Process Acceleration with Workflow Automation
Process Acceleration with Workflow Automation

How Workflow Automation Accelerated Family Building Society Processes, Part 1

People say we live in a digital age. They point to information and data being digitized, everything from books, audio and video files to personal data and even our health records.

Truth be told? There’s still a lot of paper out there, demanding a lot of human intervention to move it from one person to the next. This is especially true in business, where many companies still cling to the historical ways they’ve done business for decades.  But that’s changing. 

At the vanguard of this change are forward-thinking companies who recognize the role technology can play in eliminating paper and automating processes, reducing the time it takes to complete them. They also realize technology can improve the customer experience, enabling them to better compete with larger companies who have the resources to invest in such technology. Once such innovator? The U.K.’s Family Building Society.

In this three-part blog series, you’ll discover how Family Building Society is implementing Mitratech’s DataStore Workflow tool to automate an important customer-facing process, digitizing information, and using workflows to remove human intervention and human checkpoints. The end result? The time needed to execute this process is slashed from days to hours.

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The Family Building Society

First, let’s get acquainted with the central character of this story, Family Building Society.  It’s a leading building society in the U.K, with over 56,000 clients and £2.5 billion in assets. What’s more, the Society or its predecessor companies have been around since 1896. Today, it’s the 10th largest building society in the U.K., offering innovative savings and lending products across all generations.

Building societies often rely on outmoded processes

The Family Building Society has long relied on paper and human intervention to conduct many routine processes, both customer facing and internal. They aren’t alone.

If you look out across the landscape of U.K. building societies, you’ll find that many still use paper and manual intervention for processes from account opening to loan redemption that larger banks automated years ago. And there’s a reason for that: Many building societies are smaller and rely on “high touch instead of high tech” to get things done.

But the reliance on manual processes has its costs. Processes for routine transactions, like opening an account, take days; employees lack visibility into processes, and reams of paper are generated only to be stored away in filing cabinets.

These manual processes are also having an impact on public perception. According to a recent study, 73% of millennials stated “they didn’t know the difference between a bank and a building,” while 37% considered building societies as “old-fashioned.”

A defining moment

The Family Building Society had a defining moment that caused them to look anew at their process. A process efficiency audit in the winter of 2018 delivered a key recommendation regarding the Society’s lack of digital workflows.

“They came in and said we should digitize many of our processes,” said Dan Condon, Business Transformation Manager at the Family Building Society. As a result, the Society started reviewing those processes, and the tools they had on hand to change them.

One of those tools was Mitratech’s DataStore, an enterprise content management (ECM) system built specifically for financial services. DataStore is a powerful and robust system, but the Family Building Society was only making limited use of its functionality. However, after talking to their Mitratech account representative, they realized that DataStore just might be their answer.

More specifically, Family Building Society discovered that DataStore contains a powerful tool, Workflow, that could automate many of their existing manual processes.  Even better, Workflow was already linked to their existing data repository in DataStore.  This meant they wouldn’t have to migrate their existing content and documents to a new platform or figure out a different workflow tool that would integrate with their existing DataStore solution.

What process to automate first?

The question Family Business Society faced quickly shifted, then, from whether to automate manual processes to which should they automate first as a pilot for the concept. To help answer that question, they collaborated with Mitratech to identify the most eligible process.

“We worked closely with Dan and others to identify processes with a lot of touchpoints, but ones that would be easy to convert,” stated Ben Motteram, who led the effort for Mitratech. Working together, they quickly landed on the mortgage redemption process.  In particular, they decided to focus on the part of the process that communicated to the customer how much it would cost, including any ancillary fees, for them to pay off the balance of a mortgage.

Part II of this series will examine how that mortgage redemption process worked, and provide specifics on how Family Building Society was able to use DataStore Workflow to cut process time (as mentioned above) from days to mere hours.

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