The Marketing Reengineering Mandate for Financial Services

Image-Blog-Study3aFinancial Services CMOs face challenges from multiple fronts. Non-traditional, ”born on the web” competitors are gaining market share, customer expectations are increasing, the regulatory environment keeps evolving and changing while budgets are shrinking year on year. Insights from the IBM Global C-suite Study “Stepping up to the challenge” show that CMOs feel increasingly under prepared for market and technology shifts – where four years ago, close to 30% felt prepared, that has now dropped to below 20%.   They must juggle all of the initiatives that the modern CMO owns – strong traditional marketing channels, digital marketing, build data-driven marketing competency, synthesize and act upon big data, develop personalized content – and all within a regulated industry. According to “Gartner for Marketing Leaders”, financial services companies spend an average of 10.6% of revenue on marketing – that’s counting staff and program spend. On average, about 25% of this budget is spent on digital initiatives. Most CMOs, however, have made limited progress towards executing key digital marketing strategies. Marketers need to ensure that they understand their target customer’s behavioral patterns and use the data to their advantage. One of IBM’s financial services clients had similar challenges. Marketing departments were working in silos across multiple business units – affinity marketing, alliance services, credit card, P&C, life, banking, investment management, among others, each with their own approach. IBM’s Managed Marketing Services helped the client centralize campaign planning and execution, standardize the roles and marketing processes, making it all faster, and with higher quality performance. They are now seeing dramatic results, including:

  • 30% increase in campaign tactic delivery per FTE
  • 50% decrease in cost per campaign tactic
  • 16% reduction in campaign cycle time

While digital transformation is at the top of the CMO agenda, most enterprise marketing organizations have a distributed structure. To take full advantage of marketing automation, they must first centralize and standardize work and reengineer how marketing is done. (Not unlike transformation of other business disciplines, experienced for example in the move to ERP systems). CMOs are quite accustomed to the notion of “outsourcing”, as this has always been the case with print and broadcast media buys, agency relationships and the like. Already, an estimated half of digital marketing activities are outsourced, often times to multiple providers within the same organization – an area of sub-optimization.  IBM can serve as a change agent to help clients to overcome the challenges in internal matrixed organizational structures, which are inhibiting collaboration across marketing, sales and customer functions. IBM has developed an approach for helping financial services institutions to reengineer the work of marketing with process rigor, IT expertise and marketing know how. We provide services around the new workloads at the intersection of marketing and IT, freeing up marketing departments to focus on the “what” not the “how”. The key components of IBM Managed Marketing Services are:IBM ManagedCMOs have three co-dependent choices to be made:

  1. Approach to analytics
  2. Technologies to facilitate the digitally engineered experience
  3. Future operating model

Digital transformation is analogous to the transformations other departments went through in their transition to ERP systems.   To be successful, the entire processes associated with marketing must be viewed holistically. The focus must shift to customer experience, detailing the specific vision for real-time, interactive engagement, the data requirements to set the strategic intent and the software tools to drive automation and standards. New operating models must be defined to get the work done in the most efficient and effective manner, standardizing work models globally and strategically centralizing selected processes. If this is not done, there is a risk of losing most of the value that marketing automation can deliver – detecting patterns, improving cross-selling and retention and ultimately realizing the vision of delivering the real-time, interactive experience across each customer touch point. IBM’s Managed Marketing Services is proven to help our clients successfully make this transition while freeing up 20-35% of their budget to go after new strategic initiatives.  Click here to know more. For more information about IBM Managed Marketing Services, write to me at .

An integrated consulting and business process operation powers finance transformation and business growth for Consumer Product CFOs

Growing internal and external challenges are forcing CFOs of leading Consumer Products (CP) companies to evaluate their current operating model and improve business performance.

An integrated consulting and business process operation powers finance transformation and business growth for Consumer Product CFOsCFOs need help across multiple fronts:

  • Improve working capital performance and cash flow position
  • Accelerate time to market, drive profitable growth and embrace direct-to-consumer sales channel
  • Collaborate across eco-systems to drive deeper collaboration with retailers & suppliers
  • Generate value from operation/customer data to compete with better business insights

Inability to address the above issues affects the growth potential of the enterprise and the ability to invest for the future.

