"DocBridge Auditrack can easily be tailored to our company-specific requirements. The software adapts to the processes, and not the other way around."
HDI: Auditing and Monitoring in Customer Communication
To increase transparency in customer communication, HDI/Talanx Group installed an auditing system that monitors group-wide document and output management. Up-to-the-minute evaluations, ad hoc queries, and threshold-based alerts provide important information on a document’s life cycle. They discover dispatch or production disruptions early on and these allow for further optimizations, including increasing the digitization rate and optimizing postage.
Time-controlled evaluations, ad-hoc-
reports and long-term analyses
Overview of the entire document production in real time – from print preparation to delivery, including electronic mailing
detection of bottlenecks and disruptions for faster reaction time
Increased ability to provide customer information through targeted document research according to various parameters
Today’s complex regulatory requirements are, more than ever, forcing companies and public administrations to monitor their customer communication across all channels and prove they are legally secure. This concerns not only the documents themselves, but also associated events that take place during the communication process. What's more, disruptions and potential bottlenecks in document production must be identified and remedied as early and quickly as possible—ideally, before the customer even notices.
A typical scenario, for instance, is a production job with thousands of documents (a batch) that gets stuck in the printer queue. Often, this is not immediately noticed, because insurance companies, banks, and public authorities usually have several high-volume batch jobs being processed simultaneously. Who can keep track of every single job? In a worst-case scenario, the company only realizes the disruption when the recipient asks for his insurance policy, bank statement, or tax assessment that should have been sent long before.
For Jürgen Hausl of HDI, this is an unsatisfactory situation. “We can’t have glitches only being discovered after three or four days,” he said. “We need a way to have all information related to the creation and sending of documents immediately available, regardless of which analog or digital output channel is used.” Hausl, the head of output services at Germany's third-largest insurance company, sees another benefit of comprehensive monitoring. “We want to know how many documents, with how many pages, are being processed every day, and how the ratio between classic and electronic dispatch is going.”
Output Management Was Centralized
Hausl and his department are among his company’s innovation drivers when it comes to digitalization. While the company still uses both analog and electronic communication, Hausl says the trend is clear: “Paper is becoming less and less, and more and more customers want their documents digitally. We have to take this into account in document and output management.” The company launched a large-scale project for the internal and external digitization of customer communication in 2018.
Its focus was on standardizing output management and embedding decentralized document creation in the central dispatch process. Since 2018, HDI has used DocBridge® Pilot and DocBridge® FileCab software solutions for this. In addition to reducing postage significantly (a savings in the seven-digit range), the Group also gained greater process reliability in document creation and processing.
The next step was to create a new technological basis, so the company has an overview of all communication processes at all times, which means it also has an overview of costs. That required establishing a consistent database. The focus was on these questions:
- How do you generate the information necessary for completely traceable document production and make it available as required?
- What possibilities are there to generate meaningful and practice-relevant evaluations of this data, taking into account performance, process flows, and legal requirements?
- Which tools offer the end user the greatest possible flexibility and freedom in collecting and analyzing production data?
Daily Updated Evaluations for Document Production
For Hausl and his team, it was clear they needed a system that could seamlessly monitor the entire process chain. They selected DocBridge® Auditrack.
The Compart software brings metadata from various systems and output channels into a company-wide repository and consolidates it into meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs). It allows complete traceability of all document production processes.
Using DocBridge® Auditrack, HDI monitors document creation, text systems, printing, enveloping, physical mailing, letter return, and digital mailings (email, customer portal with download files, etc.) triggered by the inventory systems (specialist applications) of the individual insurance lines (group divisions).
That means the Group’s central output service uses the auditing system to retrieve status reports on its entire document production three times a day (morning, noon, and evening). They can see all of the Group's ongoing and completed processing jobs directly in DocBridge® Auditrack, easily monitoring when a document was produced and what quanity was sent.
The important KPIs in this context:
- Processing time for each insurance class
- Digitization rate: The number of letters physically sent as related to total volume, differentiated by division and document type
- Redress rate: The number of items returned as undeliverable per division and document type in relation to total quantity
- The number of printed pages and envelopes, and total postage costs
- The number and type of disturbances
All-in-One: Daily Analyses, Ad hoc Reports, and Automatic Fault Messages
A significant benefit of the new system: production disruptions are actively detected. Developments can be evaluated daily. According to Hausl, “We no longer have to wait for the month-end closing, but have the data available in real time.”
DocBridge® Auditrack stores the average duration, or threshold value, of a processing job and if the value is exceeded, automatically triggers an alert.
At any time, employees, depending on their user rights, can retrieve any document’s status during processing. Is everything running normally? Is there any sign of a bottleneck? Has the document already been sent?
As needed, Hausl’s central output employees and those in other departments can check on a document’s life cycle—from transfer to OMS to delivery—at the push of a button.
But HDI is using DocBridge® Auditrack to pursue goals beyond just monitoring. The data and information Auditrack collects serve as a basis for important optimization decision-making regarding the Group's customer communication as a whole, such as how to increase the digitization rate. That means the system provides up-to-the-minute figures on the number of printed pages produced, which administrators in the specialist departments use to determine whether formatting changes to a particular document template or adjustments to the text volume could reduce the number of printed pages and save on postage costs.
