Financial institutions have so many choices regarding service delivery in every aspect of customer interaction. There are packaged applications, traditional CRM packages, in-house custom solutions, as well as modern business process management (BPM) suites. All these solutions have advantages and disadvantages, so let’s look at how well they solve the problem of improving the onboarding experience for corporate banking clients.
Packaged Applications — Fast and Cheap…Well, That’s What They Tell You
Packaged onboarding applications are often billed as “plug and play” with everything you need already included. The reality is somewhat different. While they do pre-configure a lot of the onboarding process, you will most likely have to alter them to fit your bank’s specific policy, country regulations or servicing strategy. Welcome to the dreaded “change request”. You will typically need to pay again, wait for the next release to have your changes coded, and ultimately realize that the changes either no longer fit your business needs, or were misinterpreted by the technology team. Either way, it ends up being neither a fast nor cheap solution.
CRM Suites — Extend at High Cost
Like packaged applications, CRM suites offer built-in integration and data elements for onboarding. The challenge is that their technology is inflexible, and they are not adept at managing quick process changes or localizing business rules for a particular client, product or geography. When a bank attempts to create or change processes or rules, it finds that the time and expense for development can be prohibitive. A large bank that wanted to add a small document capture onboarding process for a trade finance unit to its CRM solution discovered it would cost more than $1 million and take 18 months. Upgrading is also expensive because the customizations must be re-coded into the new version. In fact, one CRM vendor actually has a caveat in its TV commercials that indicates the returns and benefits are not applicable to financial services firms!
Custom-Built Applications — Build at Your Own Risk
Inevitably, custom developing a solution in-house or with an off/near shore development partner is considered. The challenges start with having the expertise, knowledge and resources (both capital and intellectual) needed to build such an application. Attempting to extend or leverage the application so that all business units can use it to onboard the same corporate clients can be a challenge both technically and politically. Many times these applications start out great but as the resources and regimes change within the bank, they can become outdated and difficult to maintain and change over time.
Business Process Management Solution — The Path to Client-Centric Experiences
A good BPM solution provides a unified set of tools that can enable visual modeling and analysis of business processes, capture the business rules associated with a process, support document management flows, automate processes with other applications or processes, and enable rapid enterprise application integration. All of these components are reusable, so that they can be shared and repurposed by multiple business units. It promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility and integration with technology. BPM can improve processes continuously in order to optimize them.
With a single, unified BPM solution, banks can build a core onboarding process and then specialize it with dynamic rules to account for specific product, regulatory or geographic requirements, for example. This facilitates one view of the client across products and services, standardizes and streamlines processing while automatically accounting for variations and continues to leverage legacy systems—to “wrap and renew” these systems—in far more client-centric processes.