An integrated consulting and business process outsourcing strategy powers finance transformation. It helps CFOs improve working capital performance by 25%, reduce daily sales outstanding by upto 60% and generate 35-50% cost savings. By combining cloud service delivery, digital services and embedded intelligence into source to pay, order to cash and record to report processes, CFOs are able to transform the operating model and drive business performance.

One finance function accelerates decision making and boost growth

Facing low top line revenues and an elevated cost structure, the world’s leading Consumer Products Company needed to make dramatic operational changes. IBM helped the client unify finance operation across 24 countries by standardizing business processes and systems and deploying a single ERP system. This approach helped the client transform into a more responsive, globally integrated enterprise with enhanced channels for faster decision making, continuous improvement and cost efficiency.

By deploying IBM ARCollect™ to manage order to cash process with cloud service delivery, the finance department is now able to access report, dashboard and dispute resolution cases via PDA’s and tablets. This has helped the client improve productivity and free up cash for other growth initiative. Click here to watch the client video.

Set-up the path for finance transformation

We help CP clients develop the path for finance transformation. We combine our deep consulting skills and knowledge with shared services operational expertise and know-how CFOs need to:

  1. Diagnose the problem: Conduct a rapid scan of your business process to analyze problems, identify and evaluate benefits of adopting industry best practices
  2. Set-up for success: Plan the finance transformation roadmap by bringing leading process, technology and tools to define and support change
  3. Deliver business outcome: Chart out the path to deliver business outcome aligned to client’s metrics to reduce bottom-line and grow revenue

Sign-up for the IBM Rapid Scan Assessment
by writing to me at
Click here to know more about IBM finance & administration services

Part 1 – Smarter accounts receivables collection strategy improves collection rate by more than 15% and reduce delinquency rate by 50%

IBM RapidScan AssessmentIs your collection operation benchmarking with the best in the industry?

Most organizations have been able to drive process efficiency and cost reduction by centralizing and/or outsourcing operation. But, significant gaps exist in achieving optimal process effectiveness. According to the CFO insights from the Global C-suite Study, Value Integrators consistently outperform. They excel in two key areas: finance efficiency and business insight. They are effective at integrating enterprise-wide information, continuously improving processes and develop talent that partner with the business to drive integrated planning and forecasting, scenario planning and predictive modeling capabilities.

Commonly observed gap in accounts receivables collection process is the limited use of technology and analytics for decisions making, leading to lost opportunities to generate more cash. Conventional accounts receivables collection strategy for most organizations is based on the following:

  • Execution focus, driven by cash collection targets
  • Customers and invoices with higher value of outstanding targeted
  • Dedicated collections practitioners aligned by customers
  • One size fits all approach from a frequency and communication channel perspective

Conventional methodology has numerous flaws

  • Collector’s discussion with customers is at overall balance level, potentially ignoring invoice level issues which might impact likelihood of payment
  • Significant volume of low value invoices is ignored. Neglect and lack of regular follow-up leads to delinquency and write-offs
  • High dependency on people as source of knowledge about customer is not institutionalized. Contact strategy is not standardized across collectors, adding a lot of subjectivity to the process and sub-optimal outcomes
  • High cost of managing collections process and customer dissatisfaction

A smarter collection strategy takes into account end to end collection process, generating insights from past customer behavior including payment pattern, claims, deductions and judging the credit risk associated at a customer level. The smarter strategy enable organizations to

  • Develop risk model at an invoice level which could be rolled up to a customer / segment level and enable organizations to assess overall credit risk, payment behavior and identify high risk customers
  • Collection contact strategy leverages inputs from risk models to design effective communication strategy including optimal channel and frequency required to maximize cash collections. The strategy also eliminates the individual bias in how a customer with an outstanding receivables should be managed
  • Periodic strategy refinement based on recent data not only enables short term reduction in delinquency rate, but also drives change in customer payment behavior
  • By using a combination of risk based prioritization and optimal communication strategy, organizations can drive increased effectiveness in collection process and reduce operation cost

Multiple IBM clients across industries and regions have been able to reduce accounts receivables delinquency rate and improve cash flow through smarter collection strategy.

Write to to conduct an IBM RapidScan Assessment. The assessment help you identify key opportunities, with recommendation for improvement by benchmarking your collection processes with the best in the industry.

