CME Case Study at Appian World

Who knew that the venerable Chicago Mercantile Exchange had rebranded themselves as the CME Group? Not me, so when I sat at the Appian dinner yesterday with John Verburgt, their Director of BPM, I probably sounded like a bit of a newb. Verburgt was joined on stage this afternoon by Brian Toba, their Director of Software Engineering, to talk about how they launched their BPM program. They were looking for BPM in the holistic sense – both methodology and execution – ranging from just wanting to get a better handle on how some of their processes work to supporting mobile workers.

They talked about their vendor selection process (without naming the other two vendors involved, although they did mention that they consider the leaders as specified by Gartner and Forrester), including a proof of concept installation and prototype. They did their pilot with Appian’s cloud BPM, and had the satisfying experience of going out for a couple of days training and coming back to a completely operational system – I really think that even for traditional on-premise vendors, cloud support for development and test is really critical for customer quick starts.

They had a really interesting chart showing their “collaboration meter”, indicating how much business and technology involvement was required for each of the project activities; the only thing that was purely on the technology side was architecture implementation (around shifting from cloud development to on-premise production), whereas all other activities were a blend. Process design, for example, was shown as 2/3 business and 1/3 technology.

They went live in January 2011 with more than 100 users, and are on track to deliver their third application in May. So far, they’ve implemented a new product launch process and an employee on-boarding process, and May’s release will be a co-location portal. They’re also using Tempo for mobile access.

Some good points on what – and who – it takes to get a BPM initiative up and running, and to sustain it as it moves from that first project into a multi-project program.

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