Münchener Hypothekenbank eG is an independent real estate bank. Its core business areas are the long-term financing of residential and commercial real estate. As a member of the Genossenschaftliche FinanzGruppe, its partners include Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken.
Always looking for new, innovative ways to stay competitive, Münchener Hypothekenbank started working with Camunda in 2019 to coordinate and automate internal processes within its private-client business – specifically, directing incoming mail, internal releasing of outgoing mail and working together between departments on loan applications, across different systems.
But its existing process optimization system had its limits. As the three processes listed above rely on the same process engine, it was not possible to carry out maintenance on one process independently of the others. Furthermore, the processes lacked the functions and interfaces to be freely configurable (e.g. resubmission function). This meant that complicated workarounds had to be incorporated into the process models to enable the business division to carry out certain functions. The result was increased complexity and a higher error rate.
Münchener Hypothekenbank decided to move to a Java-based microservice architecture. In addition to several long-term advantages, the goal was to uncouple the existing processes and remove the need for the workarounds. A new company-wide task list and tailor-made user interfaces for the manual process tasks would be created using React.
Münchener Hypothekenbank selected Camunda on the strength of internal recommendations. Stephan Pelikan, lead developer and technical adviser with WDW Consulting Group, a Camunda partner, took on the challenge of this project, working closely together with project manager Markus Neumann for Münchener Hypothekenbank.
A handful of things were easy to put right straightaway. For instance, functions such as resubmitting a task were available off-the-shelf from Camunda and could be put straight into use. The convoluted, makeshift constructs that previously had been incorporated into the existing process models to carry out the same function could now be removed from the process models, thereby greatly improving professional as well as technical readability.
Other areas called for a bit more development work, particularly when it came to the task list. As staff had to keep using the tasks present in the other technology during the transition period, these were included in the new Camunda task list. “Camunda is and remains a tool for developers, making the APIs a dream to use. They are highly versatile and very well documented,”WDW’s Stephan Pelikan said.
By working with Camunda throughout the entire process and beyond – for instance in the work between departments on processing loan applications – tasks could be generated independently of the system. Yet they all make their way to a single joint task list, which is used by all staff as a “single point of truth” and designed uniformly and transparently via the new User Interface (UI), right down to the smallest detail. “This allows many of the newer, modern applications to make the manual tasks contained within them available to users. Fast, transparent and independent of the system we work with – perfect for us,” Neumann said.
If maintenance to one process is necessary, this can be carried out without disturbing or interrupting the others. The other workarounds made necessary by the lack of openness in the earlier system have also been consigned to history since the switch to Camunda. “One major advantage is that we can deploy each entity individually, rather than having to have one gigantic product in operation,” Neumann said.
The most tangible result, however, is the processing speed of loan applications. “By restructuring our processes, we have unquestionably become faster and more efficient at processing and have been able to generate considerable professional added value within the processes. We have also significantly reduced the lead time for our end customers,” Neumann said
What’s more, the new UI has improved the internal user experience for staff to such an extent that other business areas are already eager to review their own processes and use the new task list. The list of new projects is already a long one. For this reason, Münchener Hypothekenbank added more internal back-end and front-end developers, rather than continuing to rely on external resources to support the Camunda implementation.
“Thanks to Camunda and the help from WDW, we have managed to develop our architecture from a sluggish, monolithic structure into a microservice-oriented architecture that is a pleasure to work with,” Neumann said.