The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has formed a five-year, $90 million business process outsourcing relationship with a Québec firm that will take over its document management, billing and marketing services.
Relizon Co. said the agreement would include managing documents in terms of version
control, design, distribution and fulfillment. The documents in question are both marketing materials the bank sends to its customers as well as the many paper and electronic forms that enable a host of financial transactions.
As part of the agreement Relizon will create a customized portal called Relizon Online, that may be accessed by as many as 10,000 CIBC employees to track requisitions and inventory, among other things. Five years ago CIBC implemented a portal solution from Ariba, and Relizon Online will likely appear as an icon within that system.
Mohamed Yacoub, Relizon’s president and CEO based in Boucherville, Que., said the company sometimes hosts the documents for its customers in a separate database, but in others the documents remain with the client. Relizon began as a printing business that evolved into an outsourcing service, he said, partly in response to demand from companies such as CIBC to take over document management and related services. In recent years Xerox and Adobe have created enterprise service divisions to take on some of these functions.
“”Doing things yourself means you have to hire the people, the expert project managers, plus you have to invest in capital to open warehouses and buy equipment and all that,”” he said. “”I don’t think banks today consider that their core business.””
Banks often employ anywhere from 25 to 50 people just to maintain version control on documents, Yacoub said — making sure a logo is strictly preserved and providing design services. Outsourcing allows them to reduce head count, he said.
A spokesman for the bank refused an interview request from Computing Canada.
“”Companies are obviously welcome to announce contracts with us, but we typically don’t comment in detail on what they entail,”” Rob McLeod said.
Centralized document system
Relizon has performed similar kinds of services for organizations such as the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. As one of the largest non-profit, community-owned health care organizations in the U.S. Memorial Hermann originally formed a five-year deal to create a centralized document management system and recently extended the contract for three years.
K.J. Wild, Memorial Hermann’s director of printing services, said the organization has also given Relizon an opportunity to participate in a larger part of its business, including forms production and e-forms.
“”I can’t speak to banking, but it’s been very helpful for us,”” he said. “”It’s lowered our page per day costs by form standardization, better inventory control — we have less obsolescence.””
Yacoub said Relizon has developed a few home-grown software solutions, but in most cases chooses from about a dozen well-known document management and workflow tools to meet its customers’ needs.
Earlier this month, CIBC said it had purchased a NetCharts Pro site licence from Visual Mining for general use by the bank’s Wealth Management Technology Group in Toronto. Visual Mining founder and CEO Michael MacDonald in Rockville, Md., said the graph and chart-producing software should easily integrate with whatever document management solutions an enterprise has chosen.
“”Most of those kind of environments will have some kind of a hook out to other content sources, be them programmatic or not,”” he said. “”Anything that’s Web-deployable can use our stuff.””
Two years ago CIBC outsourced a significant percentage of its IT infrastructure, from desktops and AS/400 midrange servers to software solutions and networking gear, to HP’s services unit in a deal worth approximately $2 billion.
“”CIBC’s an HP shop. We work with them harmoniously — when it comes to databases with direct marketing, obviously we work with them quite a bit,”” Yacoub said. “”Very often IT doesn’t do a lot with the actual customer database or data mining. From a marketing perspective it’s usually outsourced to an agency.””