12 Nov 2010

Improving Operational Processes: Part 1 – Inefficiencies in the Banking Industry Costing as Much as 30% Extra

Business Integration specialists can automate many costly, time-consuming business processes in back-, middle-, and front-office operations can save companies time and money.

In today’s economy, businesses are looking for ways to cut costs now more than ever. While payroll and other expenditures are typically the most obvious – albeit difficult – areas in the budget that companies look at cutting first, operational inefficiencies in the back-, middle-, and front-office often offer some of the most hidden yet favourable cost cutting opportunities for businesses on a budget.

And the key to long term cost reduction and creating a competitive advantage? The answer is simple – automation.

Due to the constant evolution of successful enterprises, operational processing quickly degrades into becoming inefficient, unproductive, and costly, with IT and managerial business stakeholders constantly developing manual “work arounds” for data entry and other functions that are never addressed and quickly become the operational status quo.

Adding to this, many IT departments simply do not have the resources to develop and implement new solutions that can automate these inefficient back office processes. Or, at the very least, these solutions can take years to get off the ground.

New Regulation Challenges in the Financial Industry

Back office functions are ripe for improvement in highly regulated markets, such as the financial service industry, where strict regulations challenge IT departments to rapidly adjust business processes. Often times, there is little time to think through and implement an automated, efficient data sharing process that can save time and money while adhering to strict new regulations.

For example, new accounting regulations often force the back-office operations of trading firms to capture, record, and report new trade information to governing bodies. Given the sheer trade volume of the world’s busiest financial institutions, even a small bit of information demanded by new regulations can slow down business processes, create inconsistent and inaccurate data, and involve more time and personnel to enter and correct these data demands.

Another area of inefficiency in the financial industry can be found in processes that involve a paper trail. In the UK, for example, where customers often have  often have to update or close accounts by written letter that in turn has to be processed manually by a team of data entry specialists, financial institutions find these paper-based “customer journeys” to be fragmented and fraught with inaccurate data. This, in turn, leads to faulty customer service levels and errors that can cost customers as well as the business money in the short and long term alike.

The Technological Answer to Operational Inefficiencies


The forward-thinking technology and business intelligence behind business integration specialisation, however, has proven to be a truly effective tool in both identifying wasteful operational business processes and implementing automated solutions that dramatically improve efficiency and productivity. In the case of a new trading regulation that requires banking firms to enter new data for every trade, business integration can eliminate the need for traders to spend the extra time and potentially inaccurate method of pasting critical data into a spreadsheet or passing the task on to a data entry specialist. Instead, a middleware solution can pull that data automatically from the trade and associate it with the appropriate trade document so that the company remains in compliance with the new regulation.

The same holds true for the other abovementioned example.

In the case of a faulty or cumbersome paper-based business process, business integration technology can replace the requirement for a written letter by using effective data capture and data integration.  A simple web-based form could be used to capture the request and business integration middleware could be used to integrate with a myriad of downstream IT systems.  The automation this process eliminates the need to hire a team of workers to process paper letters. In addition, all communication as well as changes to a particular are fully integrated across IT, eliminating the occasion for slow customer service and errors.

While technology seems to universally cover every aspect of business processes these days, there is still a remarkable number of back-, middle-, and front-office operational processes that are still dominated by manual or outdated methods, leading to a waste in time, money, and resources. But bringing in business integration experts to analyze business processes can be the first step to realizing how quickly and easily these inefficiencies can be rendered efficient.

Interested in hearing more about how business integration can streamline the operational business processes in your own company’s back-, middle-, or front-office? Find out more about how Integrella can deliver solutions similar to the ones discussed in this article!

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