Server room

Enterprise Data Warehouse

The Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) is the repository for Bank and Association customer and loan data. EDW is designed to simplify the process of report writing, allowing Associations to spend more time analyzing data and less time writing complex reports. EDW provides the reports and analytics that support a variety of Association business functions, including loan accounting and operations, credit, marketing, special asset management, compliance and audit.

Associations can quickly access the last 22 business days of customer and loan data and any month-end data set from the past five years. This retention plan ensures Associations can always access a daily snapshot going back to the last month-end period. The data stored in EDW is collected from various systems, such as loan origination, credit administration and loan accounting. EDW automatically aggregates data related to a single customer as it is loaded from multiple systems. This allows an analyst to see the total customer exposure with one simple search.

Report writers can use the Microsoft SSRS report writing tools to create sophisticated reports and deliver them to users via Microsoft SharePoint. This allows an Association to create a “report portal” that provides users with the information they need at their fingertips. In addition, report writers can provide analysts with access to data in Microsoft Excel, which can run queries against EDW. Since EDW was designed based on general banking terminology and includes a robust data dictionary, there is a lower learning curve for report writers. An inventory of more than 100 standard reports is available to Associations to use “as is” or to customize to meet different  needs.

In addition to storing data from the loan accounting and loan origination systems, EDW can be extended to support Associations’ unique business needs. Associations have the ability to add custom datasets, eliminating the need to keep local copies of spreadsheets and databases with customer loan data. This data can be integrated seamlessly with other source system data.

Finally, loan officers and support staff can view customer-centric data in EDW via an intuitive web interface. This interface provides a comprehensive view of the customer record and is designed for both desktop and mobile device access.

Report Archiving

AgFirst provides a report archiving platform that provides Associations with a single portal to access reporting from financial, loan accounting and EDW systems. This tool provides enterprise report distribution, historical archiving of reports and overall report management. This system also consists of an online feature that electronically transmits Association-specific reports to specified printers after nightly processing cycles. As a result, the Association information is available for use each morning.

Person scanning a book
Bundles of paper

Document Imaging

AgFirst provides each Association with its own instance of the DocuPhase™ imaging system. The system allows Associations to scan and import documents into a centralized document repository that is hosted in the AgFirst Data Center. Examples of how the platform is being used by Associations today includes storing loan files, accounts payable documents, accounting documents and corporate documents. The system provides significant business benefits in the areas of loan file management, instant access, search, security and storage.

Loan File Management AgFirst has developed a customized interface for storing and managing loan files, called AgDocs. AgDocs integrates imaging with the loan origination system and Enterprise Data Warehouse. This provides powerful capability that ensures document keywords are automatically updated when there are changes in the loan system. For example, after a loan file is loaded into the system, its indexes are updated any time there is a change to the loan amount, branch number, servicing loan officer number or maturity date.

Instant Access

Documents that are scanned at a branch location are instantly available to all authorized Association users – regardless of location. Previously, documents had to be physically transported from one location to another. Documents can be easily indexed and categorized, making them accessible and manageable.

Search

Documents are indexed based on the unique business needs of each Association. The system has a sophisticated search capability that makes retrieving stored documents quick and easy for Associations.

Security

Electronic storage allows Associations to better secure their important documents. The system has state-of-the-art security features that allow Associations to restrict access to defined documents based on different user roles. Documents related to loans specific to officers, directors or employees can be restricted to specified users. This ensures a high level of confidentiality for sensitive documents.

Storage

AgFirst’s imaging system currently has more than 9 million documents in its repository with more than 100,000 new documents added each month. Associations are not charged for server storage of their documents.

Two business men looking over charts

AgVUE Business Process Management

AgVUE (Virtual, Uniform and Efficient) is an award-winning business process management platform that Associations can use to automate a variety of key business processes, including loan approval, check requests, appraisal requests, standards of conduct certification, and employee onboarding and offboarding. AgVUE has a powerful workflow designer that has been proven to handle even the most complex business processes.

Association employees access AgVUE through an intuitive central web portal, making it a one-stop shop for accessing, monitoring and reporting on their business processes. The AgVUE portal offers several key business benefits including:

  • Improved efficiency. Since Association staff can do their work in one place, and not re-key data, their efficiency improves.
  • Improved accuracy. AgVUE prompts users through a pre-determined workflow process, which can significantly reduce risk of error or leaving an important task unfinished. Accuracy is further improved since AgVUE can directly query and pull data from the Enterprise Data Warehouse.
  • Accurate documentation. The system will produce a flowchart-like diagram that precisely describes each workflow process. This ensures that your documentation always matches how a business process actually works. This is a significant benefit for processes that may be audited.
  • Reporting and analytics. The system provides detailed reporting and analytics, which allow for tracking how well each process is executed. This helps determine where bottlenecks are occurring in the workflow for easy redirection.
  • Quick implementation. A key strength of AgVUE is that it is a rapid development platform. Typically, business processes can be developed and deployed in AgVUE in less than six weeks.
  • Mobile access. AgVUE includes a mobile app that allows employees to use the system from Android and Apple smartphones and tablet devices.

