time span that in turn helps in securing funds for the next stage. It also helps large banks to build a differentiated business process to get competitive advantage quickly.
Sandbox, Dev Ops & Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) - BPM adoption requires an agile process which facilitates rapid prototyping, continuous improvement and incremental release which equates to speed to market and risk reduction. Setting up a robust development, test execution, continuous integration and delivery platform across the application life cycle from development to production is the key to success.
An end to end Sandbox or lab environment, end-to-end ALM tooling, provisioning, and delivering seamless release management capability across development, test, staging and production environments coupled with aggressive open source strategy will help deliver a mature application delivery environment.
A well planned tool selection will help create a truly agile Application lifecycle environment:
- Requirement definition and design tools (using Aris, IBM Bluework)
- Coding tools (Eclipse, jDeveloper, Rational developer, Mobile development IDEs)
- Code repository & Configuration management tools (GIT, SVN)
- Build dependency and compile/package tools (Maven, Gradle)
- Automated Unit Test tools (Junit, Mokito)
- Automated integration test tools (CA LISA)
- Execute code inspection and quality analysis tools (SonarQube)
- Continuous integration tools (Jenkins, Hudson, bamboo, teamCity)
- Ideation, Dev & continuous integration environment tools (CLOUDFoundry, IBM BlueMix)
- Repository management tools (Nexus)
- Deployment tools (Udeploy)
- Test stage environment tools (CLOUDFoundry or home environment)
- Automated and manual testing tools (HP, CA LISA toolsets)
IT Process Standardization (SDLC, Architecture, Application Development & Testing) - Robust agile software development principles needs to be adopted to promote adaptive planning, evolutionary development, continuous improvements and rapid as well as flexible response to change. Agile infrastructure and DevOps are enablers for agile delivery. Some of the softer aspects like pair programming, SCRUM, extreme programming, test driven developments and story driven modelling need to be built into the SDLC framework. It is also advised to have a BPM-COE set up to act as a governance and control mechanism in the IT SDLC process.
Architecture and design governance to enforce standards:
- Graphical business process and/or rule modelling capability (BPMN, BPEL)
- Process registry/repository to handle the modelling metadata
- Execution and state management engine and/or a rule engine (BMM, DMN)
- Standard process modelling (IFW)
- User centric design
- Estimation templates
- Data models
- Security standards
- Integration standards (WSDL, SOAP, REST, JSON) with CRM, Analytics, ECM and other systems
Coding and development governance to enforce standards in the areas like:
- Codes (UI, Integration and Core JEE)
- Business rule configuration
- Performance optimization (Memory leaks, query optimizations)
- Unit test execution & automation code coverage
And finally, integration, UAT & Pre-Prod (Non-functional testing) testing & governance will ensure functional testing coverage, external interface integration and compliance to all non-functional requirements.
Focus on the above aspects will help banks to deliver customer centric business process faster, cheaper and better.