Ally Advantage

ally logo.jpg

Company:

Ally Financial Inc.

Project Name:

"Ally Advantage"

Role:

Business Analyst

Duration:

6/15 - 12/17

Project Summary

"Ally Advantage" refers to a company-wide replacement of the legacy command-prompt based receivables system.

 

A web-based system was selected as the replacement, and the project was meant to adapt all current business processes to the new system.

 

Given the number of account holders, business units, and transactions processed daily, this was a massive, multi-million dollar project to update the company's infrastructure

Skills Developed

1.

Detailed process mapping in MS Visio and Blueprint Cloud.

2.

Strong granular understanding of collections operations, lease servicing, and vehicle remarketing

3.

Scoping deliverables based on priority and bandwidth

4.

Balancing speed, rigor, and use of assumptions to ensure work is always moving forward

5.

Deeper understanding of corporate reporting, databases, and querying business data (IBM Cognos)

2015
2016
2017

Project Phase:  Plan and Define (1/3)

Hired

Project effort thus far: A team of former business unit operations managers transitions to the Advantage project. They begin the project by establishing a 'product universe', and break down the company's entire operations into individual process 'breakdown' packets that capture the what, who, where, and how of current processes.

Groups of 6 analysts create high-level business requirements for sets of business processes within the same unit. 

Business Requirements are reviewed by an internal project 'phase leader' to ensure correct level of detail, breadth covering the scope of the process, consistency across processes

Based on approval of business requirements, initial process maps are constructed. ~20 or less steps for each process to capture major decision points in process at a high level.

Next project 'phase leader' ensures that process map encompasses all of the requirements outlined and approved in previous phase.

Project Phase:  Detailed Process Design (2/3)

Since initial process maps and high level requirements have been completed an approved, it is now time to refine and reconstruct the process maps with the level of detail necessary to conduct daily business.

Changes or updates to current processes were focused on how to automate case routing based on the status of account data points, reduce amount of manual human review, and decrease amount of paper or links in communication chains.

As level of detail increases, meetings with the software vendor, current process teams, and cross-functional teams ramp up in frequency to answer granular questions about process and functionality.

Meetings with software vendor consultants advise us on what built-in application features we can use in workflows to ensure consensus between our process maps, and what the software is capable of.

Over time, after collaborating with other process analyst teams to ensure proper passing along of data points and the construction of appropriate data interfaces, maps grow in size from ~20 steps to 100+ to capture all data points examined and processed. 

Project Phase:  Construct, Test, Deploy (3/3)

Once final detailed process maps have been approved by current operations management, project management, and the software vendor, configuration of mapped-out workflows begins in the software solution.

During this period, I consult with configuration analysts to ensure that the processes captured in our maps are leveraging the corresponding data points and concepts in the software solution. It takes around 4 months to get my processes from maps to working workflows that can process test data.

In Q2 of this year, there is a project-wide demo day where all configured workflows are demonstrated to all of project leadership. My remarketing workflows are demonstrated successfully, including data that is imported from XML files through an interface. A resounding success.

I write detailed test cases for the remarketing processes that I designed in the Detailed Process Design phase. 

By the end of 2017, I resign from my position to focus on my graduate school studies. I am able to leave saying that I reconstructed multiple remarketing processes for the future, and I feel confident in the future of how the process is formed based on the optimizations I made.

Lessons Learned

1. Biggest time saver for the project: Allow analysts to use out-of-box software to gain an understanding of how software works conceptually BEFORE mapping out future processes in the hypothetical.

2. Don't assume that anyone else has the same understanding of a process or data points as yourself-- Always verify to ensure consensus and avoid possible rework.

3. Learn as much as you can of the vocabulary of other teams to increase the accuracy of your language to an audience who has different reference points and models from you.