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Insurers today face revenue pressures, increased competition, and a business environment fraught with potential financial risks. In such a dynamic environment, complex legacy-system transformations are challenging and chancy. Business process management (BPM) technology, however, can be an excellent fit for insurer processes and interactions that span across many people and systems. Moreover, BPM systems present an opportunity for continuous improvement of those processes and interactions without radical or disruptive reengineering exercises. The main obstacles to greater BPM acceptance are the many myths and misconceptions that abound regarding the negative impacts of large-scale process reengineering or redesign. The equation for BPM effectiveness includes standardization, exception management, rules management, and access to composite applications.

Business process management brings together business knowledge and information technology to design and improve operational processes. The expectations of BPM and the flood of process efficiencies it can yield excite software vendors. However, those leading the charge for alignment of business process and technology also are weary of what lies ahead. The industry survived the process reengineering revolutions of the 1980s and 1990s and is ready to hit mental delete buttons. The burning question: Is there really a way to redesign and continuously improve at the same time?

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