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How the Financial Services Sector can effectively manage the Post-Information Age

How the Financial Services Sector can effectively manage the Post-Information Age 1

By Florian Winterstein, CEO at Jedox

AI & Big Data

During the Industrial Revolution, Frederick Taylor’s focus on management efficiency helped improve operational performance while maximising revenue. As a mechanical engineer and industrialist, he took a bold step toward incorporating technological advancement into the enterprise for the sake of efficiency. However, as we entered the Information Age, which yielded yottabytes of data, efficiency alone was no longer the measurement standard by which business could operate. We have long since landed in the Post-Information Age. Now the focus is on what to do with all of that data.

It is of utmost importance, particularly in the finance industry, to identify efficiently the right data at the right time and to effectively leverage them. Efficiency without effectiveness provides you with a well-run machine that gets you nowhere fast. Effective information management gives finance leaders the competitive advantage. Let’s look at some examples.

The Case of Loomis Turkey

Founded in 1852, Loomis has a long history of managing cash and supporting effective cash flow at banks, multi-location retailers, stores, and other commercial enterprises. Today Loomis offers comprehensive solutions for cash handling primarily to banks and retailers through 23,000 employees at 400 branches across more than 20 countries worldwide. The cash handling specialist officially entered the Turkish market with its constantly growing demand for cash and gold logistics. Loomis Turkey offers cash, jewelry and any valuable material handling, as well as money processing (counting, packing, arranging and storing banknotes), ATM supply and maintenance service in addition to alternative solutions such as smart case and electronic lock solutions.

Unmanageable operational data masses and restricted access to finance complicated reporting. Loomis Turkey has thousands of clients and tens of thousands of customer service points that accumulate huge amounts of operational data at the end of a very complex operation. The staff­ aimed to prepare management reports but only within inflexible, traditional methods. Their reporting capabilities were less efficient and effective as they could be.

Due to the complexity of the data and growing time constraints, the number of reports was limited and only accessible to a limited number of people. Loomis needed a real-time overview of their operational and financial data, such as KPIs and driver-based costs as well as connected data, to monitor all profitability and operational data from various perspectives. The machine needed not only to be oiled to a higher degree, but to be accessible to everyone for more effective handling of role-relevant information and conclusions.

Florian Winterstein

Florian Winterstein

Loomis Turkey chose our solution to optimise their corporate reporting processes and to better and more efficiently organise operational and financial data. Loomis now benefits from multi-dimensional reporting and planning at 39 brand offices across Turkey with increased transparency and access to all complex financial processes such that all regional managers in Loomis’ branch offices are able to closely monitor their specific financial and operational data. Moreover, they can access their budget vs. actuals comparisons with the push of a button. Checking the reports for real-time insights to support data-driven decision making has become a part of daily business processes that led to significantly increased operational e­ffectiveness and provided value beyond pulling data together in the right manner.

The Case of Standard Life

Standard Life, a UK-based publicly traded financial services company that serves over 1.3 million shareholders worldwide, sought to streamline its budgeting and planning. It found itself deep in spreadsheet chaos amongst €400 billion of assets. Their Excel-based solution was slow, difficult to manage and highly manual, we all know what it is to send spreadsheets back and forth, deal with versioning, etc. The company’s approach was neither efficient nor effective in its data management capabilities. While Standard Life had an existing data warehouse with web reporting, they had no real planning functionality. They needed an Excel integration tool to enable sophisticated budget planning whilst keeping the user paradigm to work with spreadsheets. Our implementation took only six weeks during which time they were able to secure an efficient self-service access across 450 clients in the organisation. After rolling out the budgeting solution, the Finance team developed monthly actual and plan cost centre reporting, forecasting adjustments, exception reporting, instant consolidations, ad-hoc queries and scenario planning complemented the seamless data flow with effective insights.

The Case of Lloyd Fonds

Another example comes from the investment industry. Lloyd Fonds is one of the leading providers of closed-end funds and structured investment products in Europe. Designers of the world’s first open-end ship fund, Lloyd Fonds also have asset classes as far reaching as real estate, aircraft, secondary market life insurance, portfolio funds, private equity, aircraft, and renewable energies.

They also provide ship management services, with a presence in all leading ship finance markets. With over 50,000 investors in 100 different share offers, Lloyd Fonds needed a comprehensive reporting solution, capable of providing instant data on worldwide assets throughout the organisation. We helped them gain immediate access to transparent, high quality data on a huge range of international assets.

They needed maximum flexibility to model their own business processes. Our solution provided ease-of-use and seamless Excel integration. Drawing source data from Excel, Lloyds immediately reported and analyzed operations costs, sales details, and o­ff-hire costs at a level of detail that was previously impossible. The Funds Management department now creates flexible analyses for departments instantly. The sales team, board, accounting, and business partners can access and drill-through real-time data from our experts. These efforts have saved Lloyd Fonds valuable time and cost by automatically creating folder directories and shipping documentation. This smarter business process considerably reduces manual work. It is both efficient and effective.

All three business cases illustrate the importance of focusing efforts to provide better business solutions and a path to navigate overwhelming amounts of data. Especially in times of uncertainty, the finance industry has to adapt to fast-paced changes. Agility, flexibility, and instant access to the right information have never been more crucial than today. It is no longer a question about data collection alone, but about how to consolidate it both efficiently and effectively and making more out of it than in past IT projects. Companies that are after the technical exercise of efficient data flows and reporting only are coming short compared to actual capabilities of effective digital solutions. This is what digitalisation done right brings to the table: reduced cycle times, increased cadence, scenarios, insights and decision support that simply wasn’t available beforehand, in short: it offers a real competitive advantage.

 

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