Published on 24-Sep-2010
Validated on 18 Dec 2012
"We now have tools to map out, study and improve all of our processes. They are user friendly and logical. I’m excited that we’ve embraced the BPM technology and culture that supports the way we want to manage our business" - LaTeca Fields, Business Analyst-Specialized Support Services
Lincoln Trust Company
Lincoln Trust Company received over 100,000 documents per month resulting in wasted time, lost documents, and to client complaints. They selected Teamworks and Blueprint which helped them reduced customer complaints by 90 percent, decrease cycle time and increase overall productivity.
Client complaints due to lost documents Implementation of “shadow applications” (Excel, Access) to make process visible Process Improvement Team decommissioned as it was locked into “analysis paralysis”
Integrated process solution automated several hundred business processes Replaced several legacy systems with redundant workflow capabilities Key centerpiece of enterprise architecture
90 percent reduction in customer complaints due to lost or mishandled documents Achieved expected ROI of 120 percent in less than one year and an overall cost savings to date of USD2.2 million Reduced process cycle times by up to 75 percent in some areas
Lincoln Trust Company is among the country’s leading independent providers of self-directed IRAs, in addition to providing recordkeeping, administrative, and custodial services to 401(k) plans and other defined contribution plans. Lincoln Trust’s extensive expertise with respect to administering accounts that hold alternative assets attracts a wide variety of individuals, businesses, and retirement plan sponsors who want the flexibility to invest beyond traditional assets, including purchasing real estate in an IRA or in another retirement plan. For more information, visit www.LincolnTrustCo.com or call 1-800-525-2124.
Need for process improvement
Lincoln Trust Company was handling incoming retirement account service and transaction requests from more than 100,000 documents they received from the mailroom every month. The various business units of the company attempted to create their own “shadow applications” in Excel spreadsheets and Access databases and then manually filing the immense amount of paperwork.
As a result of the divestiture, the company was forced to reduce its workforce by 75 percent, but the incoming document volume was only expected to decrease by 25-30 percent. The alternative assets segment of the IRA business has historically struggled to effectively change their business model due to the complexity and manually intensive nature of alternative assets. As a smaller private company, it was imperative that LTC changed its business model to provide an appropriate return on investment. The Lincoln Trust Company Business Process Management (BPM) program was initiated as one of several key initiatives to enable this change to the business model.
The new BPM program had to take into account several “lessons learned” from the company’s past pre-divestiture past. A Process Improvement Team had existed several years prior, but was decommissioned due to lack of meaningful automation solutions, no partnership with IT and was viewed as being locked into “analysis paralysis.” In order to survive, the BPM program had to deliver measurable results early and often.
From a technology perspective, there were also lessons from the past that needed to be integrated into the new program. Prior attempts at process automation using the workflow module of their ECM system failed due to overly complex solutions and scope challenges.
In January, 2007, Lincoln Trust formed an executive steering group and a small BPM team comprised of one project manager, one developer and one business analyst. They formed a two-tiered strategy where they decided they would first use a “common shared process” model that could be rolled out quickly across the enterprise using the workflow features of their ECM system. This model would deliver imaged documents in a basic business process workflow and discontinue paper delivery. After a substantial portion of the business was “paperless,” they would initiate the second tier of the strategy, which would be to implement true, or “first order” business process models for the company’s core business processes. While there would be customizable features for each implementation of the common shared process, in order to provide the necessary speed of implementation, the executive steering group committed to ensuring that their business units would not demand highly specialized features that would slow down the implementations.
Throughout 2007 and into 2008, this strategy was implemented with greater than anticipated success. By July, 2008, fifteen business units’ business process documents, which initiated or supported over 145 business processes, were implemented using the “common shared process” to resolve the paper problem quickly. However, as the BPM team implemented this process model across the business, they learned that even simple customizations to the workflow model in the ECM system were costly and time-consuming. The team realized that this limited capability threatened the second-tier of the strategy for “first order” business process analysis and automation.
At the same time, as a result of the divestiture and another key initiative to reduce complexity of business applications in an all new SOA compliant IT architecture, the process team was asked to replace some legacy, custom process tracking applications which did not require integration with the document management system.
It was the convergence of these factors that drove Lincoln Trust Company to select a business process management suite (BPMS) that could support the business goals of the BPM program for process analysis and ongoing improvement, as well as the technology goals of the program and the whole range of process technology solutions that would be required as a result in the BPM projects conducted by the business—from simpler, ad hoc human to human processes to more advanced processes that would require not only human to human activities, but integration with their internal and external portals, line of business trust system, partner firm technology and the document management system.
After a careful selection process involving representatives from across the company, Lincoln Trust Company selected Lombardi Teamworks® and Lombardi Blueprint® in August, 2008. Since then they have not only migrated the “common shared model” (with several significant improvements to the model overall) but also several “first order” business process solutions, all served with a shared set of web services that provide the all required integrations, including services for all document management activities.
With its user friendly features and low barriers to usability, the business units of Lincoln Trust Company very quickly adopted Blueprint as a key tool in their BPM project for detailed current and future state business process documentation and analysis. The BPM program’s executive sponsors challenged their management teams to conduct BPM projects for at least five strategic business processes that operate within and across their business units that yielded solutions that were later implemented in Teamworks but many that did not require process technology as well.
