Paperless banking is a vision, not a single event nor something you can achieve overnight. It’s a journey and banks need to make iterative steps along that journey so that they can save costs, and provide better customer service and compliance of their digital records every step of the way. Over a series of years in a thoughtful, planned manner – banks can achieve that vision, enjoy excellent economic returns and drive toward paperless operations.
The path forward to a paperless world for a majority of banks will, in fact, involve setting an enterprise strategy into place. This first involves a business strategy towards achieving paperless Nirvana and secondarily an underlying technology plan to support the business strategy. Here you would also want to describe your architectures and options for the key software and service providers that would be very important to you. You would create enterprise taxonomy for all of your content, so that the multiple systems you may have in place today or may need to implement over the years can coexist nicely. So having this enterprise plan, which includes a services and deployment methodology plan, is key. Beyond that, you need to zero in on your services provider and integrator, since most projects succeed or fail because of the services and not the software itself. In today’s ECM (Enterprise Content Management) environment, the software is very robust and capable, and as long as you’ve done the right planning and requirements work, you can reach your Nirvana.
Once you have your enterprise strategy and plan in place, you’ll want to consider rolling out and deploying ECM on a department-by-department basis. Some applications are relatively simple and easy, while others much more difficult with longer time to implement. Mortgage Lending, for example is more complex and takes longer because of the numbers of document types and persons/firms involved, the length of the approval process, and the case and operational processes from the point of origination through to and including servicing. So you may want to choose some easier pilots, “quick wins” and then maybe applications and use cases that will provide the greatest value to the bank. So put some thought as to how you’re going to roll out the solutions by department, understanding that each business operation has different types of content and varying workflow processes. And, you may also want to choose different software tools, point solutions, as you deploy, to meet specific department and business goals.
The reality today is most banks have multiple ECM systems. There are few that only have one. It’s very costly and difficult to replace or to migrate from one system to another. So that’s why you need your enterprise taxonomy in place, identifying how all the naming structures are going to work so systems could, in fact, be federated, could be linked together to coexist harmoniously. If you have the enterprise plan deployed departmentally and with a good set of cross-functional managers involved in the process, you’ll have success. And why do I suggest you need cross-functional managers? Because ECM is not just an IT technology project nor is it just a line of business application project either. You need good management teams from all the stakeholders, all the end user operations affected and involved, to fully agree to the requirements, the plans, the testing, and the rollouts to ensure success.
So choose good partners, make sure you have the proper plans in place, and start deploying, because if you’re not realizing the advantages of ECM today, I can guarantee you your competitor and peer banks are. And while it may take you one to two days to process a consumer loan or weeks to process a mortgage loan, your competitors that are using ECM solutions successfully are booking those same new loans in half the time because they’re using well-designed and implemented ECM technologies.