Sumitomo bank cuts workload by 70% with new processes

Business process management programmes have delivered spectacular savings at a leading bank.


Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe (SMBCE) has reduced its work load by up to 70 percent in some of its departments after implementing three new business processes.

Juan Moreno, IT business analyst at SMBCE, told the Gartner Business Process Management Summit 2010 in London that the bank had carried out a number of projects that used business process management software from Metastorm to help increase efficiency in the business.

As a result, the bank has achieved a significant reduction in workload and cut response times in the report approvals and credit control departments, as well as streamlined the employee appraisal process.

Sumitomo’s Metastorm systems operates on a Windows platform and uses a SQL server backend.

"When I joined the bank in 2006, the company was very dependent on paper. My goal was to improve communication and reduce use of paper," said Moreno.

Before the implementation of software for the SMBCE report approval process, staff would print off hard copies of documents, which would be collected and delivered to the approver's desk for stamping. These documents could sit on the desk for around a day before the next stage, which was the move of the documents to archive departments.

Moreno said that this process was subject to a lot of delays. Documents were also submitted in basic formats, mainly fax, which involved employees having to wait by machines to remove the paper and chase up approvals. The archive was also getting larger, which meant that employees were spending even more time managing the documents.

The bank therefore built a system using Metastorm that would improve this document approval process and also be able to handle over 70 types of documents.

"Changing the process was a huge challenge because nobody wanted to change," said Moreno. "We had a huge pressure to develop something quickly and with little resources, so we needed something very, very simple.
"We found inspiration in Google. Google is incredibly simple and very powerful. So we basically needed our own Google to assimilate the documents in the bank," said Moreno.

Sumitomo therefore developed a "very simple" digital form, which allows the user to selct the type of document to be attached, to attach the document, input any comments and then click 'submit'. The system then sends an email to the approvals desk alerting them to the document.

Moreno said the system has allowed the bank to reap a range of benefits.

"We reduced the workload by 70 percent, while maintaining volume. We don't need testing because the code doesn't change. It is always the same code, for whatever document and we don't need training", said Moreno.

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