As established financial services firms face increasing competition with the emergence of nimble fintech rivals, many are looking for ways to make their internal processes more efficient.
Manual, paper-based workflows and processes are being examined and redesigned to improve staff productivity and boost levels of client service. Organisations recognise that failing to take these steps now could have dire consequences in the future.
To gain a perspective on the process challenges currently being experienced in the financial sector, Nintex commissioned a survey of companies across 12 countries. The results provide an insight into what is actually occurring and the impact this is having on day-to-day operations.
The survey results paint a sobering picture. Of all respondents, 61% reported that the majority of processes within their organisation are still manual or paper based and 62% confirmed they spend more than 10 hours each week dealing with them.
More than half (52%) of respondents said they believed a majority of business processes do not work effectively or are broken. At the same time 69% of those surveyed believe that broken processes affect their productivity while 58% said they lacked the tools required to automate their workflows.
Overcoming the process challenge
On a more encouraging note, the survey found that 70% of staff within financial-sector firms believe their organisation is very committed to taking the steps required to fix broken processes and 71% confirmed their organisation has an above-average ability to do this.
The survey also shone some light on the tools that companies are using to address the challenge of broken processes. The most popular were collaboration tools (nominated by 18% of respondents), workflow automation tools (15%) and eSignature tools (14%).
Respondents also responded positively when asked about the prevalence of process-efficiency tools across their organisation. An impressive 93% characterised their current use of technology as ‘mostly to extremely’ modern and efficient, while 85% said their organisation had successfully documented business processes.
When asked about usage of artificial intelligence and automation tools, 81% reported they were being used to a moderate or significant extent while 69% have established a process centre of excellence (COE).
Having a process COE gives an organisation a place where documentation of all processes can be held and regularly reviewed. It also provides a mechanism for staff to contribute ideas about how the processes they use in their roles every day can be improved.
Achieving effective process automation
The survey results clearly show that there are significant business benefits to be gained from the use of process automation tools and technologies. If the right tools are selected and deployed, they can also enable non-technical staff to automate workflows and make any changes that might be required.
Such low-code or no-code tools can also serve to take some of the pressure off an organisation’s IT department. Rather than having to respond to requests to change automated processes, responsibility can be handed over to the teams that are using them.
Process automation can have a significant and positive impact on workflow efficiency and go a long way to fixing any broken processes that may still exist. The result will be improved staff morale, better levels of customer service, and an enhanced ability to compete with new arrivals in the finance sector.
It should also be remembered that not all processes within an organisation need to be automated at once. Many teams find it easier and less disruptive to select a small number of core processes to begin and then build up that number over time.
Processes will remain at the heart of all finance-sector firms. Those that will enjoy the most success will be the organisations that take the steps needed to make those processes as efficient and effective as possible.