Financial firm takes prize for IT project

Dell Financial Services Canada Ltd. (DFS) won an Award of Excellence in the Organizational Transformation category at the Canadian Information Productivity Awards (CIPA), for technology and business-process amendments the firm has undertaken.

DFS won the award for its “Helix” initiative — a wide-ranging project designed to help the company change the way it deals with customers and data.

In 2001, the company was struggling to convince consumers to finance their Dell Inc. computer purchases. It wasn’t easy for a number of reasons. One of the biggest hurdles was the cumbersome sales process. It took many back-and-forth, fax-and-paper transactions to make the deal happen, and it required two sales people: one to sell the PC, the other to conduct the financing call.

DFS brought a signatureless documentation process online, which replaces cursive signatures with a pass code — a combination that customers select while talking to Dell reps. This key opened the door to e-mail document transfers, which eased loan creation.

DFS also brought credit scoring in-house for $150,000 in savings annually — money that otherwise went to a third-party provider.

DFS built a fraud adjudication engine to speed the credit approval process. This may be one of Helix’s most challenging aspects. It’s not easy to weed out false positives, while some customer applications are simply too risky to decide by tech. About 80 per cent of applications now go through the automated fraud adjudication system.

According to Maha Masees, DFS’ vice-president, all of these changes bolstered the company’s bottom line, as well as that of its main partner, Dell. These days more Dell customers are choosing to finance their purchases, she said.

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