In the years following the Great Recession, many financial institutions were bogged down with compressed margins, slow revenue growth, high overhead, and costly legacy systems. It all helped contribute to the rise of Fintechs, and Fintechs have been disrupting almost every conceivable area in Financial Services ever since.
To remain competitive, financial institutions began their Digital Transformation journey to make workflow and processes automation improvements. Many started off with simple tasks, digitizing analog processes, but that wasn’t truly transforming the business. Along came a once in a century pandemic and suddenly what was once inconceivable for traditional financial institutions became reality: work can and must be done remotely. Workflow and process automation projects that were low priority or time and cost intensive were being greenlighted and getting done in a matter of weeks. The pursuit of efficiency remains a top priority as no financial institution can afford to sit still and not continuously transform. The alternative would be to face the grim prospects of not being able to compete.
All financial institutions will need to increase investment in digital transformation initiatives in order to respond to consumer expectations and newer business models. Financial executives get excited about improving customer-facing digital workflows due to the brand and financial opportunities. Executives should be equally excited about the positive impact of digitizing workflows on employee collaboration, productivity, and morale. Improving or reinventing back-office processes through digitization and hybrid work have significant potential to accelerate digital transformation. These processes need to be prioritized and the justification is apparent.
According to Forrester Consulting, moving from paper processes to fully digital creates a 420% ROI after three years. The financials are clear and the pandemic has forced institutions to rethink all delivery of financial services and the nature of work. Deloitte’s global survey indicates technology budgets to expected to rise 13.7% in 2022, due to so many pressing needs. Redesigning business execution to take advantage of the benefits of a Hybrid Workforce and the opportunity to improve Sales and Service Collaboration will help financial institutions streamline business workflows, lower cost, and improve profitability.
While there is an expectation that employees in the financial industry may return to the office more so than other industries, it is clear hybrid work is staying. There is no one size fits all for the industry nor within a company, as there are unique requirements for different lines of business. Regardless, companies need to invest so employees can connect securely to corporate and cloud resources and collaborate with colleagues and customers from home and remote locations. Now is the time to reinvent processes to allow employees to conduct day-to-day work no matter the location. Employees want the flexibility of being able to work in the office, home, and beyond. Institutions should start by digitizing processes that improve customer experience and create business opportunity. Subsequently, they should automate the associated digital workflows to improve employee efficiency and productivity.
Sales and Service Collaboration
As the workforce becomes more distributed, financial institutions have an opportunity to break down traditional business silos and enable greater collaboration between sales and service teams to improve efficiency and business capture. A recent Arizent Research survey showed that implementation of digital workflows that enable employee experiences lag those of customer experiences that often have a high degree of self-service. Even when digitized, more complex products require human interaction between institutions and clients, requiring both employee and customer processes to be streamlined. Investment in collaboration tools helps institutions accelerate the sale of more complex products online, move toward customer-centric branch transformation, and improve operational execution throughout the customer journey.
Digitizing end-to-end workflows represents both a tremendous opportunity and challenge for the financial services industry. Cisco’s breadth of collaboration solutions and experience in the financial services industry can help financial institutions understand the potential of integrating collaboration to improve workflow and process automation. By doing so, institutions can improve operational execution across channels, delivering desirable employee, and customer experiences for the digital future.