CASE STUDY - Wachovia Improves Business Effectiveness with Enterprise Content Integration Solution
Commentary by Kay Harris, Senior Vice President, Information Technology, Manager of Workflow and Imaging Technologies; Randy Wilcox, Enterprise Content Management Architect; and Julia Condrey, Imaging Project Manager, Wachovia Corporation
An IBM Enterprise Content Integration solution has made it possible for Wachovia to provide its employees with the content they need to facilitate lending and brokerage processes.
Mergers and acquisitions have remained a key strategy for growth among banks in the United States, and certainly for Wachovia Corporation, the strategy has worked. The Charlotte, North Carolina–based diversified financial services company (www.wachovia.com) merged with First Union in 2001, and in the following year it acquired Prudential’s retail brokerage business. Today, following another merger with South Trust Corporation, Wachovia is the fourth largest financial services company in the United States.
Wachovia has grown from 21,000 employees in the year 2000 to more than 95,000 today. The bank offers a comprehensive menu of services, including wealth and capital management, corporate investment banking, retail and commercial loans, and retail brokerage operations.
For some of Wachovia’s business units, however, the mergers posed challenges to the bank’s ability to provide excellent customer service. Operations were siloed, and merged business units had their own CIOs, IT staff, and content repositories. Millions of scanned documents, checks, brokerage statements, signature cards, and legal documents were sequestered in isolated repositories. Large numbers of documents existed only as paper documents in rooms filled with filing cabinets. Employees could not access and view the content in real time, incorporate it into applications, and present it to customers on demand. Wachovia’s business units needed to quickly find a way to draw upon each other’s content stores.
Pioneers in Information Integration
The challenge varied by division. In Retail Loans, staff from the pre-merged Wachovia and First Union entities needed to access documents housed in disparate content repositories in order to issue new loans to customers. In Commercial Loans, the merged company had four different and geographically disconnected filing centers, each of which housed 50,000 to 60,000 documents. That meant there was no way for staff members to access the documents in order to service loans originating outside each individual filing center. Retail Brokerage employees needed to connect brokerage desktops to disconnected repositories to enable brokers and front-office personnel to access financial markets, client documentation, and monthly account customer statements.
This project went 100 percent better than we expected. Looking ahead, we hope to move imaging up earlier in our business process, and IBM WebSphere Information Integrator Content Edition will play a key role in enabling that.
–Julia Condrey, Imaging Project Manager, Wachovia Commercial Loan Services
Access and work with content stored in a disparate mix of content repositories following mergers
IBM offered a comprehensive, open solution that enabled the customer to leverage the widest variety of business information, from transactional data to unstructured content, as part of a common data model
Enterprise Content Integration solution, a single, bidirectional interface to all disparate content repositories within various departments across the merged organization
$2.3 million savings within two years for a 64 percent ROI; fiftyfold increase in numbers of requests for content, indicating that customers are being served better; $1 million savings for each additional business unit implementing WebSphere Information Integrator Content Edition solution; time to market for new information integration solution decreased with successive implementations
Beyond unifying their content sources, the business units needed easy-to-use, Web-based, self-service desktop applications that would enable employees to flexibly view and work with different content formats throughout the organization. The easier it was to access and leverage this content enterprisewide, the better Wachovia would be able to live up to its commitment as a customer-focused organization.
Choosing Market-Leading Content Integration Software
Recognizing the difficulties, the Workflow and Imaging Technologies (WIT) group decided to explore an enterprise approach to content integration that could be implemented incrementally. After researching the market for software that would integrate the widest range of content formats, from transactional data to unstructured content, WIT chose IBM WebSphere Information Integrator Content Edition (then known as Venetica’s VeniceBridge before it was acquired by IBM in October 2004). Using the enterprise content integration software, Wachovia created Content Access Services (CAS), a content integration platform that provides customer service, brokerage, and workflow applications with a single point of access.
For Retail Loans, this means having a single desktop application for the loan-servicing workforce, so staff from Wachovia and First Union can access each other’s legal documents.
Commercial Loans uses CAS to obtain access to self-service desktop applications that enable staff to access legal documents from a unified image repository. And Retail Brokerage connects its brokerage desktops to two other repositories so retail brokers and front-office personnel have access to financial market, client documentation, and monthly account customer statements. With these solutions, all three business units are more responsive to their employees and customers, building customer loyalty and enabling employees to focus on maximizing the value of each customer contact. Unrestricted by technology, the solution based on WebSphere Information Integrator Content Edition gives Wachovia business executives the ability to seamlessly integrate the content they need to enable powerful business applications and processes.
“With CAS, business executives are making their decisions based on what they need to do, not on whether or not we can hook up a new system,” comments Kay Harris, senior vice president, information technology, manager of workflow and imaging technologies, Wachovia Corporation.
Our Content Access Services layer opensup a whole new world for developers ofour business-critical information integrationsolutions.
—Randy Wilcox, Enterprise Content Management Architect, Wachovia Corporation
On-Demand Content Integration Enables Successful Merger
In the end, WIT demonstrated to Wachovia’s many business units that content integration can be accomplished cost effectively with an acceptable level of efficiency and performance for each implementation. Users do not need to know the origin of the information they request, and the loosely coupled, flexible architecture does not commit the company to any vendor’s software products. Says Randy Wilcox, enterprise content management architect, Wachovia, “Our Content Access Services layer opens up a whole new world for developers of our business-critical information integration solutions.”
CAS Delivers Productivity Gains, ROI, Improved Customer Service
Within a two-year period, CAS has saved Wachovia $2.3 million, for an impressive 64 percent return on its $1.4 million investment. Now that WIT has proved the worth of its CAS solution using IBM WebSphere Information Integrator Content Edition, other divisions within the bank have lined up to adopt the same solution. For each new implementation, Wachovia will save approximately $1 million. In the Commercial Loan department, moreover, requests for electronic documents have averaged more than 140,000 per month, 50 times more than the number of requests for physical documents prior to the new solution.
This increased usage of the bank’s legacy documents is translating into improved customer service. “Our number-one measurement is based on customer satisfaction,” says Julia Condrey, imaging project manager, Wachovia Corporation. “Wachovia loan servicing staff are using CAS and we are not getting any complaints. Our group has been extremely satisfied. The project went 100 percent better than we expected. Looking ahead, we hope to move imaging up earlier in our business process, and IBM WebSphere Information Integrator Content Edition will play a key role in enabling that.”
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Information in this case study is derived from “Wachovia’s CAS: Harnessing the Value of Multiple Content Repositories Across a Large Enterprise,” by The Gilbane Report and Content Technology Works.
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For more information on Wachovia, visit www.wachovia.com
This article originally appeared in the issue of .