Jas Thiara, Head of Planning and Workforce Management, shares how improving the accuracy of its customer demand forecasting has driven efficiencies in Barclaycard’s call center while providing a better overall customer experience.
Some of the challenges that Barclaycard and Barclays face at the moment is the need to keep up in competition with a lot of the new entrants. Where that creates concern for myself is the need to be ultra-efficient in what we do and to drive the best commercial decisions.
Historically, in call center environments at Barclaycard, we have primarily used Excel®.
We became aware that we have 39 million different cell references that we have to use daily to help determine our staffing requirements.
Due to the size of the bank and the constant change that we find ourselves in, there is a constant need to provide strategic insight and scenario modeling—and that was frightfully difficult. So that’s what really drove the decision to move to the Anaplan platform.
As a heavily regulated industry in financial services, we are subject to numerous audits regularly throughout the year. The Anaplan tool takes away a lot of the error that we were prone to in heavily Excel-based systems, [which were] due to human interaction or just error in formulae.
Recently, we’ve had to undertake a significant piece of work to understand, on the back of structural reform in the U.K., how we organize the bank. With the introduction of the Anaplan tool and working with our HR partners, we should be able to understand that implicitly in real time.
One of the biggest wins for us was the space that it now creates for our analysts to really start to analyze. In our environment, what we’re expected to do is not just match resourcing to demand through the course of the day within our operations. But it’s also to understand efficiency of that workforce and also the different drivers of demand.
Once we understand why customers behave, it should then allow us to forecast more accurately. What does that then drive for the customer? It means that we can service our customers quicker and more effectively.
We’re now looking to completely revolutionize our planning processes for contact center environments using the Anaplan platform. This will potentially offer a significant opportunity to focus ourselves on adding value and driving better commercial decisions, and to significantly streamline our existing processes.
My expectation is that we’ll use this as a sell to the rest of the bank—how we can connect planning across the entire bank through HR, through finance, through my team, and planning as well, to make real effective and cross-operational business decisions.
So it absolutely goes without saying that the Anaplan platform and delivery of it within Barclays will significantly change both my role and the role of my team. But it will allow us culturally to move into helping the business to drive better decisions.