RBC Imaging Operation


RBC, (TSE:RY), Canada largest Bank and one of world’s largest financial institution  moved away from paper and microfilm. RBC the leading Canadian financial institution. RBC employs more than 80,000 full and part-time employees who serve more than 17 million clients RBC is has three division , Banking, Investing and Insurance.

At the heart of the imaging operation, there is an imaging technology. IBM warned their customer they will no longer support the current version of “IBM Content Manager”. Consequently, Royal Bank felt compel to upgrade to the new version of Content Manager. The new version was a complete revamp.

Executive were suspicious that the new user interface might impact the operation and involve change issues. There was 5% of documents that were wrongly indexed.

Cognitive Group has been involve on multiple occasion with the Royal Bank. Executive aware of the unique skill set of Cognitive and asked Cognitive to get facts on the situation and help them evaluate the impact of the new user interface.


This initial stage involved Field Study approach to analyze the current process.  In two weeks, 12 employees including managers involve the imaging operation were met.

The two main Baking divisions, Personal Financial Services (PFS) and Commercial Financial services  (CFS) have a department in charge of scanning and indexing paper document into electronic images. The imaging operation comprise three main function scanning, indexing and viewing documents

For Commercial Financial Service division, imaging permit agent to verify the signature of check. Images serve other viewing operation such as: accessing image document for verifying the incorporation, verify past owner, etc.

For the scanning and indexing operation, agents scan and index over 400 documents per day. This operation is repetitive and demands a high human attention. Because of the high attention demand, agents have to be careful to ensure documents are indexed in the right client. Following a review of the current process, Cognitive Group evaluated the new user interface of “Content Manager”  and analyzed the impact on the operations. Cognitive use a simulation of human performance for indexing to calculate the time it take to index documents. Based on human factors literature, human task are breakdown in task elements. Time of task elements is drawn from a human factors table for example, moving the hand on the mouse is 4 seconds, pointing is 1.1 seconds, pressing a keystroke is .2 seconds, etc. Based on those calculations, Cognitive Group was able to compare the indexing time of the current imaging technology with the new imaging technology.

Cognitive group also perform field study of the imaging operation in the Personnel Financial Service division.

“With the cognitive approach we obtained the facts on the current situation and understand the cost associate with those problems.”

Benoit LeFrançois



Findings showed that there were problems with the current operation. There was 5 % error rate in document indexing, the current user interface requires high human attention demand and the current indexing operation require 7 seconds.

The analysis of the user interface of the new version of content manager did not address the current problems of the operation and the indexing time would have increase to 22 seconds compare to the current time of 7 seconds.

Cognitive advice Royal Bank there are two options:

  1. To hire more employees to compensate the longer indexing time with the new version of Content Manager.
  2. Since the volume of commercial transaction is a fraction of volume process by the personal financial services division, and the imaging technology used by the personal financial service is less error prone, Royal Bank could mandate Personal Financial Service division to image both personal and commercial documents.

That last option was followed by the Royal bank saving them million of dollars that would have to be spent to upgrade Content Manager and hire more employees.

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