Operational Excellence

The Lockdown and its digitalisation impact

3-minute masterclass

Hagen Uckelmann | Kersten Martin Meyer

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on our lives. Not only by shaking the global economy, but also in terms of our social behaviour. For decades it was the norm, that employees went to their offices and remote working was perceived as something unusual and as an inefficient way of working.

The perception on working from home

Lockdown has changed this perception entirely. New surveys show that a great percentage of employees appreciate and favour working remotely, and even describe their productivity as higher than before. Furthermore, companies have changed their attitude towards a home office, as it’s a powerful tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the workforce.

Remote working also reduces the need for office space and thus helps reduce the associated rental cost substantially. As a result, significant investments have been made by companies to provide their employees with sufficient tools for remote working. Global pioneers, such as Google or Twitter even offer their employees the possibility to work from home, forever.

Regardless of the size of the company, this is a huge step for every organisation and technology plays a major role in this evolution. That is why it is important to evaluate all of your underlying technology.

Is implementing workflow tools the answer?

Digitisation, innovation and disruptive technology have been on banks’ agenda for a long time. But the majority still suffer from a high number of manual workarounds, unclear cross-department handovers and non-transparent roles and responsibilities. Such situations even exist in highly sensitive areas, such as KYC / AML and Compliance. This puts the banks at substantial regulatory risk, and in extreme cases could also affect their clients in case authorities decide to shut down the banks’ business until the regulatory compliance risk has been mitigated. Several European major commercial banks have faced multi-million euro fines and were even banned from conducting new client business.

The implementation of a fully-fledged workflow tool might be an answer, but will this solution be the final answer? Often these tools are perceived as the holy grail, but decision-makers need to bear in mind the following:

What is the underlying Business Case

Creating a deep-dive business case and defining multiple dimensions (e.g. business ambition, application scope, necessary amendments on business and IT side) is crucial for obtaining buy-in from key sponsors, commitment of involved employees and form a solid baseline for success measurement.

Who are my stakeholders

In the past, such exercises have often been managed without sufficient and early involvement of all relevant stakeholders (especially IT) or have been pushed by IT without knowing the underlying requirements from the relevant participants (including central functions such as IT and Data Security). This is one of the key root causes for major implementation delays or event project abortions as key principles were not or at a late stage incorporated.

What does my current and target IT and process landscape look like

A workflow tool doesn’t work in isolation. You also need to identify and evaluate your IT Landscape related dependencies and connections to downstream systems e.g. in terms of golden source data management. In parallel, underlying processes and procedures must be assessed and potentially re-designed in order to obtain the desired benefits. Otherwise it will only be “rubbish in, rubbish out”.

What does the integration into my Target Operating Model look like

In order to realise the solutions inherent synergies, it must be clearly integrated into the Operating Model. Aligning the Operating Model with required enhancements in the underlying process model as well as incorporated changes in the IT Model is the foundation of a state-of-the-art workflow management system that will unfold its full potential.

What is the most appropriate implementation method

The general project and underlying implementation method is crucial to the success of such an engagement and must be tailored to meet organisational, technical and management requirements. Furthermore, ongoing operational readiness during the transition period must be ensured. There are various methods available, but lately, we have seen key benefits by setting up the project in a hybrid approach. Enhanced by focussing on one key area/process that will be transitioned into other areas.

Lockdown has shown the extensive need for technological, organisational and process improvement. An aligned Target Operating Model with a supportive workflow tool is an enabler for any future circumstances and guarantees an integrated way of working (especially when focussing on remote working). Enhancing this by enabling clients taking an active part in business workflows, will decrease the overall process duration and increase customer satisfaction. Ultimately, this can be a competitive edge, improve the brand recognition and boost the overall profitability.

If you are currently in the pursuit of introducing your organisation to a workflow tool, or you are already in the implementation phase and looking for improvements, Projective can help. Leveraging tools, processes and a state-of-the-art workflow environment is what we do. We deliver lasting change and realise real long-term benefits.