New Product Approval (NPA) is a three-stage process through which a financial institution's (FI’s) line of business (LoB) tries to get approval for launching a new product or service. The value of a governance process such as NPA cannot be underestimated as it provides a risk based, rigorous, time bound, and recorded means for evaluating an initiative before it is launched. Also included in the overall governance process is the post-facto analysis of the initiative after it has been implemented for a stipulated period (say one year). Capturing relevant information related to Return on Investment (ROI) and expenses/costs at the pre- and post- stages of an NPA process allows for analytics to be generated on how initiatives are performed pre-facto and post-facto and are stacked against each other. Other analytics include the performance of the approval process, the risk–reward measurements, performance of various approvers, and so on. While it is highly recommended that workflow and entitlement intensive NPA processes be always automated, it is not always so. Traditional NPA platforms are built around Word documents and Excel sheets, piecemeal and fragmented processes as well as hard-coded processes and user experiences. These do not always get the budgets and technology commitments that an NPA platform deserves but there is great merit in engineering an NPA platform to modern techniques and technologies. The objective of this paper is to articulate these next-generation features and how they are essential for an effective, timely, and ultimately ROI- enhancing NPA process.  


To facilitate an appreciation of the key features required in an NPA platform, it helps to first set the stage for what constitutes the NPA process. While initiatives are mostly specific to an LOB, such as launching a new product, a new campaign, a new customer touch activity, launching a new branch; there are also cross-LOB initiatives, such as where a bundled product or service is being offered(e.g. a package of a deposit account, a card, and a revolving loan).

There are four principle roles in the NPA process:

  • NPA Lead: This role creates the initiative and takes it through all the key stages. An initial risk assessment of the initiative is performed by the lead.
  • NPA Partner: This role is the intermediary between the lead and the functional reviewers and committee members. The partner completes the final risk assessment following discussions with the functional reviewers.
  • Functional reviewers: Set of legal, compliance, IT, and operations roles that assess the initiative and provide final approvals with pre-conditions and post-conditions.
  • Committee members: Set of executive management roles responsible for offline discussions with the NPA partner and functional reviewers. These generally have read-only access to the NPA platform and the actual updates to the initiative are done by the NPA partner.

There are three key stages in the NIBIA process:

  • Opportunity Assessment (OA): An initial test is performed on the initiative to validate whether it needs to go through this stage. Also, an assessment is done whether AML checks need to be performed or not. The NPA lead creates the initiative with a detailed description, initial risk assessment, and financial forecasts and uploads all supporting documents. Once the NPA Partner reviews the opportunity and assesses whether it is time sensitive and needs additional reviewers, the opportunity is ready for proceeding to the next stage if it meets the hurdle benchmarks. Otherwise, the initiative is withdrawn.
  • NPA Approval (NPA): This is the stage where the initiative is taken through an approval process for implementation. Key steps here include a very detailed risk assessment, functional reviews, and a final review by committee members. Each pre-conditions and post-conditions for go-live which are binding on the initiative. For pre-live conditions, these have to be addressed by the NPA lead prior to the final approval being obtained. Post go-live, conditions are put in place for the final stage.
  • Post-Implementation Review (PIR): After a stipulated period, the implemented initiative is reviewed by the NPA lead and NPA partner to assess whether the post-go-live performance of the initiative matches pre-go-live forecasts. Post go-live conditions are also evaluated and actions are taken if required.


Having briefly described the purpose and flow of an NPA platform, the key features needed in an NG-NPA platform and their intended benefits are stated as follows:

  • Customizable workflows and user interfaces (UI) driven by business rules for alternate flows, form decisions, and routing to users : Workflows can be tuned to change steps depending upon LOBs. While a master process template is ideal bringing in tremendous flexibility, UIs can be generated using 4GT techniques (drag-drop) and are easier to change again contributing to flexibility. Another important element is the entitlement-based access to menus and form fields and the ability to enable/disable forms sections based on conditions. (If AML checks are needed, that section can be enabled). Finally, since NPA flows are routed to users depending upon selections and conditions (e.g. if time-sensitive, additional reviewers), routing to user groups becomes important. Some of this flexibility can be built into traditional software but this level of flexibility, which reduces TCO and facilitates effectiveness (the full benefits of automation) is a big benefit.
  • Collaboration (especially offline in committees) and process joins: A truly state-of-the-art Business Process Management (BPM) solution would allow for offline collaboration and ability to allow for the results and conclusions to be posted into the overall process. This is critical for an NPA platform as quite a bit of the approval process, between the NPA partner and committees, happens offline from the system. Also important is synchronization/process-joins of multiple functional reviewers on the system when they provide approvals—these must all be processed into the next step once they are all provided and complete.
  • Case management: The OA, NPA, and PIR processes use a large amount of common initiative related data. Use of a good case management paradigm allows for an object-oriented method of sharing data. This makes for lower programming, modeling, and error-rectification costs.
  • SLAs: Since the NPA supports the creation and implementation of business initiatives, it is vital that the platform support their timely creation and approval. Having an NG platform that allows definition and monitoring/alerting on their breach ensures that tracking and performance of the NPA processes is optimal ensuring that first mover, competitive, and customer behavior-related opportunities are addressed on time.
  • Dash-boarding, Document management, and Mobility: Most of these benefits are self-explanatory; the first provides better MIS, which makes for better and timely decision making. The second one enhances a workflow solution to be truly well-rounded and cover an essential document-handling feature of NPA platforms. The last one is a key requirement of modern day user paradigms, which is the ability to operate from tablets, notepads, and mobile phones (providing approvals, review comments etc.).


Mphasis provides services (consulting, technology, and process outsourcing) around NPA platforms and processes. Some of these can:

  • Define or re-engineer business processes
  • Define the Request For Proposal(RFP) processes and documents and support the RFP process
  • Write business requirements, functional requirements, and build POCs
  • Evaluate vendors (workflow tools, NPA tools)
  • Implement or upgrade an NPA platform against chosen toolsets (full waterfall software life-cycle or parts of it)
  • Provide and review operations support for NPA creation.