Click here to know more about IBM business process outsourcing for Order to Cash

Are you one of the 71% moving your HR to the Cloud?

Do you feel like you’re hearing “cloud computing” and its synonym software-as-a-service nonstop these days? It’s not your imagination. It’s the 71 percent.

If you’re a CHRO, VP of Talent Acquisition or general HR buyer who hasn’t already migrated to the cloud or is seriously considering the option now, you may be surprised at how many organizations will most likely adopt cloud-based HR and how soon. According to a 2014 survey by Information Services Group (ISG), 71 percent of organizations will adopt cloud computing for HR – for example SAP SuccessFactors, Workday or Oracle Fusion — within two years. And based on what we’re seeing one year out from the ISG survey, that estimate may actually be higher.


Why is the ground shifting under our feet so fast?

There are many drivers for moving HR to the cloud (also known as HR business-process-as-a-service or BPaaS), including:

  • Business process transformation
  • Lower cost of ownership
  • Faster technology innovation (for example taking advantage of faster release cycles)
  • Ability to integrate mobility
  • Maximize ROI on implementation

How IBM can help 

Assuming your organization is one of the 71 percent in the ISG study, what’s your plan to benefit from the cloud? While there are multiple, obvious advantages, including greater cost effectiveness and business agility, moving to the cloud and maximizing ROI can be a complex endeavor that you don’t want to leave to chance. You must have a solid plan not only for migration and implementation, but for continuing to reap savings and maximize ROI well into the future as HR BPaaS needs and capabilities evolve. You’ll want seasoned HR services experts in your corner who can also help you up your game with other disruptive technologies that go hand-in-hand with cloud, including analytics, mobile and social capabilities that the business and your workforce will increasingly demand.  

The IBM HR Services for Cloud offering provides ongoing HR services to employees and managers on SaaS platforms including SuccessFactors, Workday and Oracle Fusion.

We do not replace the vendor who implemented your SaaS platform. Instead we enhance your long-term results, providing ongoing managed services to help you deliver the business outcomes your organization requires. For example we can show you how to use analytics-enabled insights to deliver operational efficiencies and enable a Smarter Workforce.

The IBM HR Services for Cloud solution is helping clients:

  • Maximize returns and insights from their HR SaaS investments
  • Reduce operational and administration costs
  • Improve employee and manager self-service
  • Make better informed HR decisions through expert analytic insights
  • Increase business agility
  • Improve deployment flexibility, scalability and committed outcomes
  • Enhance data security

No matter your industry, we can help you maximize the benefits of cloud. For example, we provide multiprocess HR services that include employee data management, payroll and learning administration services for a client’s 25,000 employees across 10 countries. Benefits that our clients in Consumer Goods, Automotive, Engineering and other industries are realizing include:

  • Experienced, scalable resources available on demand to assist with complex transactions and fluctuations in client support requirements
  • Lower costs of service with lower volumes than the traditional ERP model
  • Better business decisions for improved outcomes via analytics and reporting coupled with cost-effective compliance services, greater accountability, and general HR efficiencies

Need to see an example of what IBM can do? After strategizing a phased global rollout of Workday for a global beauty supplier, we’re now helping support the client’s day-to-day HR services needs in addition to assisting them with longer-term strategies to sustain their ROI and evaluate future capabilities the platform may offer. You can read the details here.

If you plan on joining the 71%, we can help. For more information on our HR Services for Cloud, contact us at We welcome your comments and questions below, too.

Transforming revenue cycle management can be simpler, faster and inexpensive

Embedding technology enablers, analytics and process improvement into revenue cycle processes improve the financial performance while reducing cost of RCM operations by as much as 30%-70%

The revenue cycle management (RCM) process for healthcare providers is complex, and inefficiencies exist across activities like insurance verification, billing, cash collections or denials management. With increase in co-pays, audits and scrutiny of claims, the inefficiencies of the process are beginning to eat into the profitability and financial well-being of several healthcare providers.

1110x464_Image Blog Chart 1_72dpiHaving reviewed healthcare clients’ payor denial data over five years, we found 40%-70% of issues exist around the front-end benefit verification and documentation processes. Another 20% is caused in the way the billing process is implemented and barely 10%-20% fall in post billing collections life-cycle.

