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Monday, April 24, 2006

Getting a Grip on Business Processes - -

"Any government agency that hasn't yet seriously considered business-process management (BPM) must step up those efforts now, or fall dangerously behind, as the industry and it's solutions undergo drastic changes and make astonishing advances in the coming year and beyond.

The integration of systems and workflow solutions, the merging of suppliers and the addition of business intelligence and collaboration applications are reshaping BPM's potential and simultaneously generating considerable challenges for government agencies.

BPM has been defined as the automation and coordination of the assets and tasks that comprise an organization's business processes. According to Forrester Research, a market research firm in Cambridge, Mass., BPM can be incorporated by agencies in any of the following forms: application integration; enterprise business applications; pure-play BPM solutions; enterprise content management software; and application platforms.

Though many federal organizations are just getting started with BPM, there are a number of projects afoot -- and more expected -- with some agencies automating administrative processes to comply with an alphabet soup of regulations, while others look to streamline and improve financial or citizen-facing processes.

For instance, the Justice Department has committed to the Unified Financial Management System, for $200 million, and is evaluating Momentum Financials, an enterprise resource planning application from CGI-AMS, part of Montreal-based CGI Group Inc. The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, has embarked on Electronically Managing Enterprise Resources for Government Effectiveness and Efficiency, the Emerge2 project, which takes aim at melding financial operations for the department's 22 agencies over two-and-a-half years, at a cost of nearly $50 million.

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