IBM Opens New BPM Consulting Services Practice

Citing a demand among its customer base, IBM announced the formation of a new IBM consulting services practice for Business Process Management (BPM) at the IBM Impact 2011 conference in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS - IBM announced a new global consulting and services practice to help companies improve the performance of core business processes such as marketing, human resources and finance, as well as industry-specific processes such as insurance claims, campaign management and compliance.

Announced at the IBM Impact 2011 conference here, the new IBM Business Process Management (BPM) practice will provide solutions at all phases of process transformation, from enterprise strategy and governance to specific process solutions. IBM's BPM and service-oriented architecture experts will provide these services from a variety of locations in the U.S. and around the world, the company said. The practice will run out of IBM's Global Business Services (GBS) unit.

According to Gartner's recent Magic Quadrant report for Business Process Management Suites, "Gartner estimates that the size of the BPMS software market in 2009 totaled $1.9 billion in revenue, compared with $1.6 billion in 2008 - an increase of 15 percent." In that report, IBM's WebSphere Lombardi Edition is positioned in the Leaders Quadrant.1 IBM's BPM product portfolio, which is growing at a double-digit pace, includes offerings from IBM WebSphere software and technologies from IBM's acquisitions of Lombardi and ILOG, as well as new offerings such as IBM Case Manager.

The practice IBM is introducing today is designed to help line-of-business executives rapidly deploy technology solutions to improve business processes. BPM enables line of business executives to control specific processes and associated tasks, giving them ownership of the assets that are key to their businesses. These technologies are simple for executives to use and understand and can drive increased return on investment.

Among the clients IBM has worked with in BPM is Lincoln Trust Company, a provider of self-directed IRA accounts, as well as recordkeeping, administrative and custodial services to 401(k) plans and other defined contribution plans, IBM officials said.

"Our business process management initiatives helped us survive and even thrive through the global financial crisis," said Helen Z. Cousins, executive vice president and chief information officer at Lincoln Trust Company, said in a statement. "This practice is much needed to accelerate business improvements and give control to people in each department that really run the business every day."

Among the services the new practice offers are: Analyzing core processes, identifying gaps and creating a roadmap for process transformation; developing a framework for enterprise-wide business process governance; creating models for new, improved, and/or optimized business processes; using BPM to better orchestrate work and integrate disparate systems within and across the enterprise; and implementing BPM-enabled solutions, IBM said.

In addition, regulatory compliance will be one of the areas the new BPM services practice will focus on. For example, in the U.S., IBM is helping health care payers prepare to comply with regulations that require the use of new diagnostic and procedure codes by October 1, 2013. Using IBM Transformation Accelerator and Manager for ICD-10 technology based on IBM's BPM software, IBM consultants are helping clients comply with this mandate, known as International Classification of Diseases version 10 (ICD-10). The mandate requires payers to migrate from a system involving the use of 30,000 procedure and diagnosis codes to a new code set of more than 142,000, IBM said.

Also, in retail, key BPM drivers include the need for efficiency and customer satisfaction. For example, for a global retailer whose custom-built systems were no longer able to support the company's growth, IBM consultants are building a solution that combines proven BPM methods with IBM software. The retailer will use a single dashboard to view information on all the products moving through its supply chain that will have automated rules for handling late shipments or other exceptions, as well as the flexibility the company needs to change business rules over time without custom coding.

"Business processes are the mechanism that allow companies to execute on their strategies," said Michael Natoli, partner and BPM executive at IBM Global Business Services, in a statement. "The mission of IBM's BPM practice is to help clients rapidly transform business processes to better support their overall enterprise strategy."

IBM said the new practice will be part of the GBS Application Innovation Services line and complements GBS' broader portfolio.