7 Signs You Should Invest In Business Process Automation for financial services
Financial services has come under huge pressure in recent years particularly since the financial crisis. Competition, silo’d business units, efficiency in operation and compliance are just a few key issues being raised. With efficiency and competitiveness hand-in-hand and customer service as a bi-product of this, business process management (BPM), has shown just how this solution has driven costs and overall resource efficiencies down.
1. Our processes are increasingly expensive and inefficient.
Disparate solutions, platforms and too long spent on manual tasks which could be more efficient through automation are key factors which spring to mind when considering business process automation. There is so much competition in the market for business process management automation software, it is hard to know what software to choose, or whether to choose any at all. However automation software can be tailored to suit your business needs. Making the solution bespoke can lead to affordable solutions that are customized within your budget and time pressures. Good solution providers will work with you to discuss your pain points and develop bespoke solutions to get the best out of your business process automation solution. Sparebanken Vest, a leading Norwegian bank faced similar challenges when moving away from Infopath. Seeking a solution which worked well with Microsoft solutions, Sparebanken Vest gained a proof of concept which was approved by the business and began to deploy over 50 bespoke automated processes ranging from mortgage and credit card applications to change of address requests across 54 branches.
2. Our current processes take too long and the lack of integration is enormous
This is common with business process automation systems that don’t integrate at all or enough, or legacy systems which have not been modernised or updated to BPM because of fears that BPM will mean losing all of these or the huge infrastructure task of implementing these updates. The truth is, good BPM solutions in finance are there to be integrated with your existing systems, and tie everything up to be much more streamlined. The concept behind business process automation is designed to shorten the timescales for tasks and be user-friendly. Plus, look out for those which offer add-on support packages to ease the load. Aegon (Hungary), a global provider of insurance solutions needed to reduce invoice approval time and gain visibility on the process. Aegon Hungary handled over 2000 invoices involving over 70 people. Each invoice required checking by up to 5 different people prior to processing payment. A time consuming process like this, let alone the movement of paper across desks, the entire process took weeks meaning delays in payments, or even worse, lost invoices. Looking for a solution which integrated well with Oracle, Aegon employed a solution which rolled out to a user base of over 200 employees. Now, when invoices are approved, the information is transferred directly from the automation solution to Aegon’s Oracle financial system for payment. The end result – invoices are now approved within an average of five to seven working days, completing invoice approvals 50% faster than before automation.
3. Staff are doing too many manual tasks but could be working on more business critical tasks
The actual fact is, staff efficiency is the end result with business process automation – removing the inefficient use of employee’s time on tasks that can be automated results in a huge improvement in productivity, morale, and staff can apply their skills and time to more business-critical functions. Island Savings, a Vancouver based credit union, employed a solution to reduce the inefficiencies in their mortgage origination process. Their previous process created more paperwork, missing information, too much time spent and huge financial wastage. By employing an automated solution, the time taken to originate a mortgage reduced from 3 days to 45 minutes.
4. I could do with a solution that reduces the load on me but I can control.
It’s completely reasonable to think that having the word “automation” means that there is no flexibility in the system to suit each business’ needs. You are stuck with some typical “off the shelf” product which you can’t change when you need to. The fact is, this is a real misconception; the automation part simply automates manual tasks with human judgement at decision junctions. This means the process owner can jump in and respond before any continuation of the process.
5. There are too many human errors wasting lots of resource time but automation could be difficult for employees to learn and adjust to.
This is so common and one of the key issues combined with just general operational efficiency that brings up the discussions for implementing these solutions. The training aspect of new software is always present in people’s minds, and the time and cost of transition and teething problems. However, automation is about simplifying processes and create a much simpler approach. And a good solution provider will always be able to integrate familiar platforms and line-of-business systems with your BPM solution. Take Sparebanken Vest for example, Island Savings or Aegon – the reduction of time taken to complete previously long processes and a much more efficient use of employees time, with less room for human error.
6. The scale of the solutions needed are large – we have so many process-led problems.
From small to multinational organisations, public, private and not for profit – The scale of your solution will depend on the size of your needs. Starting with the smallest process that needs the soonest attention is often a great way to become familiar with the process and how it can be supported. As discussed above, Island Savings employed a solution to reduce the inefficiencies in their mortgage origination process. The solution they needed was small in comparison to applying BPM across other areas of the business, but focused on the mortgage origination process since it was the company’s most expensive process. Mathematics showed that employing BPM could save them between $1.4 and $1.7M per year.
7. Do I actually need it?
This is clearly very subjective, and really depends upon your needs as a business and if it fits into your business model and visions. It all comes down to where can your business improve its processes; are they overly expensive, disparate, time-consuming? That said, not every company may feel they need it. Efficiency, scaling, and flexibility are key drivers to realising the need for process automation. Business process automation aims to make manual processes much more efficient and drive efficiency throughout the business.
For further information on Business Process Management (BPM), visit http://www.k2.com/financial-services. To see a live demo of BPM in action within financial services, register for our upcoming webinar on 30th June 2015 at 11a.m B.S.T with Lars Madsen at Sparebanken Vest.