Case Study – Strategic Planning and Collaboration
A regional commercial bank had large amounts of information in the form of policies, procedures, training and product materials that were frequently updated and needed to be widely distributed. They were spending many hours copying updates, sending them by inter-office mail and having employees update their manuals. The solution was to design and create a corporate Intranet to host this information.
Identify work-flow bottlenecks
Bank-wide processes were reviewed for process bottlenecks. Several processes were identified for automation using online forms. For example, tellers completed a variety of paper forms to process general ledger entries. The entries were often made to the the wrong general ledger account and the hand-written descriptions made it difficult to perform later analysis. An online process was developed to standardize the most common transactions and eliminate the need to remember what general ledger account to use. Standardizing the entries also made later analysis much easier. By completing a simple online form, tellers can enroll customers in Web Banking. The completed form is automatically routed to the Online Banking Department, speeding the process and eliminating lost forms.
Identify frequently changing materials and manuals
A review of common policy and procedure manuals was performed and frequently updated manuals were posted to the Intranet. This eliminated the need to send out updates and asking employees to update their paper based manuals. Reference and compliance manuals were also posted to the Intranet to ensure employees had the most current information.
Strong Search Capabilities
An Intranet-wide search engine was installed. This helped employees quickly find the information they were looking for and automatically cross-referenced related information. For example, an employee might search for Web Banking to find a product description. Beside the product description, the employee would be presented with product disclosures, pricing worksheets, an online form to enroll the customer, and a tip sheet for the customer to use.
A Smart Search capability was developed by reviewing what subjects employees were most commonly searching for and then directing the search results to provide the most important information first. For example, searching for Checking would point first to checking account descriptions, procedures for opening checking accounts, and checking account disclosure forms.
Departmental meetings for education and design
Departmental meeting were held to identify subjects and materials important to specific departments. Departmental web pages were developed to gather common information. We asked the department to develop a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that they received from other employees. This FAQ list and the answers was posted prominently on the department's web site and significantly reduced phone calls to the department.
Incorporate employee fun and convenience
The best way to get employees to use the new Intranet was to incorporate some fun and easy to use features. An online classified ads feature was created to allow employees to sell items. This became one of the most popular sections of the Intranet. Employee input and collaboration was encouraged by creating an online suggestion box and an “ask-a-question” page where employees could ask questions and find expert answers from other employees.
Supports Strategic Initiatives
Messages about the bank's strategic plan and focus were reinforced by placing them in a conspicuous spot on the Intranet. Communications about the plan were updated each month. Employees were provided with a feedback mechanism about corporate initiatives and the ability to provide suggestions to improve the company.
Employees are much more productive with a centralized place to find information. Reference materials and information is kept current and immediately distributed. Employees always have the most current information. A search capability allows employees to quickly find information that isn't referenced often – they don't have to guess or say I don't know. Processes are completed more quickly and accurately as the work-flow is automated. Employee moral is improved through the use of online classified ads and an online suggestion box.
This project was recognized by the Greater Reading of Commerce for the innovative use of technology.