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1 Deckblatt Heckl, D./Moormann, J. (2007): How to design customer-centric business processes in the banking industry, in: Journal of Financial Transformation, Vol. 21, S Zugriff von: Copyright Frankfurt School, 2007

2 Delivery How to design customer-centric business processes in the banking industry Diana Heckl Project Manager at ProcessLab 1, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management Jürgen Moormann Professor of Banking and Head of ProcessLab, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management Abstract Banks and other financial services providers continuously claim to offer customer-oriented services, yet they still focus on delivering products instead of providing solutions to their customers needs. For instance, banks offer business customers only products and services that solve isolated problems, such as liquidity, financing, and investment services, and fail to reflect the intrinsic requirements of business clients, such as procurement, fulfillment, and sales. Hence, customers are rarely fully satisfied with banking services. Consequently, the consistent alignment of financial services to customer processes becomes increasingly important for enhancing the competitiveness of banks. This paper will present the design of a customer-centric business process model, which allows banks to closely align their business processes with those of their customers and as a result achieve a high level of customization and to provide a new spectrum of services that add value to the clients. The sample that will be analyzed in this paper will comprise of small and mediumsized enterprises. 1 ProcessLab is a research cluster at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. The cluster is focused on bank-related process management issues. 67

3 The need for customer-centricity in banks In most economies, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in contributing to the national GDP. To accomplish their business goals SMEs have an enormous need for financial products. This is what makes this customer segment most attractive to banks. To be successful in the SME segment banks have to offer a high level of customization. Such customization requires the consistent alignment of all banking activities towards the customer s requirements, expectations, and wishes [Tseng and Piller (2003), Hammer (2002)]. In most banks today, this alignment only includes serving the customer fast and courteously, as well as being at the customer s disposal in case of questions and problems with certain products and services [Caselli (2005)]. But customization should not be limited to supporting the customer in arranging the financial products which are demanded. In to achieve true customization a clear focus on the customer s preferences and expectations is absolutely essential [Vandermerwe (2000), Edvardsson (1997)]. The processes of the clients have to be understood thoroughly. Product-oriented thinking has to be transformed into customer-centric and process-driven thinking, turning the processes of a client into the starting point of all business activities of the bank. An appropriate instrument for a holistic identification of the customer s requirements can be seen in the concept of customer processes. A customer process can be characterized as the entire value chain that a customer passes through to meet a desired outcome or to solve a problem. Such a process comprises every single step until a specific wish has been fulfilled or the solution for a problem has been found [Behara et al. (2002)]. Business processes which are strictly focused on identifying and meeting the needs of customers are called customer-centric business processes [Bolton (2004), Chen and Popvich (2003)]. Piller and Möslein (2002) describe the approach as integrating the customer into value creation. Literature on the design of bank-related business processes based on customer processes is still scarce. A helpful approach has been provided by Heinrich (2002) for retail banking. He argues that the processes and the resulting requirements and expectations of customers should be the starting point of the conceptual design of a process model. Heinrich proposes that all basic requirements of the customer should be specified. With the customer processes in mind, the bank should determine which parts of a process should be handled by the bank to fulfill the real needs of the customer. Then the decision has to be made about which activities should be carried out in-house or externally and which role cooperating partners should play. In this paper, the design of a customer-centric business process model will be presented. The model allows banks to closely align their business processes with the processes of their customers (SMEs). The result will be a high level of customization and a new spectrum of services which provide added value to customers. In the following section, the basic requirements of SME clients will be specified and structured. It might be difficult for business clients to exactly formulate their basic requirements; hence they have to be derived from the structure of the client s business, which is reflected in its processes. For this purpose, the SMEs core, support, and management processes have to be identified. Additionally, all customer processes that can be reasonably supported by banks have to be selected. Subsequently, the current customer process orientation of banks within the SME segment will be analyzed. On this basis, a specific customer process will be described and analyzed in terms of the support it is receiving from the bank. Finally the authors will establish a process vision, as well as the design of a process model, to support the SMEs business. Identification of customer processes In the case of the SME segment, customer processes are those that an enterprise passes through in to satisfy its needs. Within its diverse processes, an SME client needs a multitude of information, services, and products. These can be obtained from various suppliers, including banks, advocates, delivery services, and others. Since literature does 68 - The journal of financial transformation

