User-defined technologies hide risk at a tremendous cost and
are unsustainable in the digital battleground. For decades, users have relied
on standalone Excel-, Access-, or SQL query-based tools to manually manage
business processes at the peril of serious business risks.
In an effort to enhance customer experience, accelerate
client onboarding, and improve operational efficiency, financial firms are
launching multi-year digital transformation initiatives. This year alone has
spurred an increased need for digitalisation among the institutional financial
While the action being taken is commendable, firms will
continue to be plagued by operational inefficiency until they are able to fully
address the issue. In most cases, the reason digitalisation efforts are not
being realised is due to poor data quality and spreadsheet sprawl across an
Antiquated ways of working
The use of standalone Excel-, Access-, or SQL query-based
tools to manually onboard customers; aggregate, transform, enrich or reconcile
data; and manage business processes has been the standard for decades.
These tools are frequently responsible for performing
business-critical tasks or supporting the control functions that govern them.
The challenge is, over time, additional requirements have been established.
In order to meet the demand, operations users often rely on
their own manual spreadsheet or database to fill in the gaps instead of having
their IT department code a solution.
Workarounds lead to operational errors
This is where manual processes and workarounds enter the
scene. There are thousands of these tasks being done daily across the
enterprise without a documented version control, and with the typical
dependency on one or two staff members to perform the tasks, there is a high
risk of user error.
These workarounds also drain productivity. Prone to human
and operational errors, they often dramatically slow the onboarding of new
clients and products, resulting in reduced margins and poor customer service.
These manual tools feed core payments, compliance, and
accounting applications, so when the data that feeds into them is incorrect,
the problems compound and infiltrate all associated upstream processes. The
result is potentially serious reputational and monetary impact on an
Impact of manual processes
There are many high-profile examples of financial firms
losing millions, and sometimes billions, of dollars as a result of flawed
manual processes, further emphasising the need for establishing user-driven
data control and automation.
In addition to the risk organisations face, regulators are
also taking notice. Realising these manual tools lack auditability and control,
many have established fines or sanctions for noncompliance.
Automation is the answer
This regulatory pressure, combined with the urgency to
improve operational alpha by eliminating process inefficiencies and reducing
costs, is compelling firms to evaluate how these long-standing processes can be
By implementing an automation platform, financial
institutions are able to transition away from manual and spreadsheet-based
tasks and into automated business processes that operate in a controlled and
User-driven data control and automation deliver a standardised
solution with a single version of the truth, resulting in accurate reports that
afford key executives the ability to make sound business decisions.
As the world continues the shift to digital, the ways of
working within the financial industry must keep up with the demand. Automating
data control and business processes is a crucial step to propel financial firms
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