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SEATTLE – Doing more with the same is the idea behind the adoption of the BizFlow business-process management (BPM) platform by School Employees Credit Union of Washington. SECUWA plans to complete the deployment in January and will use BizFlow to cut its processing time for VISA applications from 48 hours to about 30 minutes without adding new staff, according to the credit union and BizFlow’s maker, HandySoft Global Corp. of Vienna, Va. SECUWA is the first credit union to use the solution from HandySoft, which already has nearly 400 clients in banking and other financial services, insurance, manufacturing and government The credit union has about 25 member service representatives handling about 110 credit card applications per month, apps that come in over the Web, through the fax machine, by phone, mail and in the branches. “Our VISA application process involves multiple people and systems, which has caused a lot of inconsistency. And a lot of processes are being done manually that can be automated,” says Greg Vermilion, project manager at the $600 million, 75,000-member CU. “We needed a system that would help standardize our application process, eliminate data errors and reduce the number of applications being delayed,” Vermilion says. The new system also includes routing and tracking capabilities that will help move the process along while lessening paperwork and providing status alerts. Deploying business-process management solutions such as BizFlow is part of SECUWA’s strategy for economically and efficiently handling growth, Vermilion adds. “One of our goals is to not have to add employee headcount as we increase membership, and we can do that by leveraging technology,” the credit union project manager says. “All of our innovations – from audio voice response and home banking on – are done with that in mind,” he says. BPM is “both a technology and a discipline,” says Daryn Walters, HandySoft’s vice president of worldwide marketing and strategy. “By using a process-modeling tool such as BizFlow, organizations can better understand and improve their critical processes. “It also can enforce best practices, improve quality and productivity and foster collaboration internally.” What SECUWA hopes to accomplish is linking the “little islands of solutions” the credit union was creating to deal with different challenges, says Vermilion, the credit union’s project manager. “It also needs to integrate with our FDR credit card system, our core CUBE system from IntegraSys and our FileNet document management system. The CUBE system is not extremely open but it does have some capabilities for integration, and basically we’ll just be using it to extract and populate forms, which won’t be a problem, since BizFlow cana query SQL databases,” Vermilion says. “We were looking for something that had the ability to improve our work, that had an intuitive interface and didn’t require a significant amount of programming to deliver to our end users,” he adds. Walters says HandySoft can provide the expert help, but notes that IT staffers with basic workflow design skills and knowledge of such standards as XML, SOAP and Java can “develop new functionality and integrate BizFlow with third-party solutions.” He says that SECUWA is the company’s first credit union customer and is doing a lot “out of the box” but that the company also is building a customized solution to meet the needs of the VISA credit card application. Based on the results of the VISA project, the credit union plans to add future projects to the BizFlow list, including improving loan processing and expense report systems, Vermilion says. “Right now we have e-mails flying around the credit union, asking what’s going on with XYZ? We’re going to improve that process first for credit card applications and then move on, eventually, for example, to home equity lending,” he says. Vermilion envisions a solution in which a title company the credit union works with that already has a Web interface for document retrieval can be integrated seamlessly with the credit union’s own BPM system, complete with alerts. Investing in BizFlow typically costs from $25,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on the size of the enterprise, Walters says. He also says the expected return on investment varies widely, and that the benefits of improved service go beyond the numbers. Vermilion agrees. “As for ROI, we really justify our projects based on how they allow us to improve service to our members,” the SECUWA project manager says. “With BizFlow we’ll be able to do that, because we’ll complete their requests for service faster, and we’ll have updated information for them whenever they need it in the process. “The competition is growing and we need to be able to differentiate ourselves in how well we provide services to our members. And it’s not just with banks. It’s called co-opetition between credit unions, but it’s starting to become more like competition,” he adds. -

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