Business process management
Covered for business growth
In order to align IT with business objectives and offer better
customer service levels, HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited deployed
enterprise content management and business process management solutions across
the organization. Here's how it made a difference. by Soutiman Das Gupta
HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company
Limited, one of the first private life insurance companies in India, was formed
in 2000, and had a number of business needs. It wanted to evolve customer-centric
processes and use superior customer service to differentiate its brand from
The company knew it had to make strategic
use of IT, and align it with the business objectives in order to fulfil these
needs. In October 2003, it deployed a digitized workflow solution comprising
an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution from FileNet, and a Business
Process Management (BPM) solution from Staffware, to achieve these objectives.
The solutions have allowed the organization
to share and access business-specific content and information, and automate
and streamline processing of new business. These benefits will make it simpler
for the company to handle growth from its existing 55 nationwide branches to
50 new ones, over the next few months.
The customer at the center
Anything we do has to be in the
customer's interest. As soon as a customer applies for a policy, we want to
ensure that the application is processed quickly and the cover begins as soon
as possible. And when the customer requests copies of the policies or premium
recipts, and wants to add or change anything in the profile, the requests should
be processed with minimum delay, explained Sunil Rawlani- Head Information
System & Technology, at the company.
And these goals formed the basis of
the insurance company's business objectives in which IT played a very strategic
role. Technology had to be utilized across the enterprise's business processes,
and the solutions had to be scalable.
There had to be a synergy across the
various business systems and the systems needed to be flexible in order to change
according to the current business environment. And at the crux of it, IT investments
had to impact the bottomline and produce ROI.
Company IT strategy
HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited's IT and business
strategy allows a lot of scope for the organization to invest and deploy IT
infrastructure to further business.
We believe that we must align current IT efforts
to the future business roadmap. We must create a forward-looking technology
strategy so that we are protected from technology obsolescence for at least
five years, said Rawlani.
The company aims to:
- Identify and implement solutions to increase the speed of issuing a policy
and claims processing.
- Leverage telecom, networking, and IT to create a virtual workplace.
- Not utilize technology for the sake of 'technology adoption'.
- Develop Knowledge Management capability.
We also believe that IT must understand the business,
work within business norms, and should be intrinsic to business, said
The business of insurance relies a
lot on paper-based documents and reports. But such a practice has a lot of inefficiencies.
The inefficiencies of a paper-based system is that you have 'paper-travel
time' and the associated costs of paper-based workflow, said Rawlani.
In a non-automated environment, a customer's
essential documents for application of an insurance policy are collected and
kept in a file. The file is circulated to the various departments and offices
for processing. The biggest disadvantage is that, as long as the file is at
one desk, personnel at other offices and departments cannot access them. This
causes delay in processing. And making multiple photocopies of the same document
To add to this, if a document has
to be recalled or added, the process of retrieval of documents is time
Enterprise Content Management
HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited deployed FileNet's
suite of ECM solutions.
With the help of the ECM solution, as soon as a customer's
file arrives, it goes into a document management center. The documents are electronically
scanned, digitized, and indexed. The physical file now goes into a permanent
storage archive never to be pulled out again, unless there's dispute in a court
of law. All the information is now available as a link on a user's desktop,
Two departments can work on the same document at the same
time from different locations. Internal users are given access rights only to
those customer documents specific to their department or function.
This is not entirely possible in a manual system, and protects
the privacy of a customer. The insurance company has thus made policies of archival,
retention, and access rights of documents.
Rawlani has also created a Web interface, which allows
a user to search for the relevant information from any location.
Just like any other business, the insurance business has
specific processes. And every insurance company has a particular workflow. The
idea is to use a software solution to effectively manage the business processes,
and incorporate people, systems, and partners.
HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited expected the
following benefits from the BPM suite:
- Process standardization
- Process control
- Increased human value addition
- Productivity measurement
- Complete tracking mechanism
The company evaluated a number of vendor
offerings and decided to use Staffware Process Suite (SPS) version 9.0.
Both ECN and BPM solutions run on Wintel-based
servers and use FAS boxes from Network Appliance for storage. Leased lines,
broadband, and VPN links are used to connect the various nationwide offices.
HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company
Limited had already deployed a basic workflow-related application like Lotus
Notes. But the use of BPM allowed it do much more.
We created a virtual assembly
line of processes, like in a car factory. These processes can take a different
shape based on the customers' needs. And we can monitor in real-time, like an
online MIS, the status of each case. We know which new new business case is
from which branch, for which product, and its status. There also is a detailed
workflow diagram of the processes within each department, explained Rawlani.
Processes across all locations are
now standard with the use of the software. This is especially important since
the organization will grow. Rawlani said, We have determined the best
way of performing the jobs, and that knowledge will now be available at every
point in the organization.
And this consequently allows better
control over processes and better means of tracking processes because the company
is able to identify the points in the processes, which have bottlenecks.
It will become easier to measure productivity
of individuals. The HR team can rotate job functions and get optimum output
from personnel. This enriches human resource value in the organization.
The combined use of the two applications, ECM and BPM,
allow business-related functions to be carried out more efficiently, and passes
on the value to the customer. When our organization makes better profit,
we can pass it on to out customers in the form of bonuses in every policy,
Since the content and business processes have been digitized,
the company can take initiatives towards Disaster Recovery (DR). If one
office breaks down, another office in a different location can continue with
the work since the content and processes are in place, said Rawlani.
No technology product comes without problems. What
makes a difference is the way in which you deal with it. Deploying the ECM and
BCP solutions was not much of a technology challenge. It was more of an application
challenge. We were able to deal with it because the business was clear about
how to derive the benefit from technology, right from the beginning, said
Rawlani. However, the local vendor support and expertise had scope to
be better, he added.
HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited had to manage
a culture change due to the shift from paper-based processing to digital images-based
There were minor issues with cache management of the IIS
Web server, migration of scanned images to FileNet, and the scanning of medical
documents. Medical documents like ECGs and CTMTs were unclear, had odd formats
and shapes, and came in varied sizes, colors, and thickness. These issues were
solved by the support provided by the vendor.
A BPM implementation team comprising business users of
the organization was created to focus on the implementation of the solutions.
A month's time was allowed for the solution to stabilize and perform properly.
Along with growth of 55 new nationwide branches the company
plans to link its external partners systems with its own.
ECM will now be used to digitize the documents needed for
the company's internal purposes. With the use of a reasonable encryption methodology,
this information can also be used for paper-less internal and statutory audits.
HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited aims to spread
the reach of ECM to every branch so that the data capture and indexing takes
place at the local branch. And the digitized information is sent to the Head
Office (HO). This reduces customer turnaround time since the forms do not have
to be couriered to the HO.
Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
|<In a nutshell>
HDFC Standard Life Insurance
Company Limited, was formed in 2000, and has 55 nationwide branches. The
company experiences quick business growth and hopes to deploy 50 new branches
in the next few months.
The company wanted to evolve
its customer-centric processes and use superior customer service to differentiate
its brand from the others. It wanted to use IT as a strategic tool to
achieve its business objectives.
It deployed an Enterprise
Content Management from FileNet and a Business Process Management solution
from Staffware across the organization.
The company can now scan,
index, and store all relevant customer documents. Business processes are
standardized, there is better process control, and increased human value