The next one was around process efficiency, and this was around freeing up investment reviews resources from those pet projects and really allocating them to specific initiatives where we could focus and have the most optimal impact.
The last area was performance accountability. There became a strong reemphasis on the validation process to ensure that we were maximizing and optimizing the return on investment.
We took a look at some of the elements for implementing the plan. We started with a very simple framework-Where are we today? How do we want to get there? Where do we need to go? and What support will be available to get this work done?
The implementation of what we call an investment rationalization process across these multiple business units included a syndication process, where we invited each of those key principles or key stakeholders to the table to become an active member of a community that would be decision makers, drivers and activists for the company in making decisions that would make an impact.
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We began a diagnostic process. We wanted to understand where we are today, what does it look like and how we are spending money. What was interesting about this is if you sit down and have a conversation with each of these lines of business, the portfolio they are working on and their special projects, each of them would tell you, “Oh, I cannot do that with this other line of business because we are special.”
However, what we found is about 80 percent of what we do is common. It wasn’t until we really sat down and dissected it and started to look at each of the individual components and compartments that we found common ground for each of these organizations to work on. We told them upfront, “We recognize each of you are special and you will need some customized areas, but let us focus on what is common first, and then absolutely, each of you can customize the program after we have got a common platform on which we can work.” So we got great buy in and support to do that, and we worked through the diagnostic process.
End-to-end, the implementation of the investment rationalization process for us took a year. We started this process three years ago; we are into out third year now.
The initial diagnostic evaluation took us about six weeks. We asked: Where are you? Who are we? Who are you? How do we show up with each other? What does that look like? What are the common elements? Then we put together a plan for action that said how we would partner together.
Next, we wanted to look at the design element: How do we get there? So what does that look like? What is in it for you? What is in it for me? What is in it for us collectively as we work together? That process took about two-and-a-half months.
Then we began to look at beta initiatives: Where do we need to go? We identified some common elements of enterprise initiatives that would span all 10 of the business and we picked one. Let us just start with that, let us do a pilot, let us do a design element, let us see if this works end-to-end, let us walk it through.
As we worked through that process what we found was that 95 percent of all the elements were on a common platform, and only 5 percent needed to be customized for each of those strategic business units in order for them to be able to deliver to the customer and to the market based on where they were.
So as an example, in financial services our investment bank needed to show up a little bit differently with a large customer than the general bank who might interact with you or I in our personal banking account, so certainly we can understand that.
But how we got there was based on a common platform and common elements from an end-to-end perspective that could be applied towards that specific customer.
We are in the process now of working through the last element, which we call institutionalization or available support. As we look across each of these 10 business units we have aligned portfolio offices for each of the individual units. This allows them to truly look at how much money we are investing in capital allocation today from improvements in our business, what is the anticipated return on investment, what is the actual return on investment and how we matched back against the expectations.