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“From a development point of view, it is important that the BPM software be open.” – Interview with Michael Kirven, VP of IT

As the Vice President of Business Solutions within the IT Applications area at People’s United Bank  I manage a team of developers across multiple development technologies with a focus towards bringing efficiencies to the bank’s back office areas.  I’ve been with People’s United Bank since 1999 and before that I was a commercial software developer for several different startup companies.


What does your day to day look like?

I can’t say that I have a typical day but a typical week for me would include:

  • Status or update meetings on in flight business solution development efforts;
  • Triaging new business requests in order to apply the appropriate development technologies for the solutions;
  • Development technology specific overview meetings and;
  • Meeting with various back office business partners on potential efficiency gain opportunities.

Why is a BPM software important for your business?

BPM software is a key part of our development “toolkit.”  We support various types of solutions across different areas of our banking back office.  While we use SharePoint forms for front line to back office requests, workflows that involve more complicated logic and a longer duration align much better with a BPM engine based solution.  In general, our BPM solutions bring together disjointed, manual processes that extend across multiple business areas.

In addition, the current development technologies in our portfolio are as follows:

  • Java
  • SharePoint / .NET (C#)
  • Business Object Data Integrator for Extract Transform Load (ETL)
  • Camunda BPM
  • Cisco UCCX (VRU)
  • HP Exstream (customer communication)

What functionalities are most important to you in a good BPM software?

When trying to explain BPM to our business unit partners, we emphasize “Orchestration & Integration.”  We look for Orchestration that alerts participants when they have tasks to perform, along with providing an overview of outstanding tasks at an individual and manager level.  And integration that provides a single interface to all of the information needed in order for a participant to complete their task.

From a development point of view, it is important that the BPM software be “open.”  We want the ability to create our own, personalized look and feel for user tasks.  For service tasks, we need the capability to reach our established interfaces via web service calls.

Working in the highly regulated banking industry, it is key that the development artifacts align with our environment (Dev, UAT, Prod) promotion techniques as called for by our Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC.)

What advice would you give other IT VP’s who are evaluating a BPM software?

We considered the following criteria when evaluating BPM Software:

  • BPMN coverage
  • User experience (out of the box)
  • Developer experience
  • Extensibility / Flexibility
  • Reporting & Logging Capabilities
  • Care & Feeding
  • Performance / Ability to Scale
  • Disaster Recovery Capabilities
  • Runtime Environment Match with our internal IT Standards
  • Support Quality & Availability
  • Licensing Model / Cost

What do you hope BPM software can do for you in the future?

Here at People’s United Bank we are in the beginning stages of maturing our BPM development “factory.”  Over the next few months we plan to continue to gain experience and establish our own best practices.  We hope to create reusable development techniques and constructs that will accelerate the next set of BPM based business solutions.

We want to establish the use of BPMN diagrams as the bank’s de facto workflow process mapping tool. And ideally, we hope that our internal business partners start to see the capability and promise of BPM software and are able to imagine solutions for their current day manual processes.

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