At the same time, employees are encouraged to approach policyholders and convince them of the benefits of electronic document delivery. There’s even a bit of internal competition between the different insurance lines: Who can increase the degree of communication digitalization the most? Hausl said, “Of course, not all documents will be made available electronically in the future—that’s required by law. But even without the legal obligation to use paper for certain documents, such as insurance policies for life insurance, for example, the classic letter still enjoys a certain popularity, even among the younger generation.”
Still, he said the company aims to increase the proportion of electronic documents. In addition, by 2023, it seeks to reduce the average turnaround time for digital documents—from delivery of the completed document to dispatch—to eight seconds.
Returns Processing Has Become Easier
Furthermore, a search function with filters was set up in DocBridge® Auditrack so clerks can always provide information. For example, when a policyholder calls the customer service department, an employee can quickly search for a specific document and let the caller know its status. Was the policy already created and mailed? Or is it still with the division manager for final approval? These and similar queries can be answered in a matter of seconds.
DocBridge® Auditrack has cut in half the number of open processes that cannot be answered right away. Most queries can now be answered immediately due to auditing.
HDI's output management system (OMS) is also connected to Deutsche Post. That means the post service provider provides HDI with digital information on whether and when documents are delivered. The same information is also available in DocBridge® Auditrack. An employee can see if a letter was returned because of an invalid address, for example, and correct the address directly in the auditing system. HDI uses Premiumadress, a Deutsche Post solution for digital address maintenance with deliverability checking.
That’s an advantage because you know very early on whether a document can be delivered or not. Instead of waiting until the letter comes back as “undeliverable,” you can correct the address as soon as the postal service provider provides a notification and electronically trigger a resending. Also, the undeliverable physical letter does not have to be “scanned” back. That significantly reduces the effort involved in processing incoming mail.
Pilot Customer for DocBridge® Auditrack
Currently, around 100 employees across the Group are working with DocBridge® Auditrack. By January 2022, that figure is expected to be 2,000. The company primarily chose the Compart solution because of its high level of flexibility. “DocBridge Auditrack can easily be tailored to our company-specific requirements,” said Hausl, emphasizing the software’s strengths. “The software adapts to the processes, and not the other way around.”
He also refers to Compart’s cooperation and building trust. “We knew that DocBridge® Auditrack was fresh on the market and that we were the first major pilot customer in Germany,” said Hausl. “Compart told us that connecting the solution was no small matter and recommended that we also build up our own know-how on DocBridge® Auditrack at an early stage. This openness and fairness on the part of Compart impressed us so much that we decided to give the new system a try. We have not regretted the decision to this day.”
There was also a focus on open and transparent communication with HDI employees. “Everyone in the Group was allowed to express their wishes regarding the new auditing system,” said Hausl. “It was important for us to make it clear to our colleagues that everyone would benefit from the changeover. Ultimately, this led to most of them fully supporting the project, even if there were a number of reservations at the beginning.”
He explained further: “Many people have certain fears when it comes to transparency, which often results from a wrong way of dealing with mistakes. Instead of concentrating on learning from failures, many companies first look for someone to blame. Such a culture of discussion is naturally unsettling. So you have to make it clear to people that monitoring has nothing to do with monitoring employees but is about uncovering optimization potential in processes.” That's why the works council was brought on board from the start, to win over employees regarding the complex project. Hausl said that even the biggest critics have become convinced of the new system’s usefulness. “With each additional department that was connected,” he said, “acceptance increased.”
However, Hausl also sees that as a significant challenge. “Connecting additional areas always requires effort on the part of the developers of the respective specialist systems. The individual departments have to take this into account in their planning.”
He stressed that rolling out DocBridge® Auditrack to additional divisions and processes is not something to merely do in passing. It’s why the professional support provided by Compart—including developing HDI’s own understanding of the software—was so important for a successful introduction of the auditing system.
“Our employees, especially the programmers, were so well-trained that they now need external support less and less often,” he said. Still, it was good to know that they had a reliable and industry-experienced partner at their side with Compart..
HDI (Talanx) is the third-largest German insurance group by premium income. The listed company (IPO: October 2012), headquartered in Hannover, operates in more than 150 countries and employs 22,000 people worldwide. The HDI Group operates as a multi-brand provider in the areas of industrial insurance, private and commercial insurance Germany, private and commercial insurance International, reinsurance, and asset management.
HDI has grown particularly strong over the past decade, generating a premium income of 41EUR bn in 2020. At its helm is the parent company Talanx, which assumes the functions of a management and financial holding company within the Group but is not itself active in insurance business. The largest shareholder of Talanx is HDI V.a.G., a mutual insurance association, with a 79 percent stake. The remaining 21 percent of the shares are in free float.
The Group companies operate under various brands. These include HDI with insurance for private and corporate clients as well as industrial customers; Hannover Re, one of the world's leading reinsurers; neue leben; PB; and TARGO Versicherungen, which specialize in bank sales; and Ampega, a fund provider and asset manager.