By Chris Huff, Chief Strategy Officer, Kofax
As financial institutions focus on achieving business growth, they're gravitating towards digital transformation as a lever to improve and scale operations. In doing so, they're enabling exciting new business initiatives, including several that will help them increase revenue, enhance customer service quality and streamline service delivery.
For instance, consider the 'Future of Work' initiative, which has the potential to impact all three areas. The Future of Work is about finding the right balance between employee satisfaction and the new wave of digital workforce capacity created through converged automation and AI technologies. That includes ensuring every customer interaction is easy, impactful and satisfying – helping to build loyalty and drive long-term value. It's about driving productivity and accuracy to be more compliant to regulation and policy, and/or more agile in the face of competitive threats. Ultimately, it means removing friction by hyper-connecting an organisation (its people and customers) to transform how work gets done and service is delivered.
Initiatives like the 'Future of Work' are promising. And yet, modern business problems like customer loyalty and employee satisfaction won't entirely be solved with a single standalone technology. Instead, they'll require a combination of technologies. Gartner has identified this approach as 'Hyperautomation' and named it their number one tech trend of 2020. Financial institutions will need to do more than automate single pockets of work using Robotic Process Automation (RPA), AI or analytics. To truly remove friction and connect operations end-to-end, organisations should integrate all of these capabilities into a single platform.
In other words, financial institutions will benefit most by taking a holistic approach to their digital transformation initiatives. They should focus on the entire process: from customer engagement and onboarding in the branch, online or via mobile phone, all the way to back-office processes such as loan approval, underwriting and loan closing.
Intelligent automation plays an important role in integrating the key technologies necessary to transform this business journey. As banks evaluate integrated automation platforms, they should keep this three-tier mantra in mind: the technology should be simple enough for a line of business to own and operate; it should be enterprise-grade to gain CIO approval; and it should be openly architected and orchestrate across an ecosystem of disparate data, systems and people to drive greater speed-to-value.
Integrated Automation Simplifies Operations
Banks can accelerate digital transformation by deploying intelligent automation solutions that use technologies like machine learning to transform unstructured data into machine-readable formatted data and actionable insights. Organisations can choose automation platforms with embedded AI that smartly recognises people, content and context. Integrated automation such as this simplifies operations and creates efficiencies that ripple throughout the bank's operations.
For example, when entire operations are automated, bank employees and customers enter less data, and receive process confirmations and alerts from an automated platform. Customers experience near real-time, frictionless transactions that allow for self-service from any channel. This type of transformation means employees work more effectively and better serve customers.
Harnessing integrated technologies to work smarter not only simplifies how work gets done, it also succeeds in solving the modern business problems named above. For instance, according to a global Forbes Insight survey, 73 percent of respondents in financial services have seen an improvement in customer satisfaction between 5 and 25 percent due to process automation.
Intelligent Automation Available as a Single, Integrated Platform
Although financial institutions have transitioned to customer-facing tools like mobile and online banking, many still don't have fully automated operations. Banks, just like any other organisation, depend on numerous processes to get things done, from onboarding new customers to approving loan applications and complying with regulations.
Even in the digital age, though, many of these processes are still paper-based and manual. In fact, the Forbes Insights survey found a quarter of business operations are still completely or mostly manual, while another 37 percent are a mix of manual and automated.
The challenge is that although standalone RPA tools automate rules-based tasks, enterprise business processes are made up of many tasks. Intelligent automation brings together complementary technologies such as RPA, Process Orchestration, Cognitive Capture, Advanced Analytics, and Mobility and Engagement. When these technologies are integrated on a single platform, banks can automate the entire process journey – from content capture and data injestion to Process Orchestration and Advanced Analytics.
Integrated Automation Is Economical
Financial institutions also want to automate their end-to-end business operations in a way that scales to the needs of the business and is economical. They don't want to be forced to procure multiple solutions from myriad vendors and support a complex implementation to achieve business goals. This approach is costly and difficult to manage. It's also less likely to increase employee satisfaction, enhance customer service quality, or streamline service delivery.
Today's financial institutions can't afford the time, resources or inconvenience of buying separate capture, RPA, e-signature, analytics, workflow tools, etc. A solution that strings together pockets of digitally transformed operations isn't a "Future of Work" initiative. It's a stop-gap measure – and a potentially expensive one. Intelligent automation eliminates the complexity and cost of managing dozens of standalone technologies.
With this three-tiered mantra for intelligent automation as a guide, financial institutions will accelerate their digital transformation and start reaping the benefits, such as higher customer satisfaction, increased productivity, and improvements in employee satisfaction. It will also help them find the required balance between humans and the digital workforce, so they can start working like tomorrow – today.