Is a Skunk Works in your budget?

michael's picture

Hot topics in this season of strategic planning are efficiency, digital processes, and data management. Actually, these are the same hot topics as last year, the year before, and the year before that. To see results in these areas requires a commitment of resources including people and time which means money. Agile Banking suggests taking a giant baby step and committing to some type of Skunk Works project in 2018.

The term Skunk Works comes from Li'l Abner's moonshine factory and made more famous as the pseudonym for Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs that produced legendary aircraft designs like the U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, and stealth fighters like the F-22 Raptor and the F-117 Nighthawk.

Depending on the bank's priorities, you probably won't be designing advanced fighter planes, but with a Skunk Works project you too can shoot down some seemingly immortal bogies like:

  • eSignatures - every bank has at least one process that today "requires" a wet signature and tomorrow could easily be accomplished with an eSignature or digital acknowledgement. Think of the latency that can be eliminated, in addition to the labor savings from not having to scan the signed document(s), and the expense savings of not having to print the paper.
  • Intelligent capture - many banks still require loan assistants and CSRs to print (waste) barcode cover sheets before scanning documents or routing them to be scanned. Think of the accuracy increase when software is used to recognize and classify scanned documents, in addition to the paper printing costs save and the labor expense of manual classification.
  • Integration - a common source of inefficiency, errors, and rework is when information is rekeyed from one system to another. Agile Banking and ExactBid just issued a press release for an integration between OnBase and RIMS for appraisal document management. Think of the accuracy when the same data is shared and used throughout a process.
  • Reporting - it's no secret that banks produce a lot of reports nut not nearly as much insight. Taking a look at how information is collected, summarized, stored, and reported always yields improvements in quality and process, in addition to labor savings from eliminating manual data entry.
  • Exception Tracking - not many bankers are happy with their loan exception tracking process. The root cause is usually that the thing being tracked (e.g. financial statement, insurance policy) is not connected to the tracking and reporting system. A home run Skunk Works is reengineering your process to leverage your content management system so that when the thing is captured it immediately satisfies any exception.
  • A Skunk Works project can be quick, relatively inexpensive, and beneficial to overcoming inertia and put some momentum behind your digital transformation. Include a few dollars in your 2018 budget to step out and try something.

    If Agile Banking is involved, you'll be pleasantly surprised.