FundSERV buys automated BPM

In order to cope with the estimated three million transactions across its IT infrastructure each month, upping the level of automation was almost an automatic decision, according to one Toronto-based firm.

FundSERV provides electronic business services to the Canadian investment fund industry. Specifically, the Toronto-based firm operates and maintains an expansive investment fund transaction processing system. Among its clients are 193 investment fund manufacturers, 472 distributors and 42 intermediaries, while FundSERV’s services and applications support more than 10,000 different investment fund offerings.

According to Carol De Veau, vice-president of business development for FundSERV, the goal was to boost customer service by reducing the time, cost and risk from their customers’ investment transaction processes.

Even though FundSERV wasn’t initially familiar with the term business process management (BPM), the company knew it needed an IT solution to boost the level of automation within the environment, De Veau said.

Simply put, BPM software provides a set of integrated, closed-loop management and analytic processes that address financial as well as operational activities. In the past, while the IT staff could provide limited analysis of transactional data, De Veau noted that FundSERV lacked an automated and ongoing analytical tool.

According to Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc., the BPM industry is projected to grow 15 to 20 per cent this year, having topped US$1.1 billion in 2003. Within the next 18 months, according to another Meta study, an estimated 85 per cent of organizations polled will tackle a BPM initiative.

Although it initially looked at many vendor offerings, FundSERV decided, for its needs, a BPM product from vendor Sajus Technologies Inc. provided a more “focused approach,” according to De Veau. The solution is part of the goal to observe and develop business rules to better assess and automate transactions. The Sajus’ BPM Suite is being used as a component within FundSERV’s IT environment to monitor and optimize business processes, De Veau said.

Sajus president and CEO Steven Clarke said that in FundSERV’s case, BPM enables the company to better access data and to better understand how industry-wide mutual fund transactions flow across the system. FundSERV can better assess the actual cost to of non-automated transactions, and develop applications to handle new investment fund products, he added. Ultimately, the BPM suite enables FundSERV to zero in on reducing the cost of transactions, Clarke said.

The measure of success, De Veau said, is in the ability to better analyze the end-to-end enterprise transactions that flow through the FundSERV network. Clients want the ability to increase the level of automation; FundSERV is making the steps to facilitate that, De Veau said.

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