The Italian railway system may seem an unlikely setting for a return on investment study. But Italian railway management company Grandi Stazioni claims that when it deployed business process management software from Santa Clara, California-based Savvion, it was able to make annual savings of $380,000 at its Rome station alone.
Savvion's software helped Grandi Stazioni to automate and manage the process of tracking maintenance work from submission to completion, speeding up the bureaucratic 'paper chase' and minimising the scope for human error in the process.
Streamlining complex business processes (many of which cross disparate computing systems) has been Savvion's raison d'etre since 1997. That
was when the company released a pioneering web-based business process management and automated workflow tool, marking a distinct shift away from the company's 1994 origins as a systems integrator.
Savvion's flagship product is called BusinessManager, a suite of Java-based development tools that enable users to build and deploy new business process-based applications.
First, users design their business processes in a drag-and-drop environment using the BizLogic Designer component. BusinessManager's BizAdapter interface then enables those processes to be 'plugged in' to common applications from vendors such as Oracle, SAP and PeopleSoft.
When that is done, a web-based application is generated. Finally, the Manage module gives line managers a number of administrative functions, such as being able to see who is working on which projects, and the tasks on each employees' 'to do' list.
In 2001, Savvion also added support for extensible mark-up language (XML) messaging to improve its integration capabilities.
To date, Savvion can boast more than 100 customers. However, it faces stiff competition from a number of sources, all targeting the nacent market for business process management (BPM). These include specialist business process management software vendors, such as Intalio, as well as traditional workflow software vendors that have refocused on BPM, including Staffware and Fujitsu i-Flow.
In addition, a swathe of well-established integration software vendors is also attempting to muscle in on the business process management software market, including Tibco, Vitria, IBM and WebMethods.