Business process re-engineering for financial services companies in three easy steps

February 27, 2013

The design of your onboarding processes determine the flow of information through your organizations which in turn determines how your organization interacts with customers, suppliers, and partners.

Processes determine how clients first experience working with your company, what their experience will entail, and how well customer service is handled. Processes can also determine how profitable your business is. Inefficient or redundant business processes waste time, money, and resources. The World’s best companies base their success on having the best processes — think about the world class business processes operated by Walmart and Apple.

World-class businesses make large investments in business process re-engineering. They identify areas of redundancy and streamline their processes to reduce workloads and make work more efficient. While it’s been within the domain of the World’s largest companies for over a decade, technology has brought business process re-engineering to the enterprise masses. Following three simple steps you can start a process re-engineering project at your company to improve your bottom line and better serve your customers.

Step #1 – Identify Areas to Be Improved

Start with mapping out your current workflow by walking through the office, following a new action item (for example, a new application or customer order). When a new account is opened, what are the steps? Does verification require multiple checks? How long does it take to identify documents not in good order (NIGO) and return them to the customer for completion? Ask tough questions and ask lots of questions to make sure you’re learning what the real process looks like, not what it’s supposed to look like. We commonly hear managers say “Really? I didn’t know that is how we do that.”

Quick tip: The first step for any application should be a check for information completion. Starting a business process without complete information is an easy way to add days to a business process. Verify that the information is correct the first time, ideally as soon after the customer has provided it as possible. Using responsive eForms is a good way to make sure the information comes in correctly, the first time.

Step #2 – Plan A New Automated Process

Process automation empowers your employees to work more productively, often enabling them to do more than double the work they were capable of in a manual process. Automating simple steps frees up time for tasks that truly need human intelligence, decreases the cost to serve each customer, and improves the customer experience. For example if a customer submits an order on credit, the internal order forms could be created automatically as soon as the sales team enters the order into the sales system. And instead of holding the order up in the credit department, orders from trusted customers could be automatically approved. Compared to a manual process fewer employees act on the order, and the order is filled more quickly. The result is a lower cost to service customers, and better customer service. Process automation projects truly have to potential to be win-win.

Step #3 – Implement Automation in Cycles

Once you have a blueprint for business process re-engineering, it is tempting to make system wide changes. But this tends to create a challenge because it’s too much change for an easy transition from existing procedures. Instead, start by implement changes in pilots and with your smartest people. Collect feedback from those in the pilot and use it to improve the process before releasing it to a larger user base. As each iteration improves the process, employees left out will begin to want in. At the end of your re-engineering implementation, you have a fully integrated system that streamlines internal workflow and generates customer service improvements. And instead of forcing a new IT systems and new process on your employees, you will have them actually asking for access.

The result of a successful business process reengineering project is a lean, agile workflow that drives improved customer experience. Imagine a business process with no wasted steps. When on-boarding a new client all the paperwork is completed in minutes instead of days, and accounts are opened in days instead of weeks. Every employee adds far more value than before. More revenue, less cost, and a better customer experience; reengineering your business processes is a win-win.