A Global South African Bank

Achieving millions of dollars in savings and reducing risk with a single view of each customer

Published on 30-Aug-2011

Validated on 01 Mar 2013

"We can offer customers better service at a reasonable cost and more quickly process their requests, and that is making us a lot more competitive in the banking industry in South Africa.”" - Lead Architect, Entperprise Content Management, a Global South African Bank

A Global South African Bank


Deployment country:
South Africa

Business Process Management (BPM), Enterprise Content Management, Smarter Commerce


In the wake of the economic downturn and greater banking oversight, the need to improve records management is quickly becoming one of the financial sector’s most pressing issues. However, at the banks executives see improved records management as an opportunity to not only strengthen governance but also gain a 360-degree view of its customers.

Business need:
With content stored in many different systems across bank operations, staff couldn’t quickly or easily confirm adherence to new regulatory requirements or respond to customer inquiries.

Working with IBM, a Global South African Bank implemented an enterprise content management platform based on a service oriented architecture that provides a single view of its customers and automates business workflows.

Anticipated US$7 million annual savings; streamlines records management to strengthen governance and improve customer service; reduces deployment of enterprise content management services from up to two years to just a few months

Case Study

“The way to differentiate yourself in this industry is having the right information at hand,” explains the lead architect, Enterprise Content Management, for a Global South African Bank. The bank serves millions of customers from around the world. “Can we reduce our turnaround time to provide customers with answers faster and to capitalize on the impulse buy-in of the customer? If we can't, then we won't be competitive in the industry.”

One of the bank’s first concerns was addressing new South African legislation that increases consumer protections and requires banks to confirm their clients understand the terms of financial contracts.

“The onus is now on the bank to describe the financial contract and if we cannot provide that proof, we cannot collect the monies owed to us,” says the lead architect. “So the business need we identified was twofold: one was records management and prevention of litigation; the second to leverage our customer information better so we could improve customer relations and better cross-sell products.”

Creating a common platform for all divisions
In making its move from a product-centric business model to a customer-centric approach, Standard Bank staff found that the bank had most of the information it needed for both regulatory requirements and improving customer service, it just didn’t leverage the information very well.

“The volume of unstructured content that we deal with is in the petabytes, so it's quite large and we were unable with our existing infrastructure to determine how we use information and how we dispose of it,” says the lead architect.

The company formed two teams—the business architecture unit and a technology architecture unit—and the two worked in unison to develop reference architectures that would satisfy the bank’s business requirements.

“Once we had established what it is that we wanted, we could match it to the appropriate technologies,” says the lead architect. “We chose IBM because its product sets most closely matched our requirements and because IBM ECM [Enterprise Content Management] software on the IBM System p platform was able to support our performance and uptime requirements.”

Before moving forward, the bank engaged IBM Global Business Services to validate the platform architecture and confirm accuracy of the team’s use case and ROI estimates.

Centralizing content for a single view of the customer
The bank’s new enterprise content management platform helps it not only reduce costs but also transform customer service. Nearly 8,000 bank employees currently use the platform to support electronic statement delivery, records management and customer service processes. The lead architect expects this number to rise over the next three to five years.

“The integration of the different toolsets is enabling us to get a 360-degree view of customer content,” explains the lead architect. “By determining which repository stores what information, and what objects exist where, we are already on a far better footing than we have ever been. From there, we can establish what the purpose of the content is, what process it is supporting, and how long we need to store it. By wrapping all of those within a case and including that with the process, we can improve our customer service and improve time-to-market of new products.”

As new “content” is received—a loan application, supporting documents, customer correspondence, internal memos, etc.—it is automatically captured and stored in the bank’s new content library. “IBM ECM software is our central content catalog,” says the lead architect. “In order to attain a single view of customer content, we need essentially a librarian that knows where everything is and that’s what IBM ECM software is for us.”

Staff can easily search and access content from this common repository as well as any documents in federated content stores (such as the organization’s SharePoint system) through an internally developed viewer. This enables all sensitive documents (such as financial statements and customer pay slips) to be secured in the enterprise repository while non-sensitive information, such as project documents, is accessible to all bank staff for improved collaboration. The content management system incorporates stringent security protocols to help confirm that only staff members authorized to access specific content can, and it provides an audit trail to demonstrate compliance with governance requirements.

Integrated workflows allows content to automatically trigger a business process—such as routing a loan application through the appropriate approvals—or rendezvous content with an existing workflow process

Enterprise content taxonomy allows for standardized classification of content, which helps staff rapidly locate content for records and governance requests. A common digital statement engine was also implemented to allow any division to create and send digital statements to customers.

The platform is based on a service oriented architecture (SOA) which helps staff dramatically reduce the time to deliver new ECM services. “With a SOA-based approach, we now are able to deploy services a lot faster to the different business units,” the lead architect explains. “We can deploy in a matter of months where it used to take at least a year to two years for any major project.”

Achieving more than US$7 million in savings
How has a centralized enterprise content management strategy benefitted the bank?
According to the lead architect, by streamlining, standardizing and automating records and content management processes, the bank expects savings of more than US$7 million dollars each year.

“We currently move around about 500,000 pages in our transactional division per year and by simply becoming more efficient with our systems, we can save in the region of $700,000 annually on handling costs,” says the lead architect. “We also save around $1 million a year on destroying content that we no longer acquire; $3 million a year on the prevention of litigation due to lost documentation; and around $2 million a year in the consolidation of our statements and the ability to send email statements rather than paper statements.”

And this tremendous savings represents only a small part of the overall improvement. Increased revenue, a strong competitive position and more satisfied customers are also expected outcomes. “We can offer customers better service at a reasonable cost and more quickly process their requests,” explains the lead architect. “This is making us a lot more competitive in the banking industry in South Africa.”

According to the lead architect, these improvements haven’t gone unnoticed by bank executives. “Our executives’ view of ECM has changed dramatically,” says the lead architect. “They now see it as something that they can leverage to make their business faster and more profitable.”

To learn more about IBM Enterprise Content Management software, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/software/data/content-management

You can get even more out of IBM Enterprise Content Management software by participating in independently run Enterprise Content Management User Groups around the world. Learn about opportunities near you at: ibm.com/software/data/content-management/usernet.html

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Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

System p

WebSphere Process Server, WebSphere Message Broker, FileNet Content Manager, FileNet Process Analyzer, Content Manager OnDemand for Multiplatforms, Enterprise Records

GBS BAO: Enterprise Content Management

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America March 2011 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and FileNet are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at "Copyright and trademark information" at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml

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