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How BMO Harris Reduced BCP Review Time by 40 Percent


The overhauled BMO’s BCP review system

Type of Work:
Financial Services

Technology and Platforms:
.NET Core, Aurelia JS, SQL Server

Project duration:
9 months


BMO Harris (BMO), the 16th-largest U.S. bank and second-largest in Chicago, wanted to ensure that it was prepared for any scenario that threatened its customers’ trust. The bank sought to improve the speed and quality with which it reviewed business continuity and disaster recovery plans. As one of the largest institutions in a highly regulated financial services industry, BMO needed a custom software application that met its unique compliance needs.



  • Before partnering with Forte Group, BMO had relied heavily on the manual spreadsheet- and email-based systems of record to review nearly 230 business continuity plans (BCPs) annually.
  • The existing process created a messy workflow that the company found inefficient, time-consuming, and costly to maintain.
  • The BMO team sat down with a Forte product owner to outline the basic requirements concerning functionality and security. From there, the team embarked on a solution.

Results achieved

  • A BCP review process duration went from ten weeks to six weeks
  • Announced plans to broaden Quara to other stages in the risk management process due to the success of the streamlined BCP process.
  • With an improved BCP lifecycle, BMO can focus on strengthening its security and risk management strategies, which greatly improves its responsiveness to potential security threats.

 Business Challenges

  • Ensure customer trust by improving the speed and quality of services
  • Overhaul BMO’s BCP review system and automate manual processes
  • Create a sophisticated software system that meets BMO Harris business needs and compiles with all the financial industry regulations

Feature-based Challenges

  • Significantly streamline the BCP review process, making it accessible to all stakeholders
  • Automate manual review processes to cut processing time and reduce human error
  • Enhance the notification system to let stakeholders review, approve or add input where needed


Solution features

Quara, a custom web application that brought the company’s internal systems, compliance regulations, and departments together was built in eight months.

The ability to analyze and build historical data to quickly and easily identify trends.

A software solution that allowed users to review, revise, and approve BCPs, then route them through the varying workflows and checklists in a smooth, centralized pipeline.

An application that is flexible enough to integrate with its existing and any future business continuity software.

An agile, value-driven development work model for the BMO project.

The overhauled BCP review system allows users to track progress, revision history, and audit requirements in real-time.

A central location to store BCP documentation.

Enhanced data reporting capabilities.

“Quality assurance is on the leading edge right now. Quara puts us at the forefront of QA — an efficient, strategically placed position. Now, we have a lot of ideas about how Quara can go even further. That’s the best part: Based on how it was built, it has satisfied every requirement we’ve had and more. It’s taken us to a whole new level.”

Linda Bean, Business Continuity Project Manager at BMO Harris


Up To 40% reduction in review time


20% time savings


Expanded reporting and data analysis capabilities


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