4 not provide a process model for SME clients a survey was conducted. The companies surveyed represented a number of different industries (excluding service companies) and had revenues ranging from 2.5 million to 200 million. Four-hundred-and-fifty companies were randomly selected from the database of a large German bank (DZ Bank AG). The questionnaires were mailed to the companies with the request to reply within a period of four weeks. Ninety-one questionnaires were sent back, which equates to a response rate of 20.2 percent and corresponds with previous studies [Appiah-Adu and Singh (1998)]. Figure 1 provides the responses to the questions concerning which processes should be considered as established business processes of SMEs. The figure shows all the processes that at least two-thirds of SMEs characterize as established processes in their organization. These established processes are very different from those currently supported by banks. Core processes, such as (39.7%), distribution management and controlling (38.1%), and acquisitions and sales (30.2%), were regarded by the respondents as those that receive inadequate attention from the banks and are not typically included within the current list of products and services that are supplied. The results of the survey also show that the respondents desire explicit support from banks for the core process acquisition and sales (23.5%). Moreover, they regard the banks support in a number of sub-processes as very important. Finally, the results clearly highlight that SMEs would like process support from their bank but only for processes that they expect the banks to possess adequate competence. Assessment of the current customer process orientation in banks Business processes consist of a comprehensive chain of value-creating activities that generate specific outputs required by customers and whose results have strategic importance for the enterprise [Davenport (1993), Hammer and Champy (1993)]. The combination of all business pro- Business processes Core processes Support processes Management processes Acquisition and sales Production Order fulfillment Assure quality Human resources Money and credit provision Resourcing Planning Distribution management and controlling Others Acquire customers Plan asset requirements Accept Employ staff Analyze liquidity Analyze supply market Distribution Production controlling Wage compensation Provide offer Plan financial requirements Plan Train junior staff Plan liquidity Analyze resource requirement Production Procurement controlling Negotiate contract Plan schedule Implement Personnel administration Determine capital requirements Procurement Procurement Staff controlling Order processing Plan capacities Delivering Pay employees Raise capital Resource storage Personnel Financial controlling Plan machine scheduling Invoicing Employee protection Apply for capital Financing Produce products Accounts receivable Staff capacity Financial reporting Account management Check quality Cost and profit management Warehousing Controlling Figure 1 Business processes of SME clients 69

