By Vijay Kurkal, CEO at Resolve
As financial services were hit with a peak in activity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, over half of business leaders in the sector believe that their IT infrastructure hindered their response to pandemic-related challenges, according to a recent Gartner survey. The fallout from the pandemic continues to place additional strain on IT systems as firms seek to deliver government-backed financial support while coping with the ever-increasing surge in online banking and contactless payments.
While presenting many challenges, COVID-19 has also served as a catalyst for change within the industry. Many banks are making major updates to their operating models in order to adapt, drive efficiency and become more resilient while digital transformation initiatives are being fast-tracked to manage the surge in digital traffic and help enable better customer experience. In fact, Gartner also found that 65% of financial services CIOs plan to increase infrastructure spending, with 50% highlighting automation as a key area for investment. This is a strong indication that executive decision makers are focusing on smart IT investments for the future, which is welcome news for overstretched IT teams.
Enhancing productivity with automation
One of the most universal benefits of automation is that it frees up time that employees would have spent on repetitive tasks, reducing the support loads that service desks face and allowing people to focus on more strategic digital transformation initiatives. While the past year was financially challenging for many businesses, investing in automation helps future-proof the business by ensuring resilience and continuity for years to come. This rings especially true within an industry as ripe for disruption as financial services – research from Exton Consulting indicates that there was an internet-only bank launched every five days somewhere in the world over the last two years.
With many more people and businesses dependent on online banking than ever before, financial firms must keep their services running smoothly. Intelligent automation can help streamline many processes to trigger a chain reaction of benefits. For example, automation can be integrated with chatbots to enhance IT support for internal users and customers alike. Performing proactive health checks automatically helps prevent network downtime. By automating routine IT maintenance, like patch management, financial services firms can minimise risk and get their services back online faster in the event of an outage. This is particularly valuable for businesses looking to drive economic recovery where the inability to accept digital payments for any amount of time is highly consequential.
Additionally, capturing and encoding tribal knowledge in automations ensures operations run smoothly no matter what unexpected circumstances may arise. And if there’s one lesson that’s been driven home more than any other by the pandemic, it’s that we must expect the unexpected.
Increasing operational efficiency with AIOps
While intelligent automation unlocks an array of benefits for financial service providers, adding AIOps (AI for IT Operations) helps further solve some of the most pressing issues by applying machine learning to aggregate, analyse, and contextualise immense amounts of data from a wide variety of sources. Overworked financial firms’ IT teams can get immediate relief with a single pane of glass view into dynamic IT environments, bringing data together in one place to radically improve efficiency.
UK Government research shows that IT incidents in financial firms’ systems can occur for a multitude of reasons – from cyberattacks and application issues to process failures and human error – with the root cause never being found in 5% of cases. AIOps can help by correlating events to reduce alarm noise and highlighting the real problems. This information can be used to pinpoint the root cause of issues while remediating automations can be triggered to fix them.
Some AIOps solutions also offer auto-discovery and dependency mapping capabilities that deliver powerful full-stack visibility into devices and their dynamic relationships, which further streamlines incident management, change management, and capacity planning. Not only does this ensure business continuity, but it opens up additional opportunities for staff to focus on strategic transformation initiatives that provide a competitive edge.
With many challenges from the past year in hindsight, it’s clear that investing in technologies that enhance business efficiencies, future-proof digital services and help support resilience is absolutely necessary. Automation and AIOps are powerful tools for financial services firms seeking to improve customer experience and build more agile organisations poised to lead in the digitally connected future.