For Credito Emiliano S.p.A. (Credem), keeping customers and employees satisfied is much more than a concept—it’s built into the Italian bank’s business. So much so that Credem has created its own term for its unique way of doing business: wellbanking.
The foundation for wellbanking rests on taking care of customers’ financial well-being with a range of services—from traditional banking to wealth management to loan insurance and more—and creating a healthy, happy, productive work environment for employees.
Innovation is core to the wellbanking philosophy. To that end, Credem started a digital transformation in 2013. Initially, individual departments automated their own small processes or parts of processes independently of each other.
“These automations were very valuable, but we felt we needed to play a bigger game,” says Mauro Torelli, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Credem. “We lacked visibility and understanding of processes and areas for improvement—legacy systems that needed to be modernized, people working on low-value-add tasks, non-standardized processes—and governance over business process stakeholders. We needed to deliver and measure optimization of processes at the right time for the right cost.”
Credem began exploring process mining tools that could provide an end-to-end view of processes and identify areas that could be optimized. The company also sought an IT solution that could manage the execution and automation of those processes.
Reduced the amount of time by 70% that employees spend processing loans
Saved approximately EUR 1.4 million by automating 91 processes
Credem chose the IBM® Process Mining* and IBM Cloud Pak® for Business Automation solutions to analyze and automate its internal processes, including backoffice processes and critical customer-service related processes such as credit checks. The aim was to create value, reducing costs and increasing efficiency, while enabling monitoring and control. Although the two solutions were selected independently, they were complementary from the start—in fact, today, IBM Process Mining is included as a foundational capability of IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation.
To deliver on its vision for creating exceptional customer and employee experiences, Credem established a group of IT and non-IT professionals to collaborate on an IT platform specializing in processes and automation, as well as a center of excellence called the Automation Center. The center brings together technical, process and banking expertise to develop integrated solutions based on key automation technologies and played a critical role in selecting and implementing the IBM automation solutions.
With IBM Process Mining, Credem can use existing data to identify bottlenecks in processes and areas where automation can deliver the most time- and cost-effective improvements. Credem can also use the solution to calculate the projected return on investment of using automation tools like IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation or robotic process automation (RPA).
Credem can apply the business automation workflow capability of IBM Cloud Pak for Automation to modernize and manage business processes running on multiple systems or legacy applications. The company also taps into IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation’s operational decision management capability to identify business rules on the banks’ various systems and to centralize management of rules across those systems from a single console.
For example, Credem used IBM Process Mining to identify areas that could be automated in its process for credit card checks and approvals for retail customers, and then applied the business automation workflow capability of IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation to shorten the approval time from four days to one and save approximately EUR 500,000 per year.
“Our short-term objective is to focus on automating manual, paper-based processes, tracking all activities and applying RPA as needed. The aim is to create value, freeing employees from repetitive tasks so they can focus on higher value activities,” says Francesco Ferrara, Automation Developer of Automation Center at Credem.
“In the long term, we hope to greatly increase our fully digital processes, integrating them with our bank architectures and IT procedures,” adds Luca Bonfatti, IT Processes and Automation Platform Manager at Credem. “In doing so, we can take advantage of the business automation workflow capability of IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation by linking to other tools and capabilities, like artificial intelligence. Fully integrating our business processes with the bank architecture will allow us to manage big data and use increasingly effective analytics with the support of the process mining capability.”
The solution was put to the test in 2020, when Credem experienced a 400% influx of loan applications. To handle the increased load, Credem needed a deep understanding of the loan application process. Using IBM Process Mining, the company was able to automatically map the loan process, identify bottlenecks—such as duplicate customer document requests within a single process or delays in attaining time-sensitive approvals—monitor process performance and predict case lead times and costs.
In the past, this type of analysis required IT support or internal interviews, potentially producing inaccuracies and incomplete information. The results revealed a high number of reworks that were negatively impacting lead times and identified the underlying redundancies. Ultimately Credem was able to reduce the time employees spent processing loans by 70%.
“Thanks to the use of IBM process mining and automation technologies, between 2019 and the first quarter of 2022 we implemented 91 automations resulting in savings of approximately EUR 1.4 million in internal and service costs,” says Stefano Bevivino, Competence Leader of Automation Center at Credem. Employees can more easily access data for forecasting and statistical analyses, check and monitor processes, trace decisional processes and centrally view data from various processes.
Bank customers experience faster approvals for loans and credit cards, fewer process-related errors and greater access to mobile banking. Environmental impact is also improved, with reduced paper use and less need for customer travel.
The time and money savings are tangible. For example, the bank automated the informational and sales functions of an internet banking campaign, resulting in EUR 180,000 savings per year. Previously, the sales organization handled the process manually on paper. Today, the process is run on a customer onboarding web platform with mobile technology supported by IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation to trace workflows and RPA to activate internet banking on legacy systems.
By automating the customer credit rating review process, the bank enabled customers to have continuous access to their credit accounts throughout the review process for an annual savings of EUR 140,000. And by streamlining the process for closing a bank account, Credem reduced the time to do so from 20 to 10 days.
As the bank moves forward in its automation journey, it is exploring taking further advantage of IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation features—empowering knowledge workers with RPA capabilities—as well as looking at AI and machine learning to fulfill its digital transformation vision.
“With the solution we have chosen, we will have a clear picture of our technology, understand which processes bring the greatest benefit, automate them with the right technology and use data generated through automation to create more defined processes,” says Torelli. “Doing so will result in more accurate monitoring to facilitate rapid decision making and speed up our digital transformation.”
*The client featured in this case study initially engaged with myInvenio, which began conducting business as IBM on August 1, 2021. The myInvenio product in this case study, myInvenio Process Mining, is now known as IBM Process Mining.
Credem (link resides outside of ibm.com) is a national private bank founded in 1910 and headquartered in Reggio Emilia, Italy. With more than one million customers, it is among the largest banks in Italy. Credem has a presence in 19 regions throughout the country and has more than 6,000 employees. The company places a high priority on providing personalized customer service using a multichannel approach.
To learn more about the IBM solutions featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner.
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