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Financial services firms in grip of BPM skills shortage, says Gartner

Will Hadfield

Financial services companies are struggling with a shortage of IT managers and business analysts skilled in agile business process management (BPM), analyst firm Gartner warned this week.

Gartner research vice-president Janelle Hill said firms were struggling to find IT professionals who could manage changes to business processes, such as setting up a new bank account or underwriting an insurance policy.

"Companies need more people with an operations research background, and that has contributed to a skills shortage," she said. "There is a requirement to increase skills in areas such as modelling, simulation, process analysis and event analysis. IT managers need to be able to work with live event data rather than just reports."

Hill, who is speaking at the Gartner BPM Summit, said that although large financial businesses were increasingly choosing to redesign key business processes several times a year, they were struggling to find IT staff with the experience needed. Retail banking and insurance businesses have moved from redesigning business processes once a year to changing them three or four times a year, Hill said.

The skills shortage has been made worse because few universities in the UK or internationally teach agile BPM.

In Gartner's view, only Cranfield School of Management and London Business School in the UK teach agile BPM to a standard that would be useful for a multinational company. France has four business schools teaching agile BPM and Spain has three.

The International Institute of Business Analysis is trying to agree a body of knowledge that business analysts need for agile BPM. Systems integrators such as IBM and BEA have also been investing in agile BPM skills, said Hill.

The challenge of BPM comes from managing changes to a business process that affects several thousand employees. Large companies typically set up teams of five or six business analysts to oversee agile BPM programmes.

More from Gartner's BPM Summit

More on business process management

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