Deutsche Bank Takes the Customer Experience to the Next Level with BPM: An Interview with Abhijit Gupta

Abhijit Gupta

With an eye towards growth and value creation, financial services firms have looked for ways to streamline and integrate business processes in order to enhance their operations. Most of these firms recognize that making internal processes more efficient will result in driving a better experience for clients. Deutsche Bank has specifically leveraged Business Process Management (BPM) to produce this desired outcome.

In this PexNetwork interview, Abhijit Gupta, the head of Client Access and Trade Financial Application Services in Global Banking IT at Deutsche Bank , talks about how his division has used a BPM approach to improve the client onboarding experience.

Please tell us a bit about Deutsche Bank’s BPM program – why did you instigate it and how did the organization determine the program would be capable of taking the client experience to the next level?

We adopted a BPM approach because we recognize the importance of differentiating ourselves and maintaining a competitive edge in the market place. We’ve always been very focused on product innovation, but new products that are launched to market quickly become commodities over time as other similar products are introduced by competitors. This is why we are also focused on process innovation. It’s no longer good enough to just innovate around product development alone, and at Deutsche Bank we also continuously strive to innovate in the way we service our products and service our clients to ensure we can deliver the optimum client experience. BPM allows us to improve efficiencies and have greater visibility into existing processes amongst other benefits, which all in turn enhance and simplify not only our internal processes but the client experience to boot.

We’ve taken a slightly different approach with BPM in Global Banking IT. Rather than develop a massive BPM program, we have instead identified the business case for specific programs and adopted BPM methodologies and principles to suit the need.

For example, our Client Onboarding program links six projects of reengineering processes and workflows, the complete renovation of legal documentation and the migration and roll-out of IT workflow software. Even in its early days of delivery, the Client Onboarding program has already demonstrated an improved client experience by means of cycle time reduction, transparency and control of decision workflows, and service centralization leading to service quality standardization and excellence. We believe that BPM enables us to find the correct symbiosis between enhanced IT applications and streamlined processes and workflows in order to improve the client experience.

How did Deutsche Bank go about setting up a structure to support the Client Onboarding initiative? What key business elements needed to be in place in order to ensure the success of the deployment?

Very early on in the program initiation, our senior business operations and IT executives collectively decided to create a joint program structure between the three units — Business, Operations and IT — with joint program directors and a single steering committee.

A BPM program designed to offer an improved and simplified experience for both our people and for our clients is always going to be complex in its delivery, but the success with the Client Onboarding program structure has been clear. It’s enjoyed a good delivery record because all of the stakeholders across business, operations and IT have been clear on their roles and responsibilities and could act them out transparently. This has enabled faster and more holistic decision making, but other elements of the structure have been just as effective in ensuring successful deployment; for instance, the consolidated effort in change management and employee training and the early engagement of all stakeholders through a committee. A process and IT blueprint was also developed and revalidated against the business objectives, which is now used as the basis for further enhancing the onboarding experience.


How do you see SOA as a key enabler of the agility that BPM promises but sometimes fails to deliver?

We use BPM in conjunction with SOA in our business. In our Client Onboarding program, we used BPM to redefine the process flexibility and agility while at the same time using SOA to execute the workflow automation and services connecting to the existing IT software. SOA and BPM work hand in hand in my view — SOA services are intended to be reused, but have no knowledge of the business context, which is provided instead by processes enabled by BPM. They can each work in isolation to a certain extent, but to get the maximum benefit of enhanced agility, it is important to leverage their strengths collectively.

What has been the greatest benefit to the client experience from the Client Onboarding program?

The BPM has provided a consistent process model to end users across the globe. Through careful and structured process modeling and the subsequent process mapping, a high level of process harmonization was made possible across the various regions and countries. We’ve seen many benefits from this exercise including a 20 percent increase in productivity and improved cycle time in the Onboarding spectrum of activities, all of which we are now able to measure month on month. For our people, the processes have become more defined and less complex, enabling them to work more quickly and effectively in servicing clients. Our clients have also verified the benefits, citing that our documentation is now much improved.

How will Deutsche Bank continue to mature its BPM program to continue to drive a better client experience?

Within Global Banking IT, we are learning along the process through every program. We are constantly looking at replicating the success elements from this program into all of our similar complex programs. This includes having the right governance structure, having a process and enabling its software blueprint, change management and so forth. At the same time, we also see the need to quickly enhance and strengthen our expertise on BPM methodologies and SOA designing and execution capability across our business. We are currently working to make this happen at the organization level, and not just on a program by program basis as it’s driven through our Enterprise Architecture function.