Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank is a subsidiary of Alliance & Leicester plc, one of the United Kingdom's major financial institutions that provides banking for businesses of all sizes. Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank is also a specialist provider of leasing, rental purchase and other finance products to sectors such as public bodies, bus and coach operators, the haulage industry and large fleet operators.

Accenture was engaged by Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank in June 2004 to undertake a strategic review of their operational infrastructure with the aim of significantly reducing their cost base. One of the key recommendations was to implement an image and workflow solution to manage the front- and back-office processing.

This recommendation also supported the bank's strategy to improve service for customers in its business-banking segment, which covers a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises and charity-sector customers.

But improving customer service and reducing costs required transforming the bank's paper-based customer query process, which relied heavily on manual processes. The previous system hampered the bank's ability to quickly respond to customers due to the many paper hand offs from the contact center to the back-office functions. This was further compounded by the extensive reliance on microfilm for document storage and retrieval.

In early 2005, Alliance & Leicester decided to implement an automated case management solution based on FileNet, an enterprise content management system that incorporates high-volume image management and business process management.

Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank came to Accenture to implement the new image and workflow capabilities. Accenture oversaw all aspects of the implementation, including the FileNet image repository, volume management, scan, fax and workflow components and subsequent integration with Thunderhead, a centralized print capability. Working collaboratively with both Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank and FileNet, we broke down the implementation into two major phases: the installation of the underlying image and workflow infrastructure by the summer of 2006, followed by the addition of extended case management and workflow capabilities by March 2007.

The challenging implementation required skilled coordination among various parties, including Accenture's Financial Services and Accenture Information Management Services professionals who collaborated with the bank's technology group and FileNet.

Following the launch of its imaging and workflow solution, Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank achieved immediate content management benefits as follows:

  • The digitization of all inbound "direct" customer correspondence (1,500 documents and 300 faxes per day);
  • Shared visibility of customer inquiries across all areas of customer services with access to the new system;
  • Immediate access to check-processing transactions and associated images (600,000 items per day);
  • Automatic letter (fax and paper) generation (650 per day); and
  • Automation of processes within banking back-office functions.

Customer service has undergone an equally dramatic transformation: a "one touch" process enables a rapid response to the vast majority of inquiries through a mixture of scripted and unscripted workflows. This has been achieved through better alignment of telephony systems, paper-based operations and back-office functions across the contact center, which has about 50 customer-facing staff and more than 100 staff in total.
While the bank has improved both productivity and customer satisfaction, it has also reduced costs by automating processes, eliminating the need for microfilm and significantly reduced the need for document storage. With Accenture's help, Alliance & Leicester is on the path to achieving high performance in direct banking for small businesses. 

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