Credit Suisse improves legal team operations with cloud time tracking software

Credit Suisse is using software as a service provider Replicon’s time management solution to increase the efficiency of its legal and compliance shared service, also helping to meet requirements for numerous banking regulations.

As part of its workforce of 35,000 global staff, financial firm Credit Suisse has around 2,600 members of its general counsel division delivering services to the front office. Three quarters of the division are lawyers, with the remainder in compliance officer roles.

Management information was previously collated manually using Excel spreadsheets, which made it difficult for Credit Suisse management to extract useful information in order to give an accurate and overview of work being completed in various projects. This made it difficult to plan future projects, with problems for senior staff gaining an overview of costing.

In order to improve the efficiency of its operations and management of general counsel projects, Credit Suisse implemented a cloud time management tracking solution from US firm Replicon, implementing the software in November. Starting in the EMEA region, the rollout of the software was expanded to the whole of the Swiss firm's global business by March this year.

The Replicon Shared Services software allows general counsel staff to input data detailing time spent on tasks, also pulling in employee information from its PeopleSoft HR system in a one-way data transfer. This has allowed the division and the wider organisation to gain greater visibility into the cost of the shared services that the general counsel provides to the rest of the organisation.

By using the Replicon software as a service system, Credit Suisse aims to improve its ability to view how much time was being spent on individual tasks, allowing the firm to identify any problems by easily comparing between offices on a regional level.

For example a time tracking tool would help the general counsel in discussions around budgeting, exhibiting work done in its role supporting the front office function of bankers. It could also help identify bottlenecks where projects were taking much longer in one region, and allocate resources where necessary.

Another use of the software is around collating data to be given to finance industry regulators, in order to exhibit the investment the company has made in complying to regulations. This means recording time spent on the design and deployment of rules such as Dodd-Frank and Basel III within the organisation.

“We are now in discussions about how we can tell the regulators that we spent a certain amount of hours or days on a certain areas of compliance, and be able to justify that the work is being done on the control site,” Mirko Alessandro Consolascio, Credit Suisse vice president for General Counsel, told ComputerworldUK.

“We are still in an embryonic phase with this and we are collecting the data so we can build these cases. It is going to be something for the future in terms of being used to show what is being done to justify what is being done around regulatory tasks.”

The Replicon time management system was chosen for a number of reasons, Consolascio said. One of the benefits was the lower cost of introducing a cloud solution compared to on-premise, while using a Saas system hosted on Replicon’s Calgary-based servers allowed the software to be easily rolled out and extended across the various regions the bank operates in.

Replicon, headquartered in Silicon Valley, recently announced a push into EMEA markets for its cloud time tracking systems. The firm unveiled its new office in the UK earlier this month, headed up by Adam Walker, previously of Epicor Software and Netsuite.

Other existing customers include Moody's, Facebook and Associated Press.

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