If it can do all it's purported to do, business process management (BPM) has a tall order to fill. As a structured approach to employing methods, policies, metrics, management practices and software tools to manage and continuously optimize activities and processes, BPM holds great promise. But whether the insurance industry and vendor community fully grasps its capabilities remains to be seen.Like a supersonic jet liner, BPM, also known as business process optimization, is taking off, and a host of insurance carriers and vendors alike are riding the contrails hoping for a quick lift.

Not surprisingly, the demand is on the insurance side, and the push is on the vendor side, claims Marc Cecere, vice president of the financial services team at Forrester Research Inc., a Cambridge, Mass. research firm. "On the insurer's side, BPM really has great value, once companies get more comfortable with what they can do with it."

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