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Building a solution to cope with rapid sales growth

Bespoke workflow-management application in combination with change-management programs drove a 50 percent productivity improvement in a mortgage business.

Challenge

A leading financial institution wanted to make a step-change improvement in its mortgage-modification business unit by implementing a large-scale workflow-management solution. The business was experiencing a surge in activity and needed a working solution fast.

Discovery

A McKinsey team came in to assess the processes and approaches. It identified several ways to improve throughput, but the key driver of success for the client was closely linked to IT enablement and execution.

The client wanted to review its conventional approach to IT development and find ways to accelerate implementation. McKinsey introduced an agile approach to improve both the speed and efficiency of the development team. A joint McKinsey/client team developed the solution, incorporating only those elements that drove the greatest value to the business and ensuring organization-wide buy-in by co-creating the solution with management, employee end users, and IT.

  • McKinsey's agile approach used rapid prototyping and tools to build an interactive solution (~1 week) that provided a "stake in the ground" to revisit daily and elicit ongoing feedback from real end users and stakeholders.
  • McKinsey IT experts worked side by side with the client's IT to design and rapidly develop (~10 weeks) a large-scale enterprise system that was scalable to over 1,000 field agents across six site locations and capable of processing more than 100,000 mortgages daily.

McKinsey provided a holistic approach to the IT enablement solution that also included embedding change-management programs in tandem with the agile-development process to ensure maximum value capture. The change-management efforts targeted, and were implemented by, every level of the workforce involved in making the solution work:

  • Business unit leadership and frontline management: Weekly walk-throughs to drive buy-in and receive open access to training group.
  • Frontline users: Several live in-class training conducted by the training teams using working IT solution loaded with employee-specific data. In addition to making field agents competent in the new agile solution, the ongoing training created buzz and promoted employee adaptation to the new methods.

Impact

McKinsey helped the client build and pilot the new system with approximately 300 staff across three sites. The team was able to increase frontline productivity by 50 percent while halving the size of the IT team and drastically reducing the overall time for systems development from more than 26 weeks to just 10 weeks.

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