5 cesses culminates in the fulfillment of a superior company mission, namely the achievement of superior profits. But to what extent have banks implemented a customer-centric process structure? And to what extent are the processes of SME clients used as the starting point for the process design in banks? To gain some insight into these questions we polled a number of experts, using a semi-structural interview format. The interviewees were chosen from the five largest banks in Germany (Deutsche Bank AG, Dresdner Bank AG, Commerzbank AG, DZ Bank AG, and LBBW). Five in-depth interviews were conducted with managers who were responsible for the SME business process design at their bank. All interviewees described SME clients as a strategic business segment within their bank due to their profit potential. All five banks regarded the importance of business with SMEs as very high and said that customers needs and expectations represented the focus of their customer service. An ambitious objective of their customer counseling is to provide comprehensive advice based on the requirements of the customer. However, the support of certain critical customer processes is rarely taken into account. The interviews showed that very often SME clients are merely being offered rather general support. To be precise, the current support is limited to the process of money and credit provision and a few sub-processes related to providing information. Processes such as the acquisition and sales are not explicitly considered within the banks customer service. Therefore, it is not apparent to the authors that banks engage in a comprehensive analysis of the customer needs and problems and use such information to develop adequate and innovative products and services. Summarizing the interviews, it can be concluded that banks are still working in a very product-oriented manner and continue to follow an inside-out-perspective. Customer orientation is only understood to represent satisfaction and fulfillment of customer requirements that can be directly observed. A more comprehensive and advanced consideration of the underlying customer processes and the resulting customer needs (i.e., an outside-in-perspective) is currently not evident. Given the large number of SME clients and the significant potential of this market segment, banks should change their perspectives. Instead of following the insideout-approach they should identify new business opportunities along the value chain of their customers [Binder and Behnstedt (2005)]. In the following section, the authors present a model which aims to directly match SME processes with the business processes of banks. Design of a customer-centric business process model The basis for the development of a customer-centric business process model is the identification of sub-processes for a specific customer process. Then each sub-process has to be analyzed to determine whether products and services could be conceivably provided in to support them. In the next step, the bank has to analyze whether the specific customer sub-process could be supported by the bank itself or by a cooperation partner. Finally, detailed product and service packages, as well as sales and communication channels, have to be defined. This definition has to refer to both the in-house products and services and those of the cooperating partners. Thus, the bank s business process will be fully based on the business needs of its SME clients. Acquisition and sales is probably the most important process for SME clients. Therefore, the bank has to understand every step of the acquisition and sales process in to identify opportunities for support. In the following section, the design of a customer-centric business process model for the acquisition and sales process is described. In doing so, it is necessary to note that the acquisition and sales process of the selling enterprise corresponds to the resourcing process, which includes procurement, of the buying enterprise. In to use synergies during the process modeling procedure, both processes will be included in our model. Steps of the acquisition and sales process As a starting point within this process, an SME uses market analyses to examine the current and future market situation 70 - The journal of financial transformation

6 and the surrounding environment in which the enterprise is acting (sub-process analyze target market). On the basis of the attained information potential customers are identified and acquired (acquire customers). Then, strategies, such as product strategy and product line policy, are formulated. In the next sub-process (analyze customer requirements), individual products have to be developed according to the customer s specifications. In addition, the production costs have to be calculated. The SME also has to provide advice (give product advice) and make an offer to the customer (provide offer). In a next process step, the contract has to be negotiated. At the s due date, the products for the customer have to be prepared for shipment and dispatched ( processing). Simultaneously, an invoice is issued and the invoice amount posted to the accounts receivable ledger. If the customer does not pay on time, the commercial and, if necessary, legal dunning proceeding starts. After having identified the sub-processes of the SMEs acquisition and sales process, each has to be matched against possible products and services that the bank might be able to offer. Within the target market analysis comprehensive market data could be offered to the enterprise, such as detailed information on potential customers and the targeted market, as well as market prospects and competition analyses. Generally, publications, road shows, advertisements, and sales promotions (i.e., calculation of discounts, design of payment options, provision of turnover credits, and other additional services) could be helpful in acquiring customers. Information about competitors, such as prices, delivery time, and quality measures, can help the SME to prepare a competitive offer. Additionally, the SME could develop financing packages or terms, such as loans and subsidies, for winning the business. The buyer s credit rating could be used to evaluate the solvency of the contract partner. If the sales negotiations result in a complex contract (i.e., in the case of selling a plant and/or delivering to certain countries) legal consultancy will be necessary. Furthermore, fulfilling guarantees or document transactions in the export business, such as letters of credit, can be covenanted as contract assurance. For transportation of goods, logistic companies like shipping contractors or specialized mail- firms have to be involved, making transport insurance desirable. Finally, support during the suspension of payments or insolvency of the SMEs clients might be necessary as well. Analogous to the acquisition and sales process of the selling company, the diverse sub-processes could also be identified for the resourcing process of the buying company. The identified sub-processes have to be checked for suitable products and services in the same way as shown above. Structure of the business process model As demonstrated above, the acquisition and sales process, as well as the resourcing process, can be substantially supported by value-added products and services offered by banks. Yet, a bank should not necessarily produce and deliver all aforementioned ancillary services on its own. In fact, such a product or service extension might result in the dilution of the core competencies of a bank, such as provision of financing, and additional products and services could probably not be offered at competitive prices. However, products and services which support the customer processes can be offered by cooperation partners, such as insurance companies, leasing partners, mortgage banks, market research companies, consultancies, agencies for business news, patent offices, etc. Cooperations between a bank as a service integrator and partners as services providers appear to be a favorable approach. The vision of the customer-centric process model depicted in Figure 2 is based on the generic business architecture model of Winter (2003). Winter describes how companies, respectively business units, can cooperate in a value creation network as service integrators, shared services providers, exclusive services providers, and public services providers using a business collaboration infrastructure. The customer processes provide the conceptual basis of this model. The bank as a service integrator holistically supports certain customer processes and integrates the service components of shared services providers (i.e., banks specialized in back-office transactions), 71

