I was in conversation with a person from a digital engagement platform (DEP) provider, the conversation was all process. As a banker who has grown straddling banking and technology, I realised quickly she had little knowledge of the underlying business
Banking, accepting money for lending is one of the oldest professions, quite versatile to change when the challenge occurred. With growth ‘one person’ bank grew to several employees donning different roles. The growth also engendered complexity in transactions
and specialisation; with emergence of compliance the need for transparency was underlined. So came the workflow with distinct steps and associated actions from a start of a transaction to completion.
In my early days in banking one could see the value addition in a workflow to a transaction (Voucher / ticket) as it moved from desk (role) to desk (role). With computerisation (technology) it moved ‘logically’ from role to role. The value addition was
still manual. However with automation (change in technology) in the value chain, the configured business rules took over a few roles in the workflow. In other words repeatable decisions were automated. In all these environments the process remained the same.
The process changed if and only if the underlying workflow or ‘value addition’ changed. Now coming to retail versus corporate banking, retail banking has a linear and simpler workflow; on the other hand the workflow associated with corporate banking is quite
complex. Some obvious reasons are, there could be several directors who are borrowers perhaps with joint and several liability; a different legal framework and the monies borrowed could be quite huge.
Digital engagement a phrase that is common today is engaging a customer using digital tools. This in a simplified model we know is internet plus a device. This combination is technology. Technology can change however, the workflow will not change for the
sole reason that the ‘engagement’ is digital; it may get completed in lesser time though.
A process, maps a workflow journey. A good process map will capture the entire journey flagging the steps and decisions along the steps as manual or automated. For this to occur one should have an in-depth knowledge of banking. In other words the true power
of a process is a function of domain knowledge.
The banks that implement DEP must first ensure the vendor has the necessary depth and knowledge in the related domain. If a bank is implementing a DEP and process innovation is the objective it must make sure the vendor has a team with strong banking knowledge;
else there is a greater chance of the ROI not meeting the board’s expectations and a greater risk of digitising the existing process at the cost of innovation.
So what is the verdict? It is 60:20:20. 60% Banking, 20% Process and 20% Technology. technology is a tool and a process follows technology; banking workflow, however will remain the same.