IBM BPM Review

Allows us to run simulations quickly, before putting them into production

What is our primary use case?

We're looking at automating and digitizing our processes. There are two use cases. One is centralization of account opening. That has been out there for just over a year. 

The second process that we picked is the consumer loans process, the loan approval process, the whole loan application. The loan application process has just been automated, so it's been there for about two or three months.That is what has been put on the BPM tool.

So we use it primarily for managing the workflow of the loan application or of account opening for a new customer who walks into one of the branches.

So far, the tool is fantastic. The challenge has been for our people, I think the ability to realize that the tool is only as good as the thought that you put behind it. So what my team ended up doing was using the existing process and putting it on the tool. Based on that, now they've realized that using the tool means there is an opportunity to rethink the process itself, as well. That's what we're going to go through. But the tool itself, the experience was fantastic.

We're not using it in conjunction with any other IBM products. This is a standalone application that we're using.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of the process automation and the workflow improvement, although, as I said earlier, we did not re-engineer the process, just the fact that there are lots of times when there is back-and-forth between the branch staff and the back office staff. So all of that, now that it is all automated on the workflow, has significantly reduced the turnaround time for the loan application. Previously, if it used to take anywhere between 10 to 12 days on average, now it takes between two to three days on average.

What is most valuable?

There is a component of this BPM pool - I can't recall the name. What it does is, it allows you to create various scenarios and then run them quickly, before actually putting them onto a tool. So I think that part of the tool is really fantastic, because that enables you to create scenarios, create simulations, before actually going out and putting it into the tool itself.

What needs improvement?

At this point, we're still going through the process of exploring the features that we have. I think we're far from the stage where we can talk about new features.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, we have not put huge volumes onto it, so it's been working fine. I am not sure how it will behave when we put really large volumes onto it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We will be scaling it up, especially on the account opening side, because we do end up opening about a couple of a million accounts a year. So yes, we will be putting it to scale and we'll be seeing how it goes.

So far, we've been doing it in a couple of hundred branches, we wanted to do it in a controlled manner. But starting in about the second quarter this year is when we're going to put it to test on a mass scale and we'll see how it goes.

In terms of scaling, it's not like you can see the return on investment in hard dollar terms, but just the fact that from a customer experience perspective, if you can turn it around in two days instead of 10 days, by default, that should hopefully translate into more loans that we book, better customer experience, and better word out there in the market. Obviously, you can't put a dollar value to that itself.

How is customer service and technical support?

The technical team was fully involved in the process, and it was a fantastic experience.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved in the setup personally, but my team members were involved in it. I have seen the tool itself. It wasn't that complex. I think it required a little bit of programming understanding, but by and large it was reasonably easy to use.

We worked directly with IBM itself. They're the ones we deal with. We are the largest client for IBM in Pakistan, so IBM works with us directly.

Regarding when we implemented it, we should have started a few years ago. It's automation, digitization. I think the earlier you do, the better it is.

What other advice do I have?

I think it's worth looking at the IBM BPM solution. Certainly, when it comes in combination with the other tool that I talked about, where you can do a simulation, I think it's worth it. One should certainly look at it.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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