7 selling companies (acquisition and sales process) buying companies (resourcing process) analyze target market process oriented business client portal analyze supply market acquire customers e-shops buyer 1 analyze resource requirement analyze customer requirement seller (1 : n) buyer 2 buyer 3 inquiry give product advice provide offer negotiate contract processing sub-process processing execute mailing bring to account accounts receivable seller 1 seller 2 seller 3 seller 1 seller 2 seller 3 seller 4 virtual market places (m : n) buyer 4 buyer 1 buyer 2 buyer 3 desktop purchasing systems buyer (m : 1) offer comparison ing closing of contract quality control payment/ contractual defects sub-process procurement procurement resource storage resource protection customer relationship management cooperating partners affiliates bank institution market development consultancies insurances companies building companies mortgage banks leasing companies etc. firm infrastructure personnel management product management technology management acquisition distribution process. service margin margin market reports currency development macroeconomic analyses legal/tax advisors market research chambers of commerce universities etc. Figure 2 Customer-centric business process model exclusive services providers (i.e., affiliates of a bank or an association), as well as public services providers (i.e., Web services providers). The integration of these partners can be realized via a shared, open collaboration infrastructure (i.e., a customer portal). The starting point of the proposed process model is the SME client s acquisition and sales process and the resourcing process. Both processes are closely aligned with each other: while the selling company passes through the acquisition and sales process, the buying company passes at the same time through the resourcing process. In to support both processes the bank, as a service integrator, has to provide a collaboration platform, such as a business customer portal. This platform should not only include information, but also provide interaction and transaction functions. The involved enterprises must have the opportunity to collect information about potential buying and selling companies, to communi The journal of financial transformation

8 cate, and to deal with them [Davydov (2001)]. The customer buying cycle, which constitutes the interface between the buying and the selling companies, has to be completely supported by the collaboration platform. Therefore, the integration of e-procurement systems (i.e., via Web services providers) within the business customer portal can be very helpful. Systems for e-procurement enable the provisioning of products, the negotiation of prices, and the conclusion of sales contracts. There are three basic systems that have to be distinguished: e-shops (1 seller to n buyers; 1:n relation), desktop purchasing systems (m sellers to 1 buyer; m:1 relation), and virtual marketplaces (m sellers to n buyers; m:n relation) [Archer and Gebauer (2000)]. analyze target market acquire customers checklist for offer definition price price definition quality analyze customer requiremenet market surveys give product advice economic reports reference prices provide offer negotiate contract e-shop provider virtual market places processing The bank, in its role as a service integrator, provides access to the e-procurement systems through the business customer portal. The Web services providers support the sub-processes provide offer and negotiate contract of the selling companies as well as the sub-processes ing and closing of contract of the buying companies. Further support is provided by the bank s own services, services of affiliates, or other cooperating partners. The integration of all partners is implemented within the business customer portal. Details of the sub-process provide offer In to implement the concept of the customer-oriented business process model shown above each sub-process has to be identified in detail. The concept will be demonstrated exemplarily via the sub-process provide offer, which is part of the acquisition and sales process of the selling SMEs (Figure 3). Within this sub-process the offer for the product recipient has to be specified. The selling enterprise gets in contact with the e-procurement providers (public service) using the business customer portal of the bank (service integrator) in to present its range of products. At the same time, the seller has to specify conditions such as price, quality, payment, and delivery terms. During these steps the enterprise will be supported by the services of the business customer portal. payment conditions possible quality arguments for the customer customer ratings access to other portal users evaluation definition of quality arguments external quality inspector links to other, audited, local quality inspector links to chambers of commerce, etc. checklist for payment conditions information about cash discount agreements cash discount calculator fixing payment conditions methods of payment bank transfer, exchange, cheque letter of credit documentary credit bank guarantee information on bank guarantees quality surveys request of personal advice offer/ condition description closing of contract, etc. legal hints link to local tax and legal advisors information Figure 3 Activities of the sub-process provide offer (partial view) payment system information on letter of credits request for personal advice offer/conditions description closing of contract, etc. 73

