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November 23, 2015
Process modernization & consolidation: automation in financial services
By: Jason Wojahn
Service mangement for financial services

Automation has positively impacted businesses across all industries. Today I'd like to review some of the best ways I've seen financial services firms apply automate and modernize processes across the enterprise by taking a service management approach.

PROCESS OPTIMIZATION TO INCREASE EFFICIENCIES

Many financial institutions have locations around the globe, and that creates a complex network of users with different needs to support. Consolidating these support processes helps staff better react to and prioritize changing needs, which ultimately improves service delivery. These improvements come in many forms, most notably increased efficiencies, which leads to reduced costs and a better experience for customers.

For example, one bank with which I worked recently optimized internal service delivery by consolidating and automating several disparate products and workflows, including credit check and pricing engines from different bank groups, into a single application workflow. The process went from taking three days and registering 30% on time completion to taking ten minutes or less and registering near 100% on time completion, checking off the boxes for improvements in efficiency, cost and experience. Win-win-win.

RISK MANAGEMENT TO STAY AHEAD OF THE UNEXPECTED

Modernizing processes around risk management is another huge area of focus for financial services firms. Making improvements in this area can help firms more quickly and accurately identify top risks for unplanned outages to better prepare for the fallout should those risks surface.

This type of improvement is especially useful in financial services when the risk management processes are designed to account for differences in things like location, risk type and frequency compared to what’s considered “the norm.”

ENHANCED REGULATORY TRACKING & MEASUREMENT TO MAINTAIN COMPLIANCE

Given the strict regulations facing the financial services industry, the ability to quickly identify assets and the relationships between them is extremely important for firms. It’s also essential for firms to be able to demonstrate the value of assets and to have a plan in place for occurrences like a server refresh. Furthermore, financial industry auditors and regulators are always looking for documented processes that are airtight, especially with the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the US looking over everything related to consumer lending.

One firm with which I recently worked found a lot of value in this area when it recognized that expanding its IT processes across the entire organization could help it better meet compliance standards specific to the banking sector. By creating a system of record for all of its assets and CI data stored in its CMDB, the firm found it could identify assets more quickly. In turn, this change allowed IT to retain greater control over these assets and all of the related information, providing an “insurance policy” for regulated company data.

THE APPLICATIONS FOR (AND BENEFITS OF) SERVICE MANAGEMENT ARE FAR-REACHING

These are just three examples of many that showcase how financial services firms can transform operations in the cloud. In general, institutions in all sectors of financial services are facing significant disruption as customer expectations continue to change and the need to transition off of outdated technology becomes increasingly critical. In the midst of these changes, it’s essential for firms to look beyond external-facing processes and technology in an effort to better understand how internal processes and services impact their overall operations as well. The firms who can do that will position themselves for true transformation.

The applications for service management extend to all areas of the enterprise and to all kinds of industries. Perhaps the only thing more far-reaching than the use cases for this approach to service automation is the benefits that introducing it can provide. 

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