– 2017 is an anniversary year for the bank. How did the activity of the organization begin and where it is now?
– Pavel Yefremov: Briefly, in 1957, the State Bank Branch No. 25384 opened; it was included in the Industrial Construction Bank of USSR after the reorganization of the banking system, during the Reformation period; in the 90s, the “Commercial Neyva Bank” (ComNeyvabank) JSC was established, while the entire operation of the bank was associated with the city of Novouralsk and with the Chemical Combine. When ComNeyvabank stopped providing services to the defense enterprise, hard times began. Only in 2009, when the new management team came, the bank started from a blank slate: with a modern name and headquarters in Yekaterinburg. Now we have 12 offices: in Nizhniy Tagil, Chelyabinsk, Magnitogorsk, Perm, and other cities.
The bank has a hierarchical organizational structure. We regularly hold meetings with heads of bank branch offices. We provide services to private individuals (deposits, loans, currency exchange, safety deposit boxes) and to businesses (cash management services, loans, payroll card programs, deposits, and bills). Neyva is one of the best banks on the currency exchange market. We have about 35 thousand private individual clients and 15 thousand business clients. Most of them are in the cities, where we have offices. Online banking is not our niche.
– What development strategy does the bank have?
– Pavel Yefremov: We do not plan on making any global changes to the operation since we believe that we have already established a successful bank model. At most, we will scale it to other territories, open new branch offices.
Of course, we want to gain profit. We are willing to work in the directions that bring stable income and do not put our clients and shareholders at risk. The bank does not get involved with anything “exotic” and places money in reliable Russian issuers, such as Gazprom and Rosneft, and actively participates in transactions on the interbank market. We have a good liquidity cushion.
A while back, the shareholders stated an opinion: banking is not a one-day business. The main goal of the management is to ensure that Neyva works for many years and has reserve assets that constantly gain profit. We try not to get involved in dubious projects to earn an extra cent since there is a risk to lose a dollar. The bank conducts business in a rather reserved and balanced manner, tries to solve most issues without bureaucratic delays and develops by improving internal processes.
– How did you come to process management?
– Pavel Yefremov: Along with the management team in 2009 came a new ABS (automated banking system), online bank for corporate clients, and the idea to implement electronic document management (EDM). The management was trying to make the bank high-tech, instead of working with calculators. In 2010, we started using ELMA.
– What were the criteria for selecting a system?
– Pavel Yefremov: First, maximum functionality. It was important that the tool worked in a web-browser and was based on open-source components, since the user IT infrastructure in the bank was assorted: some of the employees worked in Windows, and some in Linux. At that time, most solutions for process automation had to be installed on a computer, and ELMA brought a fresh take to the market and introduced a tool that you work with in your browser.
– Artur Novruzov, Head of IT Department: Another important aspect: in 2009–2010, BPMS and EDM existed separately in Russia. Again, ELMA, seeing what happens, decided to develop EDM based on BPMS. Back then it looked like a hybrid, but now we understand, that a BPMN engine largely expands the usage of the tool.
We were a bit concerned with the lack of knowledge and how the system will “fit” the banking processes, but we decided to take the risk. On top of that, similar western tools cost like a Lamborghini, and the price was one of the main criteria.
– What was the implementation like?
– Pavel Yefremov: It was sort of an experiment for us and for the ELMA team.
Together with the colleagues we implemented numerous custom (centralized client database, loan conveyor, integration with ABS) and standard solutions, for example, management of memos, administrative orders, bills and contracts. After that we stopped expanding functions.
ELMA existed separately in the IT structure. The productivity and stability of the system gradually increased and the employees became accustomed to it. Recently we updated to version 3.9, and moved a part of the document archive there.
– What processes have you already configured in the new version?
– Artur Novruzov: We have optimized display, registration and routing processes of documents, integrated ELMA with the bank’s accounting system, improved interfaces and user task forms.
Today we have about 40 automated processes, including management of incoming and outgoing email, contracts, agreements and personnel documents. We have units for preparing bank statements, organizing and managing information resources of the bank.
We are thinking how we could use ELMA to automate electronic storage of unstructured document scans (client cases). Now it is quite inconvenient to manage them: there is no versioning and no search. We may implement CRM in the future. BPM technology allows implementing any processes.
– How did you train your employees to work in the new version? Were there any difficulties?
– Pavel Yefremov: No. ELMA is a user-friendly system, everyone got used to it. The update was successful. The fact that the employees figured out the changed processes without any manuals proves it. When updating to a newer version, we assigned an employee, who sorted all the inquiries and suggestions on changing processes. After that, when the employees got accustomed, all the proposals were welcome. There are many of them now, we are implementing some.
Moreover, ELMA features a business process improvement mechanism. The system gathers statistics on processes and suggests improvement options. Very useful. Thus, at the moment 12 processes are being developed and 5-6 – optimized.
For example, we have a process for managing access to information systems. Technologically, it is correct but quite complicated for a user: select one of the flows when starting the process, strictly follow a certain sequence of actions. We decided to optimize this process, make it simpler.
– Do you plan to link up more users?
– Artur Novruzov: We are starting to think about acquiring more licenses (licenses are named). As you know, one should take the extensive path once the intensive has reached its limit, but for now, we have potential.
– What advice can you give to those who think of business processes implementation in their company?
– Pavel Yefremov: I think they should start with understanding how can the system benefit the business. We realized, that ELMA makes processes more transparent: after the implementation, we were able to see the status of each task, who is responsible, and what result is expected. The system ensures schedule compliance. Often a manager demands something of their employees and does not acknowledge their own mistakes. ELMA makes it fair for everyone. In this respect, we have an idea to add automatic approval feature to some processes.
I had a friend at the university. When he came to the front to answer on mathematical analysis classes, he used to stare at the blackboard. He made an impression, that he was solving a problem in his mind. The professor would say to him “Nikolai, what are you doing? Do not think, solve”. I had the same question: “What to think about?”. Just take on processes, keep up with the development of technology. When you analyze business processes, you learn much about your company. The benefits of it are proven by decades.