A Kofax solution stands at the center at the heart of the new Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM) Smart Center, enabling the bank to not only automate processes and improve productivity internally, but also increase the efficiency of services to its customers.

The Challenge

In line with many other companies in the financial services industry, BPM has launched a comprehensive industrial strategy that sees the centralization of processes and services as one of the leading vectors of growth, capable of reducing costs and streamlining operations. In line with this initiative, the BPM developed the Smart Center to provide an internal hub for all branch offices that receive the documentation required to support services and products from credit financing to insurance payments.

To implement this model, the bank revised many core business processes for managing paper documents. A centralized platform focused on dematerialization activities and based on Kofax solutions is a key component.

As part of several initiatives within BPM’s new process optimization plan, the automation strategy was launched following a pilot project focused on digitizing documents related to matured invoices and the provision of credit transfers. By leveraging the new Kofax platform, the bank was able to reduce transport times of documents by scanning hard copies and sending documents daily to its branches.

At the same time, the Smart Center team, responsible for managing the payment systems, centrally oversaw the work, directing all digitized data streams within the BPM IT environment.

The Kofax Solution

Following the pilot, the bank launched a new project extending the automation strategy to all other provisions. This included designing the technological solution to enable the entire process. BPM engineers identified Kofax as the best solution on the market, offering both capture capabilities and integration with core banking systems.

“We have integrated the Kofax platform within the capital inflows and outflows in order to set up a solution that can meet all of our needs for the automation of online points of sale,” said Roberto Barbieri, head of BPM’s Office of Payments and Collections.

Since the introduction of the Kofax solution, the dematerialization process has been almost completely automated. Smart Center operators work directly on the files captured and sent by the branches. Using Kofax Web Capture™, the web‑based tool designed to scan and view documents, Smart Center enables specific data capture rules designed to approve the correct classification of all recorded information. In fact, Kofax technology recognizes and stores data in the mainframe, identifying the fields set by the document classification.

“At that point, the document originating from the Smart Center is returned to the branch office for validation and the sums due can be credited within the same day,” Barbieri said. “We have managed to significantly streamline the operator’s mode of interaction, reducing the time needed to carry out manual activities.”

Previously, the approval process required returning the document to the branch office and then sending a hard copy, confirming the transaction was concluded.

The Results

According to Barbieri, the project objectives were achieved with very few problems.

“Depending on complexity, the processing times for crediting accounts was a minimum of four days,” he said. “Now 94% of invoices will be processed in two days and 73% of the total
matured invoices will be completed on the first day.”

“Thanks to the new model, we have been able to retrain staff in using the new tools and in the management of this type of work, relying on any device with a browser,” said Barbieri. “In time, the internal direction will allow us to maintain our level of service regardless of peaks. Moreover, in the event of any emergency, it will enable us to manage flows, in terms of cost.”

An example of this is determining what processes to perform internally and which should be outsourced. The benefits of operational control over centralized management priorities, however, have been proven on a daily basis, with the option to give priority to documents in maturity.

“We have solved urgent situations which involved clearing matured invoices, in under an hour,” Barbieri said. “Having control over which documents are to be tracked and the certainty of processing times allows us unprecedented speed in providing service to our customers.” Thanks to Kofax, BPM will be launching new and exciting initiatives in the near future.

“We will extend the dematerialization project to other core businesses, such as the F23 and F24 forms, customer utility bills and other various bank processes,” said Barbieri, “to further reduce operating costs, minimize manual processes and increase the total efficiency of branches and of our Smart Center.”

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