The healthcare industry has long been out in front in terms of using dynamic case management (DCM)—but today, financial organizations are rapidly catching up.

Banks and other institutions are increasingly turning to DCM to give their knowledge workers better ways to serve customers. Banks also are standardizing global processes in their DCM architectures, allowing clients who are away from their own countries to receive the same level of customer service offered at home.

In one particular case, a global financial institution implemented DCM in an effort to more effectively manage heavy caseloads and better control some of its processes.

With more than 2,000 customer service representatives handling corporate banking inquiries, the institution turned to DCM to implement a workflow solution that could help manage its caseload. However, in considering how to replace an existing system with limited functionality, the bank’s decision-makers didn’t even think about DCM. They learned about the approach from Virtusa, the IT consulting/outsourcing company that worked with the bank on the new system.

BEING DRIVEN TO DCM
The bank’s leaders faced a major challenge: More and more of their customers were operating globally, but the bank’s infrastructure was preventing it from servicing a global customer base, says Bob Graham, Virtusa’s vice president of financial services. For example, if a corporate client’s wire transfer in foreign currency failed, the foreign subsidiary would note the failure, and because of the system’s limitations, the client could only speak to someone in the United States.

“One thing that they were lacking was a level of management control around the processes,” Graham says, calling that situation a typical problem in case management. “They didn’t have any transparency or were unable to, in a classic workflow, reroute work or manage spikes.”

To kick off the process on the tech side, Virtusa examined the bank’s systems, its customer requirements and behaviors and the work itself. “Each company has its own way of characterizing work and transactions,” says Stuart Chandler, Virtusa’s global head of BPM.

ADDRESSING IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGES
“Any DCM [initiative] always has dilemmas as you try to create standards in use cases,” says Graham. In this case, as Virtusa moved between geographical regions, they faced process challenges from each group insisting that the processes should be done their way. But, of course, standardization makes for an easier rollout, and Virtusa wanted to architect a solution that would accommodate local needs.

“The big thing is that, technologically, it was not only trying to do data modeling and model processes, but extrapolating out of them common processes,” Chandler explains. The project required design discipline and a shared understanding of how to best approach the design. Virtusa implemented the architecture by creating a platform for the future rather than being crushed by shorter timelines.

Iterative development played a large part in creating a DCM architecture that allowed the bank to meet both its business objectives and the needs of its customers. Virtusa also chose technology with enough flexibility to prevent forcing the bank into a “box” of predefined processes that wouldn’t work with their objectives.

The team worked from a high-level business process management (BPM) platform that, at its core, would support common DCM components. The bank had the infrastructure in place, but on a scale of one to 10, with one being almost no additions to the DCM software and 10 being building from scratch, Graham says the build-out of the architecture weighed in somewhere between 5 and 7.

“The other part from implementation side is preparation work,” says Chandler. That process included many facets, including approvals and getting people accustomed to BPM and case management. That effort required a focus on the business side, not just back-office processes.

RESULTS IN ACTION
With its new DCM system, the bank has been able to create more differentiated levels of customer service for its clients. “With this infrastructure in place, they’re now able to have a global standard where they can create tiered pricing around service levels,” Graham says. “And because the system is global now, they have much easier access to data to report on and charge the client.” The system is also credited with significantly improving the bank’s customer-service and customer-experience levels—all of which allows the institution to differentiate its products and services.

In addition, the DCM architecture has generated better governance around processes, says Chandler. The bank is “able to standardize and minimize costs around processes [and has the] ability to continue to improve and enhance and move work as needed,” he says. Standardizing processes has helped reduce the cost of errors for the bank as well.

The highly complex global implementation meant that the bank was not as well-prepared as it might have been for the challenges that come with introducing a global standard, Graham acknowledges.

However, on the process side, Graham doesn’t believe the implementation team could have done much differently. In retrospect, the only thing he might have changed would be increasing global transparency, even though the project focused on iterative development. For example, “if we started in the U.S. and the second site was Hong Kong or Singapore, but we didn’t bring in the Asian [components including] India, then we probably should have started to drag in the other groups on some of those decisions rather than waiting until we got them,” he says.

But while the team ran into a few hurdles, those challenges weren’t insurmountable. Ultimately, thanks to the new DCM architecture, the bank is meeting its goals by offering better customer service to global customers, which, in turn, generates more revenues. And that’s a happy ending indeed.

READER FEEDBACK: Has your organization--in any industry--implemented case management to better handle big caseloads? If so, what three lessons learned can you share with your colleagues? Please e-mail Site Editor Anne Stuart at editor@ebizq.net.



About the Author

Christine Parizo is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology. She's based in West Springfield, Mass. Contact her at christine@christineparizo.com.

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