In recent years, the banking and finance sectors have undergone huge changes in the way they operate, from external compliance and regulatory change and internal cultural shifts, to the biggest driver of all—customer demands. In this first part of our two-part series on Operational Efficiency in the Banking & Finance Sector, we caught up with a large German financial services provider to find out how introducing a company-wide BPM software solution impacts employees.
Process-led transformation enables banks and financial service providers to massively increase operational efficiency and engage with their customers’ needs, allowing for true data analysis and behavioral insights. Along with re-centering processes to focus foremost on the customer, BPM is helping banks and financial service providers to innovate more readily, increase the introduction of new products to the market, and reduce risks and costs.
How VR FinanzDienstLeistung increased operational efficiency with process management
VR FinanzDienstLeistung was founded in 2009. Even then, it was clear that increasing the amount of new customers and cutting costs for existing customers were the primary goals of the company. Today, 300 employees work on uniformly tailoring market follow-up services such as loan and securities processing for a broad range of customers—and challenges are not lacking.
Be it low interest rates, increasing legal regulations or changing customer behavior, VR FinanzDienstLeistung GmbH know all about it.
To find out more, Signavio spoke to Gisbert Beckmann and Wolfgang Tietz-Niemzok of VR FinanzDienstLeistung GmbH, who have been leading a BPM initiative at their organization since 2015. Three years on, they have seen up close how BPM can transform a company, and increase operational efficiency, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction. We’ve shared their insights for you here, on the blog.
The path to process management
Signavio: Mr Beckmann, Mr Tietz-Niemzok, business process management is of course a very relevant topic for banks. How did you personally find your way into process management?
Beckmann: I’ve been involved in process management for 20 years. My career developed in the energy industry, and previously I worked as an IT consultant. The banking environment was a new challenge for me. However, in all the different areas, process management has always been my topic.
Tietz-Niemzok: I too have always been concerned with BPM, but not as a modeler. My interest is about the overall view—that is, about thinking in processes. How can I optimize a process? How can I increase its efficiency? I deliberately asked myself these questions in projects.
Signavio: What was the reason for your in-house process initiative?
Tietz-Niemzok: Our goal is to grow continuously. We just need functioning and efficient processes. Other than that, we wanted to grow with new customers, and this is also happening.
Signavio: How did you do that?
Tietz-Niemzok: The employees were introduced to the topic as part of a multi-year strategic initiative with a focus on streamlining processes and their quality. With this we were able to start process thinking and were able to build on this foundation in 2015 with software support. In a detailed evaluation phase, we compared different tools. We decided on Signavio due to its intuitive usability.
VR Finanzdienstleistung’s BPM strategy today
Signavio: Who is involved in process design today?
Tietz-Niemzok: There are around 15 teams with associated group leaders. These are usually responsible for the process. Each team has two to three employees who are very familiar with the processes.
Signavio: That is a lot! Who then models and edits the processes with the software?
Tietz-Niemzok: About 50 employees work with a Signavio Quick Model license. This has the advantage that processes can be recorded and edited very quickly. In addition, we have a process editorial staff consisting of just a few employees. They can model processes and also ensure via an electronic approval workflow that the requirements of the revision for transparency and traceability are met.
Signavio: This means that you consciously involve specialist and method experts in the process design?
Beckmann: Exactly. Our organizational principle is twofold: On the one hand there are decentralized process managers from the department (group leaders / team coordinators) who work in day-to-day operations—so they are not just staff but also process owners. As a counterpart, the process managers deliberately deal with the optimization of individual topics and make sure that defined standards are adhered to, and that there are uniform ‘rules of the game’.
Signavio: Does that work well in practice?
Beckmann: Of course, this is always a tense playing field, but we have deliberately organized it that way. We want to ensure that everyone deals with processes and thinks in processes—even when that is unfamiliar.
Tietz-Niemzok: Certain points of friction are completely normal. Nevertheless, process management has meanwhile become a matter of course. Our process documentation in Signavio is always our first reference. For example, when it comes to detail issues, our employees refer to the diagrams, the documentation, and checklists that are stored there.
Signavio: You have successfully anchored Business Process Management in your company. Nevertheless, employees always react differently. Was there any criticism of your process initiative?
Beckmann: Naturally. Documenting processes involves a certain amount of maintenance work. In addition, we have seen some employees feel restricted by the standardized processes in their way of working. The added value was not immediately apparent to all. Thanks to our team-based approach with Signavio, we have nevertheless managed to develop a process culture.
Signavio: So you would describe BPM as part of your corporate culture?
Beckmann: Yes, definitely! If work processes change, we also maintain the corresponding process documentation directly. We do not have to discuss this anymore, everything is done reliably and methodically clean. Therefore, we can say with certainty that the topic of process management really has arrived.
People & Process
As this interview has shown, BPM is first and foremost about the people in your organization. Increasing operational efficiency amounts to a large change management exercise, just as much as process improvement. In Part 2 of the series, we’ll be sharing further insights from VR FinanzDienstLeistung on the challenges of digitalization for banks and how this applies to process management.
If you’re inspired by their journey, get started transforming your own banking operations today! If you’d like to learn more or schedule a product demo, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to test the SAP Signavio Process Transformation Suite out for yourself, simply sign-up for a free 30-day trial.