June 13, 2013

As noted in a previous article, the purpose behind the modernization of both the technology and the approach to innovation should be to provide all things needed to drive customer growth and retention while helping your institution drive efficiency ratios and improve management of resources. However, simply updating core technology won’t give your bank the complete transformation it needs. This change requires thinking beyond a core platform and into integrating complementary products that both maximize efficiency now and leave the door open for future innovation. Today’s core should have the ability to leverage existing technology investments by providing open connectivity between the core platform and existing third-party solutions.

A bank that has seen first-hand benefits from making additions to its core platform is Great Western Bank, a $9.1 billion institution headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D. With nearly 200 branches in seven states, Great Western has integrated more than a dozen complementary products into its Jack Henry Banking SilverLake System® core, including an enterprise content management (ECM) system with e-signature capabilities.

Cases like Great Western demonstrate the importance of looking at your core system as part of an overall strategy, not a stand-alone solution. As Great Western’s senior vice president of operations Tim Houdek recounts the bank’s reasoning and experience behind implementing ECM, you will see that introducing complementary products can offer innovative solutions now while positioning your bank to continue to make enhancements well into the future.

Why we added ECM to our core strategy At Great Western we were in the midst of acquiring a bank that had an imaging system and realized we should start leveraging one as well. Speed of implementation was very important, and though it put a lot of pressure on us and our core provider, we were able to cut the normal six to nine month implementation to only six weeks. Now you walk through certain departments and you don’t find any paper on the desks. You can physically see the culture shift.

It wasn’t rocket science for us to see the benefits of going from paper-based document management to ECM. During the decision process, the efficiency and cost savings benefits were pretty obvious, but we also viewed paper as risk. Some of the primary benefits included:

• Cost savings from purchasing less paper and toner

• Streamlined workflow that doesn’t include printing and preparing stacks of documents

• Efficiency increase in electronically tracking documents

• Fraud prevention by eliminating the risks associated with paper copies

However, we didn’t stop at ECM, as we added e-signature to further digitize operations and eliminate much of the otherwise necessary workflow associated with each process.

E-sign has taken our content management program one step further. ECM is not at its full potential if during an account opening you have to print out all of the documents that you digitally filled in, have the customer sign, then scan the whole package back into the system. Our new method allows staff to spend more time with customers and avoid unnecessary scanning.

To measure ECM success, we put the process to the test. The bank conducted a time and motion study with 600 personal bankers, pitting the updated e-signature process against the old method—opening a new account, printing the documents, receiving a signature and scanning documents back into the system. The result? We save more than $30,000 per month on this process alone.

Generally speaking, new technology is looked at somewhat skeptically by a bank’s internal team, but by demonstrating the clear cost and time savings to our bankers, they are seeing how it makes their lives easier. This is helping them move past the acceptance curve much faster. Overall culture shifts in a bank are easier when the benefits are obvious and immediate.

The added front-line savings from the culture shift to paperless operations has also led to another ROI —fewer bank employees. We can now avoid replacing staff after turnover, something that has allowed us to cut operations staff by nearly ten percent in the two years since implementing the system and save immensely in operating costs.

These immediate benefits of adding ECM to our core strategy are apparent, but we also love the flexibility for innovation that it and other complimentary products will give us going forward.

Patrick Koster is the JHABanking Solutions Specialist with Jack Henry Banking, a Division of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.

Tim Houdek is Senior Vice President of Operations for Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Great Western Bank.