9 Concerning pricing, the selling SME can receive support in the form of market surveys, industry reports, and reference prices of other selling enterprises (public services providers). Information about the variety of different offers in virtual market places can be helpful for defining competitive prices. When selecting an appropriate vendor the most important factor in addition to the price is often product quality. In this context, promotional activities aimed at communicating positive customer ratings and quality studies, or the use of external quality inspectors (public service), can be helpful. Moreover, bank guarantees or specific payment conditions can be arranged to support a compelling offer (bank as a service integrator). In most cases the delivery conditions are determined by inhouse information about the fleet and the packaging costs. That is why fleet and transport insurances are provided (shared services providers or exclusive services providers). If the company does not run an in-house fleet, the search for an appropriate carrier has to be supported (public service). If the offer involves exporting activities, the company can find information on documents concerning acceptance/payment options. Furthermore, the selling company is able to propose financing alternatives to the buying company in to facilitate the transaction (service integrator or exclusive services provider). Regarding financial services, the portal supports the entire customer buying cycle (CBC). The CBC is comprised of the following phases: animation (problem and demand analysis), evaluation (personal advice, transparent offer), acquisition (easy and fast closing), and after sales (problem solution). selling companies (acquisition and sales process) Citibank Bank of America Wachovia analyze target market Account management Overview Online services acquire customers Information reporting Receivables Payables Funds management Security and accountability Online business suite Account viewing Transaction reporting Online payments Transfers Online banking Online brokerage Foreign exchange Demos Evergreen connect k analyze clients requirement give product advice Quicken/Quick books Invoicing MerchantConnect.com Lending provide offer Self-service Easy online payroll Tax services Merchant reporting Discount program Frequently asked questions Retirement HR solutions Banking Insurance Investing Meeting your needs Resource center Customer service execute mailing bring to account accounts receivable sub-process processing negotiate contract processing Today: product-oriented Customer process-oriented Figure 4 - Transformation of banks towards customer-centric enterprises 74 - The journal of financial transformation

10 After putting all parts of the offer together, it is posted as a proposal in the e-procurement system and sent to the inquiring customer. If both sides are interested, the partners will proceed to the sub-process negotiate contract. Conclusion and a word of caution In recent years, massive cost reduction programs have been conducted by the banking industry. But long-term success cannot be achieved without the development of new business ideas, innovative products and services, and intensive focus on customer retention. To be successful in the segment of small and medium-sized enterprises banks have to provide products and services which effectively satisfy the needs of their SME clients. Problem solving, however, can only be successful if the critical customer processes have been identified. The model described above aims to design a customer-centric business process model. The model allows a bank to align its business processes closely with those of its customers (SMEs). Starting with the SME customers processes, the banks own processes can be developed. In collaboration with cooperating partners, the bank is able to cover and support the entire customer process and to develop a new spectrum of services which provide added value to its customers. The matching of customer and business processes leads to a new level of cooperation between SME clients and their banks. Furthermore, this approach helps banks to transition from product-oriented institutions to process-driven and customer-centric organizations. Nevertheless, the concept bears the risk that clients question the bank s competence in producing and delivering the offered value-added services. Moreover, insufficient service quality of cooperating partners may have a negative influence on the bank s image. Another critical aspect to be considered is that a customer only receives information which is delivered for a particular process step. Therefore, the customer is very dependent on the information obtained from the bank. The client s requirements can only be met if the bank identifies all possible needs of the customer, anticipates all sub-processes and single activities, and integrates them all into the portal. Unless such a complete integration occurs, the SME clients will not have the ability to follow their individual procedures within their own process structures. On the other hand, a customer-centric business process model provides a high level of convenience to SMEs through unlimited access to information, direct access to markets, and the provision of individualized, custom-made services. The main advantage of the model lies in the close link between the customer processes and the organizational units of the bank through the business customer portal. In this case the bank s processes are truly aligned with those of the SME clients. In addition, the high transparency, reduced transaction costs, and direct access to needed products and services contribute to increased customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. The implications for the bank and the cooperating partners are increased revenues and profits (through cross selling, commission fees, etc.). Certainly, the choice of acting as a service integrator depends on the strategic positioning of the respective bank. Yet, a number of large banks have built corporate client portals offering financial products and services as well as financial market information for their clients. When looking at these banks, we have to state that while these types of portals already reflect parts of the customer process they are still strictly product driven. As the examples of large U.S. banks show (Figure 4), the clients have to know exactly which product and services they require. The structure of the portal should be changed from being product-oriented to becoming customer process-oriented. There has been ongoing criticism that banks should focus much more on customer needs and produce more innovative services that create added value for their clients. The presented process model for banks and their SME clients offers the methodological basis for developing efficient support of customer processes and for improving customer 75

