ODM and IBM BPM Item Purchasing Process for Fortune 500 Healthcare Company

An integrated solution combining IBM BPM and WebSphere ODM configured rule flows for actionable opportunities.

The Business Need

A monthly, manual process was being utilized by our client to identify out-of-market costs for its item purchasing. Identification of opportunities was via complex data queries and reports from multiple data sources that required further analysis and vetting to arrive at a set of actionable vendor cost reductions. The process had no visibility and no automated tracking of inflight vendor actions for timely follow up. The received reductions required manual handoffs.

Enter Centric

Centric gathered requirements and user stories, designed and implemented the BPM processes, qualification rule flows and solution integration. All business processes went through an iterative “playback” process where users reviewed requirements, wireframes, and working functionality. Centric provided full lifecycle requirements gathering, IBM BPM / WODM and integration design, development and testing. Centric also provided Data Stage ETL development and BOBJ/Xcelcius reporting and dashboarding.

Centric utilized an agile design process to iteratively deliver functionality. Business process components were grouped into five major categories: Identify Opportunity, Review Opportunity, Qualify & Action Opportunity, Receive Response, and Update.


The results from the implementation have been dramatic with investment payback attained within 2 months. Annualized savings exceeded expectations by nearly 70%. The rules engine serves up identified opportunities with data supported action items routed to users. The BPM portal “coaches” provide over 60 data attributes relevant to the user to evaluate the opportunity. Opportunities for a common vendor can be grouped together into one templatized request output to the user’s Outlook inbox for final review and submission. Vendor responses are recorded in the tool, validated, then updated in the purchasing system.

  • Opportunities are identified on a daily vs. monthly basis, resulting in more timely cost actions and savings. The tool provides the users with visibility to the aging and priority of the request and the outstanding vendor responses enabling shorter overall process cycle times. The expanded rule set results in identification of many more opportunities than via the previous report/query based criteria. Less time is spent by the users on data gathering and analysis as the information and calculations are served up to them in one portal screen or “coach” view.
  • Via the reports and dashboards, Management has more visibility into the status of inflight opportunities, cycle times, value generated, and opportunities to utilize alternatives to remain competitive. A “what-if” analysis capability provides for trial-running adjustments to rules.