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01 05

Overview

This project consisted in supporting the tax payment exception process of the overall Tax Transformation initiative at CoreLogic. The current tax payment exception process is a batch-oriented, manual process where information is shipped to clients as a mainframe data report file. Sometimes it takes weeks for clients to send a file back to let CoreLogic know what to pay. These files are imported into an local database to determine what to do next.

The purpose of this project is to enable clients and CoreLogic to seamlessly work payment exceptions together so that the current status is always known for a given exception. As a result of this initiative, the main goals we aimed were: Improved client experience, Faster cycle times and Reduced expenses.

02 05

The work

By the end of the first iteration, the team was able to map the most common tax exemptions, workflows and processes into user journeys and system maps to understand the overall flow as well as all the participants and actors. This video describes the outcomes from the first round of user testing and users' first impressions of the prototype.

I want to see the prototype!

03 05

The Process

The kickoff

CoreLogic is a leading global property information, big data and technology solutions provider. It focuses on providing financial, property and consumer information, analytics and business intelligence. The company analyzes information assets and data to provide clients with analytics and customized data services.

The team and the key stakeholders officially kicked off the project with an all-day kickoff meeting to identify the problem statement, prioritize goals & risks, map out stakeholders/leaders and users, generate proto personas, and discuss the technical landscape and constraints. The final problem statement that the team agreed on was "as a data processor, given tax amounts presented, I have a problem with time processing because I'm waiting for information before starting to work and there are different medium formats".

Also, we talked about the main goals to achieve during this first iteration such as the increase in client adoption, have consistency and unify the current process and enhance collaboration and transparency across the business units.

We continued working on understanding the current process from inside so I facilitated a process mapping exercise to delineate the high-level steps for the process between the tax file creation and payment decision from the perspective of participant systems, clients, human interaction and system integration. We were able to reveal and identify the inputs and outputs to/from the UI solution that will be developed.

Browser & Metrics Discussion

Another key piece in this discovery phase was to review and understand the current metrics from an usage and system perspective. After having all the needed material we dived into the sea of analytics and we had a discussion around the more specific metrics to track and target for the kickoff goals. The key outcomes from that discussion were: Internet Explorer (IE10 as standard) was the most used browser to access the main processing system with a total of 77% of users followed by Chrome (13%) and then Firefox (10%).

Another key result of reviewing this analytics is that we were able to define a draft of KPI's for metrics identified at kickoff such as the number of people working on payment decisioning, number of local databases, convert processes to "software-based" customization rather than "people-based"customization, percent of decisions that happen in an automated fashion and shrink tax payment file process to 1 day.

Stakeholder/Leader Interviews

We approached the business to re-calibrate expectations, concerns and main business goals for this project. We conducted several interviews and we discovered a set of main pain points and desires from this group which, were completely aligned with the priorities for this first MVP (Minimum Viable Product). As a summary, the team and the stakeholders were really focus on minimizing and removing manual interventions (wherever possible), more effective data transfer with improved accuracy, better prompts and alerting when action is required, more visibility and communication around workflow status from end-to-end.

User interviews and Synthesis

The team captured key insights from user interviews on sticky notes and grouped like takeaways across sessions. As natural patterns emerged through interview progression, the team collected insights into key themes for pain points, needs/wants, and general information specific to users or systems.

The collective feedback across tax file processors (both internal and external clients) informed the creation of a set of themes that were common across multiple users that could be addressed with an effective solution.

Using the user research insights from the interviews with internal staff and clients, the team brainstormed problems the users experience as they process tax files and make payment decisions. The main problems identified were the 1 by 1 type of processing, repeating similar tasks over and over, multiple places to get the data and referencing custom rules and specific codes by client.

The research conducted with users enabled the development of a validated user persona that includes updated demographics, motivations, frustrations, goals, and preferred communication channels.

Design Studio and First Prototype

Since we had a team with strong knowledge on business rules and technical background, we decided to conduct a Design Studio activity to start the visual comps with the leverage of the knowledge and insights from the user interviews and the experience of the internal people in our team.

Based on the artwork from the team members, I was able to start my initial wireframes and mockups to have them ready for the first set of user testing.

Based on the feedback we got in the first round of user interviews, we realized we were missing a lot of secondary steps, components that supported the external systems and business unit core processes and small UI / usability issues that were corrected once we started to see the pattern thanks to the user centered design approach we applied.

04 05

The Challenges

During these Discovery and Framing stages, we learned a lot from a business and user perspective. Not only we acquire the knowledge of how business works and what are the main priorities regarding the products and key elements that feed the main strategy of the product owners but also, we learned from the main actors the current way things work. It was very difficult to get ahold of most of external users based on the fact that the operational piece of the business is very demanding.

Another challenge that we faced was discovering the multiple artifacts and trickled down structure of how the information is being processed. We spent a lot of time talking with solutions architect, subject matter experts, analysts, people in the field and instructors to educate us and gave us the whole picture of the process. This learning curve was represented in the first version of the prototype were we created some user confusion around the steps in the primary flows from the prototype that were corrected in the next iterations.

05 05

The results

5interviews

Internal Tax Processors

3interviews

external services clients

1prototype

as the result of research

The research part of this project is still on-going just to finalize the integration of the last pieces of the overall tax file processing workflow. We included more functionality based on the interviews and priorities such as bulk actions for executing the process, grouping / sorting / and search and an option to export files as spreadsheets and PDFs for future reporting work.

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