11 orientation. The model allows banks to integrate themselves into the processes of their customers. There are many steps involved in implementing such a customer-centric process model. The required products and services of the respective sub-process, as well as the related prices, need to be analyzed explicitly within a requirements, acceptance, and pricing study. Moreover, customer needs have to be analyzed and the desired process support has to be defined in detail. Finally, technical requirements and legal restrictions of the model have to be verified. References Appiah-Adu, K., and S. Singh, 1998, Customer orientation and performance: a study of SMEs, Management Decision, 36, Archer, N., and J. Gebauer, 2000, Managing in the context of the new electronic marketplace, Working Paper No. 447, DeGroote School of Business McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Behara, R. S., G. F. Fontenot, and A. B. Gresham, 2002, Customer process approach to building loyalty, Total Quality Management, 13, Binder, R. F., and R. Behnstedt, 2005, Firmenkundengeschäft: corporate treasury die neue perspektive, Die Bank, 8, Bolton, M., 2004, Customer centric business processing, International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 53, Caselli, S., 2005, Corporate banking strategies: products, markets and channels, in De Laurentis, G., ed., Strategy and organization of corporate banking, Springer, Berlin Chen, I. J., and K. Popovich, 2003, Understanding customer relationship management (CRM): people, process and technology, Business Process Management Journal, 9, Davenport, T., 1993, Process innovation: reengineering work through information technology, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Massachusetts Davydov, M. M., 2001, Corporate portals and e-business integration, McGraw-Hill: New York Edvardsson, B., 1997, Quality in new service development: key concepts and a frame of reference, International Journal of Production Economics, 52, Hammer, M., 2002, The agenda: what every business must do to dominate the decade, Crown Business, New York Hammer, M., and J. Champy, 1993, Reengineering the corporation: a manifesto for business revolution, Harper Business, New York Heinrich, B., 2002, Die konzeptionelle gestaltung des multichannel-vertriebs anhand von Kundenbedürfnissen, in Leist, S., and R. Winter, eds., Retail banking im informationszeitalter, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, New York Piller, F. T., and K. Möslein, 2002, From economies of scale towards economies of customer integration, Working Paper No. 31, Department of General and Industrial Management, Technical University Munich Tseng, M. M., and F. T. Piller, 2003, The customer centric enterprise, in Tseng, M. M., and F.T. Pillar, eds., The customer centric enterprise. Advances in mass customization and personalization, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York Vandermerwe, S., 2000, How increasing value to customers improve business results, MIT Sloan Management Review, 42, Winter, R., 2003, Modelle, techniken und werkzeuge im business engineering, in Österle, H., and R. Winter, eds., Business engineering: auf dem weg zum unternehmen des informationszeitalters, 2 nd ed., Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York 76 - The journal of financial transformation

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