CLM – Is Yours Half-Baked?


Gather your ingredients… Preheat the oven… Grease a cake tin… Cream the butter and sugar… Beat in the eggs and vanilla… Fold in the flour… Divide the mixture into the cake tins… Bake for 25 minutes…

When put like this it sounds simple, straightforward and achievable. However, as any aspiring baker will know, it is often more challenging and complicated to achieve the perfect bake! Many first or early attempts fail for a range of reasons; reading the recipe wrong, using the wrong flour, missing out key ingredients, setting an incorrect oven temperature, the varying temperature ranges and cooking times of different types of oven – resulting in an inedible flop, with a lot of time wasted, mess created and money spent!

Similar to this, with Client Lifecycle Management (CLM), we have seen over the years many firms struggle with implementing and embedding CLM change programmes. In the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, an exponential increase in financial sector regulation led financial firms to make additional use of technology to comply with each new regulation. This was often done by bolting separate solutions onto existing client data architecture for each gap in data or business process.

Drawn out delivery times and high costs have typified these implementations; they have been unplanned, implemented piecemeal, have been stressfully organised, and in some cases politically ruinous. Most have actually worsened the ability of a firm to achieve a holistic view of its regulatory compliance. But there is a better recipe for success…


A summary of the current CLM landscape in financial services shows us that:

• CLM as an organisational function is still an emerging area of capability, with generally low levels of maturity.

• CLM is often expressed as a goal without a clear and agreed understanding of what it needs to be for the firm.

• On embarking with CLM change programmes, most firms do not take into account their low levels of capability maturity; i.e. they have not established the foundational elements of having understood and mapped relevant business process, data content and technology environments.

• Many firms do not have an actionable methodology for establishing these foundational elements when designing and putting into practice fit for purpose Client Lifecycle Management.

• Almost all firms lack internal resources with the expertise to; structure an approach, analyse current context, and utilise the output to inform the CLM target operating model and then make operational what has been designed.

Nevertheless, just like baking from the correct recipe, with clear directions, the right assistance and some tenacity, a perfect cake will be crafted; all the right ingredients, flavours and texture in harmony, so tasty everyone will want more! The results will be just right if you pull everything together, in the precise order and with the correct temperature and timing – an amazing creation to be shared and enjoyed by everyone.

A Recipe for Success

In the spirit of sharing our domain knowledge and hard-won know-how, here are some simple CLM recipe guidelines.

• Get the right help if you need it; strategic change subject matter experts and skilled practitioners exist and, in our experience, have proven to be invaluable for starting the journey with the best chance of success.

• Collect the facts; do your homework. Investigate and understand current organisational design, process and technological architectures.

• Go out early to meet with all the parties involved in the CLM ecosystem (Front office, KYC/AML, Credit, Legal, Funds, Regulatory Reporting, Back office, Client data) and capture their pain points.

• Complete root cause analysis and filter for specific, actionable issues. Map the pain points against the business processes and technology backdrop.

• Assemble (if it exists) all relevant documentation and collateral related to the CLM domain.

• Plan your strategy. An excellent milestone of success will be obtaining on-going, sustainable operational funding, but achieving this in the current market is often elusive. In the absence of secured resources, take a lily-pad approach rather than a full-blown roadmap approach. Just jumping to the next pad from where you are can be enough to create necessary momentum.

• Establish design principles and map them to your target operating model across functional teams, process, technology and data

And when that is done, put it all in the oven! Being realistic and honest, create and socialise a concise vision of what your programme will qualitatively deliver:

• It will enable the onboarding of customers in the quickest and least intrusive way possible,
• It will provide high levels of workflow, rules and data automation, leveraging industry sources of client and entity data and documentation,
• It will utilise an agreed client data model and tailored processes that will enable integration with other CLM processes across regulations, legal, credit and client account maintenance,
• It will deliver standards across all global hubs and business lines,
• It will be measurable and transparent with defined process SLA’s and quality metrics,
• It will be designed to support both evolving business and regulatory needs,

And there it is; success can only come from being clear on where you are going, getting the right help and by doing the foundational work. With these ingredients in place you will be stepping surely ahead on a new journey to significant organisational change and ongoing business success, sharing the success as you go.

You really can have your cake and eat it!

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