Like most sectors, banks and other financial institutions are rapidly embracing BPM technologies. And like most large organizations, banks have a wide variety of real-world processes that could be modeled into workflows. But for banks that want the best ROI on process automation, contract generation may be the best place to start.

Contract generation (document generation) process applications can, of course, be built and deployed as standalone technologies and offer financial organizations phenomenal return on investment, often reducing the process for generating a contract, along with collateral documentation, from weeks or months down to just hours, or in some cases, minutes. But contract generation applications can also be integrated into broader workflows, as many of the world’s largest banks have already learned.

One of the key advantages of integrating contract generation applications into larger workflows is the added functionality that banks get from advanced, highly interactive data-gathering sequences (called interviews), which tend to be the domain of only the most elite contract-generation platforms. Not only do these interactive interviews assist bank employees in getting the highly structured transactional data into the interview fields correctly, but the interviews allow loan committees to analyze and approve data sets rather than entire documents, a fact which results not only in improved efficiency but also in better quality documents.

Working within the confines of a broader workflow, one global bank utilizes contract-generation interviews to gather thousands of items of data, analyze the data for internal consistency with other items of data and existing bank policy, and then color code each item of data for the loan committee—green for consistent data points, amber for marginal data points, and red for inconsistent data points.

Loan approval committees can review transactional data sets regarding a particular loan application, quickly spot potential problem points, and act accordingly. In cases where loans are approved, the data can then be used to generate all documentation for the loan. Not only does the system save the bank considerable time and expense, but it also helps the bank make fewer bad loans by flagging problem areas that could otherwise be missed.

Again, contract generation is not BPM. Rather, contract generation is a standalone process technology that can be deployed very effectively within BPM-defined workflows. Banks that are considering a full-on business process deployment might choose to begin with the contract generation piece, where ROI is arguably higher than with other types of process applications.