McKinsey on the value of document automation

A recent McKinsey article entitled Document management: A hidden source of value [PDF] discusses how to improve certain simple document operations. However, it ignores the transformational opportunities afforded by addressing more complicated transactional document processes.

Document operations in financial services

McKinsey identifies financial services as one of the sectors for which managing “the flow of documents is an immense, complex, and critical task.” Exari’s banking and insurance customers would no doubt agree, given that documenting a deal often seems to involve mountains of paper. So, it’s no surprise McKinsey finds that a “typical global financial institution might spend 0.5 percent of its revenues on print and document services.”

Benefits identified

The article discusses how, by adopting an integrated document services strategy, a large unnamed insurance company saved €150M over 3 years. Other benefits identified were:

  • More effective branding – through standardized visual identity and language
  • Increased regulatory compliance – as a result of better document processes
  • Improved customer experience – from more individualized communications

Missed opportunity

Although the case study is equivocal, the €15M project apears to have focused on batch-produced documents; bills and marketing brochures were mentioned explicitly. And there is undoubtedly value in addressing batch production. However, in the financial services industry in particular, you can derive far greater and more enduring competitive advantage from fixing transactional document-based processes such as customer onboarding and renewals. For example:

  • Signing up a banking customer for a loan requires the production of proposals, application forms, cover letters, term sheets, credit requests, approval documents, finance agreements, security documents and government forms.
  • Underwriting a new insurance risk involves the production of quotes, slips, schedules, cover letters, policies, wordings, endorsements and renewals.

Using document assembly software to automate these high-labor, document-intensive processes, financial services companies are able to get more customers out of the market with faster turnaround times, better service and less risk. While not as easy as picking off invoice- and direct mail-related processes, this where the real value lies.

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