1110x696_Image Blog Chart 2_UPDATED_72dpiChart 1: Reasons for claims denial

On the patient co-pay end, there are often two reasons that drive almost 80% of process inefficiencies. The first is the lack of understanding of the patient obligation early in the billing life-cycle and the other is the delay between the actual service delivery and the billing or reimbursement request. Patients are often puzzled when they receive their bills and since the actual date is far gone, the patient does not have a high motivation to address the billing immediately.

There is often a temptation to engage in a significant technology transformation project (aka, let’s get a new system) to address these issues. This may involve changing the core billing system and tightening the processes around the new system. Unfortunately, in a landscape of over 400 EHR vendors with limited end-to-end capabilities, only a few technology solutions can address most of the critical issues around RCM life-cycle. Despite the additional time needed to realize the benefit of technology transformation, the very dynamic nature of the industry (for example regulatory change, new innovation, adoption of new standards by payors) also increases the time to benefit. We often find that providers come out with a solution after 18 months which brings them from a five year gap to a two year gap but never closes in.

In our experience, an approach which adopts agile principles and focuses on incremental change within the current technology environment yield better results at half the cost and time duration. Here are some recommendations to make such changes happen.

Adopt workflow solution that knits the front-end activities with back-end operation

While most billing systems have rudimentary workflow capabilities, their primary purpose is to support billing transactions only. The limitations caused by the basic nature of the workflow which coordinate transaction between the insurance eligibility and pre-authorization, the post service document requirements and the billing process become stark, given the urgency of the front-end processes and the nature of requirements across the payor spectrum. A workflow that takes into consideration the various payor rules increases the first time billing accuracy.

Embed analytics tied to the overall process improvement life-cycle

Given the dynamic nature of the industry, we have found that what worked six months ago may not work today. A closer analysis of denial data will show that while aggregates continue to be fairly static, at a payor level, there is significant variance. It is important to link the changes that we see at a payor level to the front-end processes. Changes in payor behavior should be reflected in the way provider handle insurance eligibility documentation and approvals.

Readiness to experiment and innovate to drive efficiency benefits

Several innovations around RCM solution have become obsolete within few years. We see new models of electronic claims submission (ICD-10 etc), payor portals and patient portals witnessing fast paced of change. As seen in other industries, the model of a core billing platform tied to the provider’s EHR must remain constant, but everything else must be evaluated for efficacy, on an ongoing basis.

A model that builds upon continuous improvement with the above as the core agenda will lead to significant benefits and help provide “world-class” performance without incurring both high cost and long lead time.

IBM has combined several of its offerings in healthcare industry including strategy, consulting and outsourcing, business process modeling and smarter analytics to drive towards targeted business outcomes. Click here to understand how Animas (a division of J&J) used advanced analytics to accelerate revenue cycle management.

For more information on IBM Revenue Cycle Management services, meet Jay Raju at HIMSS 2015 Conference Booth #1425 and set-up an appointment. You can call Jay at 1-609-647-1474 or write to him at

Detecting fraud early in the life-cycle helps you reduce cost and avoid risk related losses

Fraud is a deliberate misrepresentation or deception intended for financial gain. Fraud is a criminal act. Abuse refers to similar action not proven to be criminal. Financial crimes include money laundering and cyber-crimes. The quantum of loss due to fraud and abuse is enormous.

Counter Fraud Images_370x464_SET BAccording to the 2014 Global Fraud Report, longer the fraud lasts within an organization, the more financial damage they tend to cause. Also fraud and financial crime carry substantial direct and hidden costs; including

  • Affects customer trust and loss of business
  • Causes reputational damage
  • Incurs costs associated with investigation
  • Impacts productivity

Fraud control measures are being overlooked by large number of organizations. However, when organizations take proactive fraud detection measures they are able to identify fraud and abuse much early and limit losses. The 2014 Global Fraud Report by Association of Certified Fraud Examiners study found that proactive data monitoring and analysis was used by only 35% of the victim organizations. It also found that presence of control measures made fraud cases 60% less costly and 50% shorter in duration.

Take steps to detect fraud early in the cycle. By deploying proactive measures to discover potential fraud and abuse, you can go a long way to reduce cost of operation and improve customer experience.