Lincoln Trust Company has implemented numerous business process technology solutions used by all business units in the company in Teamworks. Some of those processes include:
This process serves as a virtual mail station for all teams using processes integrated with the document management system. A virtual “envelope” of documents received in the same physical envelope by mail or fax transmission are delivered to each team that processes the type(s) of request(s) on the documents.
Those teams can perform several different types of actions with the documents in the envelopes. Most commonly, they will initiate a new business process by choosing which process (or processes, in the case where more than one process is required to perform the requests on the documents) to initiate and attach one or more documents from the envelope to it and assign it to a role consisting of team members with rights to perform the process work or to an individual processor. The list of processes displayed to the user is dynamic and will display only processes that are applicable to their business unit. Both the “common shared process” and “first order” process types can be selected to create. Alternatively, the user can also attach one or more of the documents to one or more processes already “in flight” in the cases where the documents represent supporting documentation rather than the first time receipt of a request. Other actions document related actions that can be taken include: document metadata in the document (content) management system can be added or corrected, documents can be redirected or copied to other teams and the team can request original documents from storage in the mailroom. These same document related actions are available on all other document-enabled processes as well.
When enough information is known about the documents through bar-coding technology and other electronic cues, the Document Manager process is not required and the appropriate business process is “auto-launched” and documents are “auto-attached” in Teamworks. However, since many of the documents received for the alternative asset related business processes are generated by other firms and difficult to recognize and classify without extremely advanced and expensive character recognition technology, the Document Manager process enables an intelligent knowledge worker to review them and deal with them appropriately in a structured, visible way.
This process represents one of the newer “first order,” document-enabled business processes. This process can be initiated by a user-friendly wizard on the company’s external portal that walks a client through what can be a very complex, regulation-laden process to take money out of their Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Once the client completes the wizard and submits their request, the external portal initiates the Distribution process in Teamworks and attaches a PDF record of the request that is also provided as a confirmation to the client and filed into the document management system as an electronically signed, legal record of the request. The Distributions process can also be initiated by the Document Manager process described above (when request is received by mail or fax). This process has many key features including integration with a “customer value” cube that will prioritize and provide special routing for requests based on a customer’s profitability score, the ability to create ad hoc requests to the appropriate client relations team member for call out to the customer to gather more information/provide status updates, and so on. These requests are sub-processes, related to the distribution “case,” which contains all process information and attached documents for the client relations employee to appropriately handle the outbound call. For the simpler cases of this process, Lincoln Trust Company is currently integrating the process with web services so that the entire transaction is executed “straight through” from the external portal to a client account, eliminating all human process activities.
Plan Establishment is another more advanced process that Lincoln Trust Company has implemented recently to manage the set up of a new or transfer of an existing employer sponsored retirement plan to the Corporate Retirement Services (CRS) business unit. This is initiated by the sales staff through an application on the company’s Sharepoint portal. Through integration with a partner vendor’s electronic contract and signature product, called DocuSign, as legal plan setup documents are completed and signed electronically by customers, they are automatically attached to the running process and filed into the document management system. Follow on documents received by mail or fax can also be attached by Document Manager or other document-enabled processes. The process has a user-friendly checklist feature and the checklist and other process status data is reported to management through dashboard reporting.
The basic workflow process implemented to handle the rest of the company’s document enabled processes is called “eDelivery.” This is the “common shared” process model for all other business processes in the company which share a very similar processing pattern and for which a “first order” business process either has not yet been implemented or will not be implemented because it would not provide a return on the investment to build it. However, because of the data-driven implementation of this process, each process (also called “work type”) running through eDelivery can take advantage of configuration options such as the ability to choose which process activities are applicable for the work type, whether or not a checklist is required for an activity (and what checklist items should be displayed/stored), whether or not a quality control process is required and what percentage of the work should be reviewed, and so on. Like the other document enabled processes described above, this process provides the user all of the document management activities available to the others for any of the documents attached to the process.
This process is one of the simpler, human to human, processes implemented by Lincoln Trust Company to handle ad hoc requests from one business unit to another. It is used by all business units in the company, including some support business units like Corporate Accounting.
Remarkable results: Qualitative and quantified
Lincoln Trust Company has adopted a process technology implementation model which enables them to actively keep in touch with the business; whenever the development team has bandwidth outside of new process implementations; they are constantly enhancing existing functionality from a prioritized backlog which allows for progression without consuming their resources completely.
· Implemented a system which no longer requires utilization of shadow (Excel, Access) and home-grown legacy applications to support critical processes
· Gained significantly better process visibility and governance
· Attained a stronger collaboration and understanding of majority of business processes having discovered and mapped them in Blueprint
· Accomplished the expected ROI of 120 percent in year one and overall cost savings of USD2.2 million to date
· Reduced customer complaints by 90 percent
· Decreased cycle time—reduced process times in some areas by up to 75 percent
· Eliminated lost documents and the liability associated with such a loss
· Increased overall productively by over 25 percent initially
Why BPM from IBM?
Business Process Management (BPM) software and services from IBM help organizations optimize business performance by discovering, documenting, automating, and continuously improving business processes to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
For More Information
To learn more about IBM’s version of Lombardi’s Teamworks offering, IBM® WebSphere® Lombardi Edition, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following Web sites:
IBM WebSphere Lombardi Edition: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/integration/lombardi-edition/
IBM BPM Blueprint: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/integration/bpm-blueprint/
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
WebSphere Lombardi Edition
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