Tech-enabled Change: Process Design for EY
Projects to shape and deliver the automation of processes and workflows, to manage risk for the circa 30 UK & Ireland EY Advisory engagements with revenue exceeding £2m each
Our Consultant who worked on this project: Cristina
The first step for this project was to identify the right opportunities for automation change and prioritise them, by interviewing the various team members in the EY UK&I risk management department. Once the most critical process to automate was identified, the second step was to talk with the representatives from all the various stakeholders' segments who were involved in the process as end users (the EY UK&I Advisory leadership) and as runners of the operations around it (the delivery teams across EY UK & Ireland and the EY UK& I Advisory risk and quality management department). These conversations made it possible to identify their pain points: where the process was too manual and email heavy; where it took too long or too many resources to be completed; what created backlogs or inaccuracies that slowed down, or compromised, the smooth workflow to deliver timely, high-quality outputs and results; where there were other known issues, or reasons of discontent by the stakeholders.
Thanks to the operational processes analysis, and insights gathering through interviews, it was possible to understand where the process could have been simplified, streamlined and automated, delivering efficiency gains and cost saving, optimising the use of the resources time, and reducing the number of overheads utilised for the specific process. The solution took all of this into consideration and defined new automated processes by leveraging technology and defining the functions and specs of the new web apps interfaces to develop.
Cristina' solution proposed the replacement of some manual intensive processes with their optimised and improved automated upgrade: by using in one case Microsoft Power BI, which partially automated a process, and in another case an interactive web-app, developable by customising a SharedPoint web-page that UI/UX developers could turn into an app (which could be stored in a safe EY intranet cloud environment, for sensitive data security). The web app solution entirely automated the workflow for a process to submit requests and give responses about permits and approvals, generating automatic email reminders towards the end of the approved periods (before the permissions expired, to inform the delivery-teams users about the need of a renewal request). It also automated the notification of requests for approval, keeping all communication around the decision making for approval packaged clearly in one place, for easiness of backtracking and handover of the responsibility around each approval to various members of the risk management department at the senior level.
The involvement of Cristina in this process was at its definition level and in the procurement of the UI/UX developer’s and customer service’s capabilities to build and maintain the web-app, providing technical support during its running.
The next step, handed over to the risk management department, was to launch the minimum viable product of the interactive platform, to test it (online on the intranet of EY, in a data secured environment), after planning when and how to communicate the change to the users and stakeholders, when and how to train the users and stakeholders concerning the newly automated and improved process, and where to pilot its test rollout within a segment of the organisation, before launching it for the entire EY Advisory, UK & Ireland-wide.
The automation of the workflow of this Risk Management process 1. improved its accuracy (better enabling decision making around higher-quality outputs), 2. reduced the completion time (allowing better cost management), 3. used resources’ time more efficiently and 4. liberated time for less repetitive assignments (improving employees’ satisfaction). The solution, enabled by a web-app, also 5. helped diaries management and 6. the tracking of which resources were available and when, in order to re-allocate them to the open requests, 7. avoiding service interruption, which occurred previously (when each staff member owned a certain set of requests for approval, which were kept on hold whenever the individual assigned to them was absent; or in other cases, the requests were severely delayed, due to the flow of information being spread across various email threads, making it difficult to delegate the owned requests to colleagues).
Another automation change project for the EY UK&I Advisory risk management department was at a stage of definition refinement and planning when Cristina was called on board, as the solution was already defined in principle and the liaising with the developers of the solution had already been initiated. The focus of her work was therefore on the planning and delivery of its rollout: first only in one department as a pilot, and then across the entire Advisory UK & Ireland.
This involved planning the communications around the transformation that was going to occur across the organisation - around risk management procedures - scheduling and writing the various communications according to audience, and planning and enabling the development of the new capabilities required for its implementation, creating all the L&D material to train the users regarding the new process, and the digital users guides to support them outside of interactive training.
The solution for this change management initiative, to be rolled out across the entire EY UK&I Advisory business, was the semi automation of the tracking and reporting to C-levels of the state of quality and risk for Advisory engagements with revenue above £2 million GBP. The monthly manual reporting was in fact replaced by live dashboards, enabled by MS Power BI, which permitted a direct reporting data flow from the delivery teams to the EY UK&I leadership, without the involvement of the EY UK&I risk and quality management department acting as intermediaries in collecting the data, analysing it and packaging it into pdf reports:
the interactive dashboards automatically extracted data and populated reports with tables and visualised data analysis, starting from excel data sources, provided by all the Advisory delivery teams across UK & Ireland, for which risk had to be managed and reported to the EY UK&I Advisory leadership up to C-level.
The new process revised and improved the risk and quality management criteria to report in the dashboards to monitor risk on the Tier 1 projects (those with value exceeding £2 million GBP in revenue for EY, or those of strategic importance for future EY growth opportunities, business partnerships and EY-wide risk management).
The new Power BI dashboards helped the Advisory leadership for EY UK & Ireland to better understand what was going on with the Advisory business most valuable projects, gaining more insight from the better packaged and visualised data, which they could interactively interrogate, filter and drill down into more detail, self-customising for each user the level and type of information to gain from the dashboard.
This automation also helped to reduce headcount allocated to the risk management reporting for the EY UK&I leadership, and to liberate time for the senior resources previously involved in this reporting process, in order to re-allocate their extra time to other activities valuable to the organisation in terms of risk and quality management.
Resources' time saving
Resource's cost saving
head-counts per process
Cristina's digital product interfaces diagram for web-app
Web-app functionality, explication abstract
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What People Say
All 30 written comments regarding Cristina's work are evidenced in writing by their original MS Outlook files and a S.A.R. received via email, archived in its original delivery email.
“As a project manager Cristina has consistently worked at Senior Consultant level.
She has managed the rollout of our biggest process improvement project.
The training guide she produced for the process improvement project was excellent and will be a key enabler for the transition phase.
I have been particularly impressed with her analytical skills and her ability to break problems down into key components and identify workable solutions.
Her briefings have been well researched and to a very high standard.”
— Stuart Bourn, Managing Director at Ernst & Young LLP