Fraud detection services such as IBM Counter Fraud Discovery Services is designed to help organization prevent and intercept new cases. The solution focuses on discovering fraud and abuse by retrospectively reviewing historical data, analyzing patterns and building watch lists to identify individuals or organizations that might be conducting such activities. It has proven accelerators; statistical and predictive models to identify suspicious and anomalous activity and help with the prioritization of investigations. Domain expertise and advanced analytics are combined to identify suspicious and anomalous transactions. Integrating these capabilities strengthen the operational processes to prevent unwanted transactions and route high risk transactions to client’s investigation team. Clients can now identify and process non-suspicious transactions much faster, aid operational cost reduction and exceed customer expectations. IBM clients have started on this journey by taking simple steps like sharing transactional data with us and receiving referrals with prioritized target list to initiate investigation.

Benefits realized by some of our clients:

  • Improved checks and controls helped a leading Telco organization identify 50 high risk cases, and initiate investigation of cases that represented approx. $700M in abuse
  • Embedded fraud analytics into transaction processing helped a global money-transfer company increase its ability to identify and interrupt potentially fraudulent transactions by 40%
  • Automated profile analysis technology helped a US based managed health care company reduce cycle time for identification and verification of questionable claims by 30% – 40%

Click here to know more about IBM Counter Fraud.

Sign-up for the one-day IBM Smarter Counter Fraud Workshop
by writing to

This is a structured, full-day workshop where our counter-fraud experts will engage with client team to gain better understanding about their business processes, functional maturity and gaps to detect and manage fraud. Clients get a good understanding about IBM capabilities, our success stories and industry best practices including latest insights from IBM Institute of Business Value on fraud and risk management.

How to address your workforce issues for holiday seasons and periods of peak demand

The shifting business landscape of today’s retail organizations is increasing the pressure on human resources professionals. As more customers flock to online shopping, in-store revenues are declining, forcing executives to re-evaluate and streamline store operations. The retail industry currently employs over 15 million individuals of whom approximately 53% are part-time store workers and 8% are first-line supervisors (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Hidden costs of turnover: Employee turnover within retail stores can be detrimental to a company. According to a recent study by Hay Group, turnover for part-time store workers is increasing and reached 67% in 2012, a 33% increase over 2011. Not only are there substantial costs associated with the recruiting of candidates and training of new hires, but absent or inexperienced employees can have a major impact on customer service and employee morale. This in turn can affect store sales and the bottom line. A study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council estimated that turnover for an $8/hour part-time worker costs $3,752 per worker.

Recruitment and retention within the retail industry is a costly and difficult problem and many organizations are striving to find new solutions. Several retailers are now relying on Recruitment Services to manage this process, specifically for their fluctuating or high-volume recruitment needs in stores.

There are several factors to consider when determining if this is the right solution for your company.

  • Fluctuations in hiring demand – Can your internal recruiting team achieve the hiring demands of your seasonal needs and store growth?
  • Lack of visibility & metrics – Do you have the capability to analyze metrics to make informed decisions and set your strategy?
  • High costs associated with hiring, training and turnover – Do you know all the costs associated with recruitment, training and turnover and what the impact is on your customer service and your bottom line?
  • Inconsistent process – Have you developed a process to create efficiencies in your hiring operations and lower your costs?
  • New hire quality – Is the level of quality within new hires affecting your customer service and employee morale?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, Recruitment Services might be a good option for your organization. You can overcome hiring challenges and attract and retain the right employees for your organization.

IBM’s Recruitment Services help retailers address hiring and workforce challenges in the following ways:


Whether you are looking for an end-to-end recruitment solution or services to address specific needs, IBM’s scalable recruitment services help retailers drive business outcomes. Examples of our customer successes include:

    • Reduced employee turnover by 50%
    • Reduced time-to-fill by 35%
    • Improved hiring manager satisfaction by 93%
    • Increased interview to hire ratio by 40%
    • Reduced cost per hire by 52%

For more information on our Recruitment Services or other areas of HR to help you build a Smarter Workforce, meet Jennifer  Aglira Welsh at NRF 2015  and set-up an appointment. You can call Jennifer at 610-457-9049 or write to her at