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BNY Mellon Takes BPM To Higher Level

Not long ago adopting business process management technology was a leading-edge pursuit. Now, organizations like BNY Mellon Wealth Management are going beyond early initiatives to streamline operations further.

With the early, narrowly-focused business process management (BPM) deployments proving successful at Wall Street firms, the question for most organizations is ‘what's next.' For many, the answer is expanding their BPM initiatives to include processes and departments related to the original initiative.

According to Michael Versace, IDC Financial Insights Global Research Director, a case in point is client onboarding. Since onboarding has traditionally been a sales function, Versace says organizations tended to approached BPM from that perspective by automating sales processes. "Now, enterprises are moving to automate the risk and compliance functions related to onboarding," he says.

"And," Versace continues, "we predict that automation will help drive risk and compliance functions to merge over the next 10 years."

Whether or not IDC's prediction comes true, at present these functions are largely manual and siloed at most organizations. "There's a whole host of operational processes surrounding risk and compliance that will require automation, or improved automation, and integration with other disciplines," Versace says.

What's more, BPM solutions are evolving from "suites" to "platforms," says Versace. "Generally, platforms go beyond the software to include expertise, services for delivering that expertise and sets of best practices to guide projects."

A Case In Point

All of these trends can be seen in the recent expansion of BPM adoption at BNY Mellon Wealth Management. Initially, the New York City-headquartered firm took the traditional sales-focused approach to automating onboarding.

That intiative began with the selection of Zurich-based Appway for its Appway Client Onboarding product. "Time to market was of the essence," explains Nina Pilsbury, managing director and director of wealth management application management at the firm. "Of the four vendors we considered, Appway had a new, proven account opening solution that was up and running in a live production environment."

Nina Pilsbury, BNY Mellon
Nina Pilsbury, BNY Mellon

Using the Appway tool, BNY Mellon Wealth Management automated seven sales-related onboarding processes. Along the way the firm spent considerable resources on ensuring Appway could interact with a dozen core enterprise systems in real time.

[For more info on innovation and BPM, read: IT Innovation? Nothing Has Changed In 50 Years.]

"There was a tremendous amount of effort in updating the communication of these systems to web services," says Pilsbury. "That's one place where BPM tools, overall, could improve. They should come with more APIs [application programming interfaces] to streamline and automate integration."

Nonetheless, the resulting account opening system was successfully rolled out to nearly 50 global offices spread across multiple time zones. It proved so popular with business users they were soon clamoring for more.

"As the business gained confidence they started to identify other processes that could be included," says Pilsbury. In particular, "they wanted to re-engineer KYC [know your customer] and AML [anti-money laundering] processes."

Don't try to boil the ocean. Deliver on some business goals so people can see the benefit." -- Nina Pilsbury, BNY Mellon

For the KYC/AML build out, BNY Mellon conducted another rigorous BPM solution evaluation which began in mid-2012. According to Pilsbury, utilizing Appway for the expansion wasn't a foregone conclusion. "We conducted a full due diligence evaluation to look at different technologies," she says.

Still, the success of the initial effort, along with the need for tightly integrating BPM for KYC and AML, led BNY Mellon Wealth Management to tap Appway for the new project as well.

Drawing on its well-received implementation model from the original onboarding deployment, BNY Mellon Wealth Management's IT team involved business users in the KYC/AML expansion from start to finish. The process included a phased rollout that was completed by mid-2013. "We used the agile method for development," Pilsbury says. "The business was as involved as IT, which means they participated in every scrum and sprint."

NEXT: No More Complex Spreadsheets Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio

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