At Microsoft and Expedia, I was selected to improve the “mini bank”, a banking machine to scale out thousands of transactions required for the company to operate cash flows, invest, and enable FX trading.
There were few projects where I worked on improving the experience:
- Inter-company Lending Experience
- Migrating Cash flow Forecasting to Cloud
- Building a new Investments portal
I’ll be speaking on the Microsoft Inter-company Lending Portal – this was a tool that Microsoft used to make funding subsidiaries easier. It’s called a lending portal because as an entity that owns many small companies (or commonly known as subsidiaries) and you have your own minibank, you effectively lend money from your minibank to these companies so they can keep on running. The loans would fund operational expenses
(opex) which includes payroll, admin expenses, etc. For accounting purposes, showing the transfer of these funds is documented as an internal loan. Alternatively, when these subsidiaries generate revenue, the money is sent as a payback on the loan from the minibank.
When I came into the project, the lending portal who’s end users are the accountants, treasury managers, CFO’s who manages these subsidiaries finances was a poor experience that involved an average of +7 manual steps per task along with horrible performance and reliability issues. There were quite a few bugs that occurred where once the tool stopped working. Treasury managers literally had to go to the room 20 steps away from our cubicles to talk to the 3 engineers who worked on the tools to do the job. So painful.
Because this was a financially sensitive tool with time sensitive demands prioritizing what we’d be working on the roadmap was key. Using lean development principles, I quickly gathered feedback from all actors who would be using our system, synthesized, conducted design discussion with engineers and made tradeoffs to prioritize what we’ll be working on our roadmap. We didn’t have any designers so I worked on wireframing the flows we would be updating This role was largely cross-team communication and along the way we defined and improved metrics of the internal financial tool program. Following we developed Knowledge Management Structure for fundamental information for customers and stakeholders to reference prior to launch.
The result of a successful improvement was we improved task efficiency of tool by time savings on each use case/task with an average of 35% time saved increasing the experience so we could allow treasury managers, CFOs, accountants from our internal and subsidiaries teams to focus on more high value tasks. Released on time/on schedule with all signed deliverable accomplished and documented process improvements for easy full adoption at launch.