The system attracted the attention of national organizations focused on innovative solutions. The Workflow Management Coalition honored AgFirst with its Award of Excellence in Business Process Management and Workflow. The award recognized the AgVUE platform’s excellence in automating, measuring and optimizing business processes for customers. The AgVUE team also was recognized for its efforts at an international Gartner Group conference.

Customer support representative on computer

Customer Support

The AgFirst Customer Support Center (CSC) serves as the first point of contact regarding all systems, processes and benefits managed by AgFirst. Providing quality support to Association and Bank employees is the top goal of Customer Support.

The business model used to manage Customer Support consists of a defined Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Associations and an aligning balanced scorecard approach to managing the department.

Metrics Management

Metrics defined within the SLA include:

  • Average Speed of Answer (ASA): the average amount of time a caller waits when contacting CSC. The team goal is to maintain an ASA of 20 seconds or less.
  • Abandoned Rate (ABR): the average number of callers who hang up before their call is answered. The team strives to maintain an ABR of 3.5% or less.
  • Case Resolution Rate: the percentage of calls resolved within the department (without having to escalate to a secondary support team). The team goal is to resolve 60% or more of the cases received.
  • Average Wait Time (AWT): the average amount of time a caller has to wait when there is a wait time. This goal differs from ASA in that not every call generates a wait time. The team goal for this metric is less than 45 seconds.
  • Target Service Factor (TSF): the percentage of calls that meet all SLA metrics. CSC strives to achieve the TSF on at least 95% of calls received.

AgFirst tracks performance against the SLA on a quarterly basis and reviews the results with each Association to discuss actual performance along with potential improvement opportunities.

Ensuring successful performance against the SLA is dependent upon having detailed call and case management processes internally. The AgFirst Customer Support Center relies on a balanced scorecard approach to departmental management. The approach includes managing individual performance based on seven metrics tracked and reviewed with each analyst monthly. These metrics include:

  • Individual Case Resolution: the percentage of cases the analyst is able to resolve without obtaining support from another team member or department.
  • Group Case Resolution: tracks the percentage of cases the analyst assists another team member in resolving to prevent having to engage a second-level support team. This goal also fosters teamwork and greater collaboration.
  • Schedule Adherence: tracks the percentage of time an analyst is present for their scheduled shift (on time at the beginning of the shift, on time when returning from lunch, doesn’t leave for lunch early or leave for the day early).
  • Availability Ratio: tracks the percentage of time an analyst is assisting a caller or available to assist a caller. If the analyst has taken themselves off of the phone for another task, such as research or a special project, that time would count against this metric.
  • Quality of Case/Ticket Management: tracks how well the analyst documented the case in our case management tool, assyst. Accurate and thorough documentation is necessary in ensuring we have a robust knowledge center for quick reference when resolving similar issues and to ensure we have an accurate representation of the issue encountered. As a side note, the assyst knowledge center is available to all District employees as a reference guide in resolving technical issues.
  • Quality of Call Handling: tracks how well the analyst resolved the caller’s issue (accurately, thoroughly, was pleasant, how well the analyst educated the caller on resolving the issue in the future, etc.). This metric is based off of a quality scorecard in which calls are reviewed for educational and learning purposes.
  • Operating Level Agreement (OLA) Compliance: measures how well the analyst adhered to the operating level agreement in place between Customer Support and all second-level support teams.

Call and Case Management

Managing the SLA and balanced scorecard metrics is a simple task when utilizing ShoreTel ECC (Enterprise Call Center) and assyst. ShoreTel ECC provides the call center software needed to queue, prioritize and assign call distribution to analysts. It also allows for extensive reporting capabilities on both call and analyst performance. Assyst is the case tracking tool used by both AgFirst and District Associations to report, track and manage an issue through its resolution. In addition to simplifying the work of the analyst by providing shortcuts like pre-populated popup windows, it also allows for extensive reporting capabilities to ensure each case is managed accurately and timely.

In addition to ShoreTel ECC and assyst, Customer Support analysts benefit from the technical tools made available through the Bank’s Network Operations Center (NOC). The NOC, which consists of Customer Support, the network services team and the computer operations team, serves as a collaborative group focused on ensuring the availability and performance of the network infrastructure, the daily processes of the data center, and the overall support provided to Associations. Among the many technical resources used, the network monitoring wall, which provides a visual display of the network’s current performance, is of utmost importance. It enables Customer Support to recognize large network-related performance issues, often before they are felt by Associations.

Operating Level Agreements

Finally, and most importantly, the Customer Support Center has developed and manages Operating Level Agreements (OLAs) with all support teams of the Bank. The OLA governs the responsiveness and communication expectations of development and maintenance teams throughout AgFirst. Senior management teams have built OLA expectations into performance measures throughout the entire organization. Team level accountability is measured monthly and reported to all managers and supervisors throughout AgFirst.

Support for Product and System Deployments

Customer Support also partners with the Training department when major technical deployments or releases are planned for the production environment. Customer Support analysts participate as active members of project deployment teams for all major initiatives, ensuring comprehensive training programs are in place and all members of CSC are prepared to support Association users once the deployment goes live.

The Customer Support Center is available seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. Eastern time.