Balancing the increasing demands of the consumer market is no easy venture; customers expect information at their finger-tips, 7 days a week, at any given time; and this is only compounded when that information is about their finances. Meeting these demands, as well as internal pressures such as driving top-line growth, cost reduction, and organizational transformation requires acute management and agility. Only the organizations that can excel in both will reap the rewards.
The Finance sector are facing three key hurdles
The first, is that they are commonly operating legacy mainframes that cannot generate the depth and variety of information consumers are demanding. Historically, their solution has been to implement a new system that plugs the gap between machine and demand; only to find that this system can’t then action the next wave of consumer demands. What companies end up with is a network of disparate systems that have been acquired to handle niche operations and cannot interact with each other or produce information in the same format, in turn generating the need for people to intervene to migrate data, edit reports and synchronize information. Not only does this make for a long-winded process; but it makes for an expensive one that can only be completed within working hours of staff who should be completing value-adding tasks such as customer service. How can a company aim to cut costs, increase efficiencies and deliver exemplary customer service while competing with systems that inherently do not allow this? The answer is digitization.
The second factor is communication. Customers don’t just expect their data to be at their finger-tips: they expect you to be at their fingertips, ready to answer their questions and hear their concerns. They want to be able to connect with a representative through a multitude of different ways, to talk about an array of issues, at all times across any time zone. But believe it or not, being customer-centric is still a relatively new concept, especially for industries as well established as Financial Services.
The last factor is the costs of regulation and compliance. The financial crisis of 2008 is still affecting the ability of Financial Services and Insurance companies to perform efficiently. They are under intense regulatory scrutiny and this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. This pressure has already driven the current cost of regulation to around $1bn a year. Regulations will inevitably fluctuate. This lack of clarity compounds the fact that firms are already struggling to keep up. To address this, organizations need to commit fresh capital to meet local demand and revamp their current recovery plans. Where is the funding for this going to come from? They can’t continue to increase their cost base and hope for the top-line to be where they want it to be.
It is clear that the landscape of the Financial Services industry is undergoing a change, and in order stay afloat, companies must also look to restructure how they are operating and resourcing. Within this, it is imperative that any reorganization they make will stand the test of time and not be rendered redundant when the next paradigm shift takes place.
And that brings us to our title: How can Intelligent Automation help Financial Services companies to excel?
Intelligent automation—the combination of artificial intelligence and automation—is changing the way businesses operate by complementing and augmenting human capabilities, such as cognitive and social skills, with intelligent machines and software. This has already proved to be incredibly valuable within the Financial Services sector in sewing together disparate legacy systems as mentioned above. Virtual Workers are able to take information from one system and reproduce it within all other relevant applications to ensure that customer data is up to date within every department of the business and adheres to compliance. Additionally, Virtual Workers can handle all of the disparate data from these systems and amalgamate them in a way that makes them useful for the people analysing them. Tasks such as these typically entail an entire workforce of admin assistants and data scientists working to ensure all data is uniformed. Not only is this expensive, but it keeps employees tied down to mundane, repetitive tasks, when they could be undertaking greater value and customer service activities. By introducing Intelligent Automation, companies are unlocking capital in their own employees to help contribute to their goals of maximising profit and delivering top quality customer service.
Not only could Virtual Workers release capital and human soft skills, they also complete tasks free from human error. In doing so, they can significantly reduce your risk of error; helping you to ensure you are always acting within compliance laws. Their rule-based programming prohibits them from acting outside of the parameters set by the organization, meaning that there is no chance of them keying the wrong number, storing a file incorrectly or publishing incorrect figures. These rule-based algorithms also make a Virtual Workforce ideal for identifying fraud within an organization and its customer base. By recognizing information that lies beyond the realm of what it understands to be “ordinary”, a Virtual Worker can flag to a human employee any suspicious or fraudulent behaviours.
On top of this, Virtual Workers are not confined by time in the same way that human workers are, meaning that they can work around the clock, 7 days a week. The orchestration layer of the Virtual Workforce ensures that tasks are executed with minimum impact to consumers and that high importance tasks are completed first. In doing so, companies can be assured that relevant data will always be available as and when it is needed, regardless of the date and time. This also translates into customer care. Using more cognitive AI abilities such as Chatbots, OCR and NLP, the Virtual Workforce is able to handle customer service tasks, too. For example, Virtual Workers are able to analyze text using Natural Language Understanding and respond to enquiries by scanning the words and formulating an email response. In doing so, they can service clients all through the night and on bank holidays when your human employees are clocked off. Handling such aspects of your omni-channel also frees up staff to answer calls and deliver a higher quality of care to their customers.
For more information, take a look at our whitepaper: Redefining Business Resources – Financial Services and Insurance.