Clayton Holdings, which provides risk analysis, loss mitigation and operational solutions to the mortgage industry, have been using Appian’s SaaS solution, Appian Anywhere, for more than a year, and John Cowles from Clayton was here to tell us about their experiences. They have 135 users over 3 business units, with another business unit coming online soon, kicking off 40,000 process instances per month across 50 different process models. They’re doing all of the build and maintenance with 2 primary resources; considering that their first roll-out only took about six weeks, they’re doing a lot quickly without a lot of resources.
They had a number of business challenges, many of them triggered by the meltdown of their financial/mortgage client base that reduced the amount of work that they had and called for tighter controls. They didn’t have a lot of visibility into their processes and metrics, and many of their key processes were manual; typical training time for the business processes was about six months, yet they had a high attrition rate that meant that people were leaving just as they became capable at the processes. With little internal IT bandwidth and slashed budgets, they decided on a SaaS solution to allow them to try out BPM without a lot of up-front costs or IT efforts.
They had some specific goals for their BPM implementation, particularly around having process visibility (and auditability) and reducing training time, plus reducing process variability by making decisions based on metrics. Their initial project team was the EVP of business operations, about eight subject matter experts, two process efficiency team members and one business analyst.
They do monthly releases with new or modified process models or UI enhancements; most processes are kicked off using web service calls driven by exceptions from Clayton’s internal systems, although they don’t integrate from Appian process instances back to the internal systems. Users can also instantiate processes manually from their dashboard as required, but most are created from the nightly batch of web service calls.
They see Appian Anywhere as a platform for building applications, and hope to replace some of their traditional development with assembly of components into applications using Appian.
Some of their benefits: 38% less headcount in spite of an increased workload to manage delinquencies, 100% more average value adds (e.g., where they detect a previously-overlooked revenue opportunity for their customers such as a penalty payment) per FTE, and the ability to shift the workload to geographic areas with lower costs because it’s all in the cloud. They have much better process monitoring, including reporting on their key metrics, and because of that have identified other process improvement opportunities.
Their lessons learned and best practices:
- Focus on change management and process management early
- Find net promoters and over-communicate rather than under-communicate
- Limited or no system integration in first releases
- Prototype everything
- Frequent releases, e.g., monthly
- Challenge the desire to simple push current variability into the new tool, i.e., don’t just pave the cowpaths
- Emphasize the reporting desires up front since it influences design
- Resist temptation to start at detailed level of a process
In the future, they plan to bring in another business unit and focus on integrating Appian with internal systems in order to reduce manual rekeying of data between systems. They’re also going to look at some internal process, such as HR and Legal.