Monday, May 23, 2011

Drive employee motivation with data

How many of you remember a candy called Cracker Jack? You bought Cracker Jack because you wanted the caramel-coated popcorn. But you always got something extra -- the free prize inside.

That's kind of the experience one of our clients, SWBC, got. SWBC tracks insurance coverage against collateral such as houses and cars for financial institutions including banks, savings and loans, and credit unions. They have over 4 million policies to track.

They came to HardMetrics because they needed to improve client reporting and internal analysis and reporting. But after implementing HardMetrics Performance Manager, they got more than they bargained for.

They discovered that they could use it as a motivational tool too. SWBC uses the data from HardMertics Performance Manager to display the Company's forecast and goals to show if they're operating in green, red, or yellow territory. Now everyday, service center employees check to make sure they’re in the green. And if they’re not, then there's a little more pep in their step that day.

HardMetrics also played an analytical role in helping SWBC identify a transformational acquisition. They performed a multiple process analysis to compare their three OCR platforms using HardMetrics as the measurement platform and comparative litmus test. Its analysis helped SWBC acquire a new company.

We put together a case study drilling into each of the new functions SWBC uncovered in HardMetrics Performance Manager. You can keep reading to find out more, or download the jazzed up PDF.

What started as a search for a more sophisticated reporting solution results in SWBC deploying advanced operational analytics. Managing workflow, motivating employees, and even comparing performance across different operating platforms, occurs organically as a result of robust new analytical solutions.

The SWBC challenge:

  • Provide clear metrics to customers demonstrating performance against contractual service level objectives (Client Reporting).
  • Motivate service-center employees to meet service-level objectives (Internal Analysis and Reporting).
  • Crack the code: Move beyond cumbersome system queries and manual report generation from a stable but rigid mainframe computing platform to full automation with self service features.
  • Track insurance coverage on over 3 million auto loans and over 1 million mortgages for 300 financial institutions.
  • Determine which of the three deployed document processing platforms delivered the best performance against service-level objectives.

HardMetrics Performance Manager helps SWBC gain timely access and visibility into operational data while providing a robust and easy-to-navigate front-end application for both internal users and Web-based reporting to customers.

SWBC deploys HardMetrics as a secure, Web-based application and provides access to clients who can monitor performance against service-level objectives. Performance Dashboards are displayed in the company’s service center, serving as a significant motivator for employees. HardMetrics shines as an advanced analytics tool to evaluate document processing platforms, leading to a major acquisition that catalyzed a quantum leap in operational efficiency.

SWBC enhances transparency with HardMetrics

SWBC tracks insurance coverage against collateral such as houses and cars for financial institutions including banks, savings and loans, and credit unions. Today, the company’s portfolio includes over 3 million auto loans and over 1 million mortgages. Keeping track of all of the insurance policies protecting lenders in the case of accidents, theft, or natural disasters is a daunting task, and it is essential that gaps in coverage be identified and rectified as quickly as possible.

In addition, in its customer contracts SWBC guarantees performance against certain service-level objectives, promising to update the coverage database within 24 to 48 hours of receipt of a policy. But finding the right solution to report to clients, as well as to manage the business, was a challenge.

Jim Vitali, SWBC’s Senior Vice President, Service Center Operations, says: “Reporting to clients was always left on the cutting room floor when we allocated resources to IT projects. We were constantly running cumbersome queries against data housed in a mainframe. At an industry convention I heard
what HardMetrics had done for similar companies, and I was intrigued.”

Vitali continues: “In less than a week, HardMetrics implemented the solution that we needed and still use today. The platform has proven to be invaluable. They helped us communicate better with our clients and increase transparency. But we’ve also discovered that HardMetrics has value as an operational analytics solution that far exceeds the reporting challenge we were originally trying to solve.”

SWBC now custom brands the views delivered through HardMetrics. “We call it ServiceMetrics,” says Vitali. “We push our Dashboards and reports out to clients and then we offer them flexibility if there is something else they want to see, or a different format of report they need. HardMetrics has great client-facing applicability because of how we can easily customize it to the client’s view.”

SWBC also used HardMetrics as a motivational tool. Vitali continues: “We upload our operational data into HardMetrics, compare it to our forecast and goals, performance score it and display the results on a monitor that shows if we’re operating in green, red, or yellow territory. It really created a groundswell when we first implemented it, and now service center employees check every morning to make sure we’re in the green. If we’re not, then they hustle a bit more.”

In the analytics arena, SWBC operating managers can quickly see red flags, drill down to identify the customer that’s being impacted, and dig even further to find out what is causing the shortfall, or even who is responsible for it.

“I can go from a macro view to a micro view in a matter of clicks,” says Vitali. “And I can get all the way down to the specific documents that went over my service level, find out what financial institutions they belong to, who was responsible and what happened, and fix it immediately. I have my fingers into the business from a whole different perspective than if I was just depending on static system queries.”

HardMetrics also played an unexpected analytical role in helping SWBC identify a transformational acquisition. Optical character recognition is a significant operation at the company. When a borrower mails or faxes an insurance certificate, the name of the game is to get that new insurance information processed as quickly as possible.

SWBC wanted to compare processing times between three different platforms: A totally manual platform; a traditional template-based OCR platform; and a fourth generation, template-less integrated OCR system developed by a start-up company. The results were eye opening.

“We performed a multiple process analysis to compare the three OCR platforms using HardMetrics as our measurement platform and comparative litmus test. It was glaringly apparent that the fourth generation platform was much more efficient,” says Vitali. “With the analysis performed within HardMetrics we realized that we had to own the technology, and made the strategic decision to acquire the company that developed it. Before, I had 45 full-time employees working to process insurance on 2.5 million loans. Today, I’m processing insurance for over 3 million loans and I have 16 people -- about a third of what I had before -- and I am consistently operating within service level objectives."


Tel: 610-263-8000
E-mail: info@hardmetrics.com

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