Building a KYC managed service utility

Helping a leading Information Services company gain first mover advantage.

Part 1: Getting to launch

Our client’s challenge:

Our client had an ambitious objective – to launch a KYC managed service utility within 12 months and ahead of the rest of the market. This meant rapidly designing and implementing the business processes, developing the supporting technology and building a team and infrastructure capable of operating in a complex global regulatory environment. This created a number of key challenges for our client:
  • Finding the right approach to move quickly and focus on the right things
  • Rapidly incorporating the perspective of a wide group of stakeholders
  • Capturing the information in a way that enabled easy feedback and regular iteration
  • Doing all of the above in a heavily regulated environment

How we helped them:

Launching a service into a new market that will transform how Financial Institutions and Corporates fulfil their KYC obligations is as challenging as it is exciting. There is no template for how things should work, thousands of ideas for how they could, and a need to capitalise by getting to market as quickly as possible. The Smart Tips Agile Methodology is a perfect fit for these complex situations. It drives a focus on the things that matter most – not all of the variations that so often get more attention than they warrant. When it came to rapidly building the service with our client this focus was vital. Collectively defining and prioritising business scenarios created a clear and agreed understanding of what the team was aiming for, presented in everyday language that made sense to everyone from technology to operations to policy. It also established a baseline for what the first iteration of the service would (and just as importantly, would not) offer. It was from these scenarios that we mapped the processes that underpin the service and meet the global regulatory requirements. By using BusinessOptix as our single interactive business modelling tool we were able to readily share the processes online as they were being developed, with both members of our clients team and their potential clients. This significantly sped up the feedback loop and made sure everyone’s knowledge and expertise could be incorporated into the end product.

The outcome:

Within 6 months, our client had the first iteration of the service live for their internal client. Within 9 months the first proof of service was run with an external client. Within 12 months, the service was launched for the market. Our client was the first to launch a KYC utility with a broader offering than many competitors were even trying to achieve. One of our key stakeholders said: “Smart Tips were brought in to support our operations team with the design of the business processes and soon became a key contributor during the launch and followed by the scaling of the service. Their history of working with us and their deep process knowledge complimented our in-house subject matter expertise and helped us focus on the right things at the right time.” Global Head of Service Delivery

Part 2: Launch and the first few months

Our client’s challenge:

In part 1 of this case study, we focused on our client’s journey from idea to launch. In part 2, we focus on the launch period and first few months in operation. Up to the launch period, the primary focus was on designing a service that would meet the market needs across the multiple jurisdictions in which our client’s clients operated. During the launch period, this focus shifted from what the service looked like to how it would work day-to-day. There were a number of challenges our client had to tackle at this stage;
  • Ensuring consistency in how the business operated across 3 operating centres in Europe and Asia
  • Creating the infrastructure to allow for a rapid increase in the number of cases to be managed by the Operations team

How we helped them:

Defining how things should work, and making them work in reality, are two different things. We have worked with many clients who have inconsistent ways of working, misaligned systems and high volumes of workarounds creating significant inefficiency and poor data quality. A large number of these clients had designed there to-be business processes upfront, but instead of effectively implementing them, they had been placed to one side to gather dust. We knew that was not a position that we wanted to be in 6 months down the line. Using BusinessOptix, we were able to leverage the designed processes as the ‘spine’ of the clients’ knowledge base, providing guidance and instruction for the Operations teams on how to execute their roles. This knowledge base combined process, policy and work instruction in a single location, giving the teams an easy-to-use tool to drive consistency in delivery. It also became an essential part of on-boarding new joiners to Operations, ensuring that the rapid growth of the team and business would not impact on the quality of service provided to clients. With this rapid growth came a significant increase in the volume of records to be processed. Correspondingly, our focus shifted to supporting the Operations team in defining requirements for, and then rapidly developing a workforce tool, to enable the allocation and tracking of work. By adopting Agile principles we were able to have the first iteration of the tool in operation within 4 weeks. This provided control over record status, managed handoffs between different teams and resulted in much needed data used to understand performance.

The outcome:

Despite the week on week workload increase (from 10s to 100s of records per week), the Operations team were able to consistently produce a quality end product for their clients. The knowledge base became the ‘go-to’ place for all guidance and instruction on how to produce KYC records. At the same time, the Operations and wider management teams were able to communicate progress clearly to clients at both a portfolio wide and individual record level This was further reflected in an easy-to-understand measure of performance for both throughput and productivity, providing useful information on where to focus efforts during business growth. “The Smart Tips team provided various skills and capabilities to support us across a number of areas and from this they became a valuable part of the significant success we have to date. Similarly, it has been easy to adopt and leverage Smart Tips to support in how we do things both internally and externally saving us time and money.” Global Head of Service Delivery

Part 3: Scaling for success

Our client’s challenge:

Part 1 of this case study focused on the period up to launch, whilst part 2 focused on the launch period and first few months of the live service. Part 3 looks at how we helped our client scale their business through a period of rapid growth. As a result of the early successes of the service, the demand for our client’s service was rapidly increasing. This created the need to mature the business and put in place the foundations to continue to successfully scale over the years to come. This created a number of requirements:
  • Mature the way work was forecast, scheduled and allocated
  • Drive increases in productivity to continuously improve the commercial position of the business
  • Deliver a world class experience for new clients being on boarded onto the service

How we helped:

Whilst launch was all about getting the basics of the service in place, the next phase of growing the service was to mature the business in line with its increasing scale. Over the first 12 months, both the pipeline and number of signed clients continued to rapidly grow, meaning the supply/demand equation needed to be understood with increasing accuracy. We worked closely with the Operations Teams across the European and Asian centres introducing methods and tools around forecasting, work scheduling, allocation and team/individual performance management. These supported a team that increased in size from 30 to 100 within a year. These mechanisms also supported a threefold increase in average throughput per person with a corresponding improvement in quality metrics. At the same time we iteratively released new functionality for the workforce tool to reflect the broadening range of scenarios the teams were facing. This transitioned the Operations Team from being in a position to understand performance to being able to effectively use it in the way they planned workloads and managed the teams. The connections between the Operations Team and the other parts of the business (Sales and Professional Services in particular) also required maturing as demand grew. We helped establish the new client on-boarding framework, to ensure a world class experience for new clients joining the service. How did we help our client achieve all this? Through relentlessly prioritising, delivering iterative and regular change throughout the period and collaborating closely to embed changes fast.

The outcome:

We’re proud to say that our client’s business is going from strength to strength. Their significant increase in customers is backed up by the winning of multiple awards and becoming ISAE accredited. The tools, methods and processes that we helped them establish continue to underpin much of the business.


Smart Tips Consultants is Now Consortium Consultancy

Smart Tips Consultants is now Consortium Consultancy


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