Skip to main content
Illustration: A series of purple website screens with various graphs and icons sits on a light pink honeycomb background symbolizing Ally's use of engineering to reduce cognitive load.

Engineering with Excellence and Reducing Cognitive Load

Ally nurtures innovation by encouraging our employees to put themselves in the customer’s shoes, regardless of whether customers are internal or external — everyone is a customer. Innovation often begins with an individual or a team asking questions, such as — How can we make a process more efficient? How can we address a recurring issue? What would make this product more user-friendly for our Ally customers? By encouraging a work atmosphere that is personable, friendly, and inclusive, we purposely create an environment where it is safe for an individual to speak up and to fearlessly share new ideas — ideas that can improve an internal process or promote a product that results in a more pleasant user experience.

In this article, we explain how one team’s innovation helped to meet a critical business need while reducing the overhead required to support it. Specifically, we developed a platform that automates the business process document creation flow, capturing processes and procedures, along with screenshots and text. By leveraging this simple, open-source, automated documentation software tool, versus conventional writing methods, teams have found an efficiency gain of ~40%.

Manual versus Automated Documentation

According to an exercise performed by the company Rocket Docket Legal Software, they compared traditional documentation methods with an automated system and discovered that the traditional methods used to create a new document required, on average, three hours with an average of six errors in punctuation, spellings, omissions or printing, whereas the same document created using an automated software greatly reduced the creation of documentation by about two-thirds with 100% accuracy. To further emphasize the need to drive towards more automation, Gartner reminds us that the “benefits are compelling — automation improves accountability, efficiency, and predictability, while reducing cost, variability and risk.”

Understanding a business process is one of the first and key steps in identifying whether or not a process can or should be automated. Business teams must perform the same process multiple times during an automation lifecycle and must ensure the current process is accurately captured and documented; starting from the point of analysis followed by each successive stage of development. Previously, the process capture was performed manually, which slowed down the intake and resulted in loss of information between various meetings. To resolve this problem, we determined a process capture tool was needed.

After researching existing process capture and automated documentation products readily available on the market, we decided that the expense related to the initial purchase, maintenance, and yearly licensing was cost prohibitive. After careful consideration, we felt that we could design our own software tool at a fraction of the cost and avoid licensing fees as well as dependence on a third-party for updates and maintenance.

Streamlining Business Processes

At Ally, the Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence (CoE) team has responded to the need for automation by creating a process capture software solution referred to as the Automated Business Process Capture and Documentation (ABC Doc) tool.

The tool captures a business process automatically. As you go about your daily work, ABC Doc works in the background and creates documentation in real time, by generating a document in a Microsoft Word format.

This unique software allows the user to pause and resume the documentation at any time during the capture process. The ABC Doc solution is simple and lightweight with an intuitive user interface. Its use has resulted in a significant improvement in the speed and accuracy of documentation and overall cost savings.

Tangible Benefits and Value-Add

After developing this tool, we concluded there were specific scenarios that, if effectively addressed utilizing ABC Doc, meaningful benefits could be realized.


  • Technology Operations Documentation — Runbooks, backup or disaster recovery steps, project documentation, requirement gathering

  • Business Operations Documentation — Training materials, governance, process improvement opportunities, knowledge transfer procedures

  • Process Improvement Opportunities — Knowledge transfer, new hire onboarding, Risk and Audit responses


  • User Interface — Intuitive and accessible, requiring no technical knowledge to utilize

  • Editability — Output as a Word document can be edited before sharing

  • Audit Support — Satisfies requests by providing real-time evidence (e.g., users on a system, kind of access is provided to a type of user)

  • Knowledge Management — Quickly and easily captures standard operating procedures and processes

The impact within Ally has been felt in a variety of ways:

  • Team-Level Efficiency — ~ 40% to create a document that included both text and screen captures

  • Onboarding — Reduction in vendor onboarding specifically with extensibility to employee / team level

  • Internal Engagement — 500+ active ABC Doc users within Ally

  • External Engagement — Open-source community users contributing new features and make updates and maintenance more efficient

Available to All

We found that there is currently no comparable tool available in the market and, since it was built using Python open-source libraries, saw an excellent opportunity to give back to the broader community by open-sourcing it. Anyone can access and configure the tool via

Additionally, due to the simple interface and level of applicability across technology and business teams, internally we’ve made the software available to everyone via the Software Catalogue. Innovations like this, fostered and promoted by curious employees and empowering leadership, are helping transform how we do work at Ally and we hope it can help you all be (even) better as well.

Interested in joining Ally's team of talented technologists to make a difference for our customers and communities? Check outAlly Careersto learn more.