Technology has transformed the banking sector virtually beyond recognition in recent decades, and will continue to do so in the years to come. As a result, financial institutions are constantly looking towards the future, and assessing how technology can help them retain customers and maximise profitability.
Operations like mortgage application, fraud compensation claims and customer onboarding may not be attractive areas for transformation, but they are extremely important. According to McKinsey, operations generally consume between 15% and 20% of a bank’s budget each year. This means that there is huge potential to find efficiencies and therefore savings through streamlining operations, while also delivering better customer experiences, from new products to reliable transactions.
In this blog, we’ll look at some of the key use cases where technology can streamline banking operations, and some of the specific solutions for putting these changes into practice.
The advantages of streamlined operations
If a bank or financial institution can streamline its operations, then it can achieve the win-win situation of lowering costs and simultaneously improving the service it delivers to its customers.
This is critical at a time when FinTechs and neo-banks are having an ever-increasing impact on the sector. Competition for market share is incredibly high, and agile FinTechs are best-placed to take advantage of new opportunities if existing institutions aren’t able to maximise their efficiency.
There are three areas in particular where streamlined banking operations can make a real difference:
- Minimising customer backlogs: long wait times for transactions, services or issue resolution are one of the main sources of customer frustration. Many of these delays stem from legacy-based processes which are still largely paper-based: not only are these relatively slow, but they also require manual processes that are vulnerable to human error. Automation and document digitisation can solve these issues and deliver faster, more reliable services for customers. For example, enabling digital reading and signing of documents can help drastically speed up the mortgage application journey and remove much of the stress from the process
- Strengthening transaction security: while new payment systems give customers the speed and flexibility they’re looking for, many financial institutions simply add them to their existing corporate payment infrastructure. This may be an easier and cheaper way of expanding functionality, but it also exposes serious cyber security vulnerabilities at the same time, and can hamper their ability to prevent fraud. This risk can then be exacerbated by the increasing prevalence of cross-border payments which mean that financial institutions often have to deal with unfamiliar or incompatible data. Defining an effective security strategy will help identify the right tools and security controls for monitoring and incident response.
- Customising services: just as in retail, customers have come to expect increased levels of personalisation from their banking providers. Those providers who can deliver personalised communications and targeted offers will be far better able to retain existing customers, attract new ones, and improve revenue. Automation can enable much of this personalisation without over-burdening staff, through customised emails and product offers, even digital queue management that compiles customer data automatically to save time when contacting customer services
Key areas for potential efficiencies
On a practical level, there are many different innovations and solutions that the banking sector can explore to gain those vital operational efficiencies. We recommend the following three, for their relative ease of implementation, cost-effectiveness, and potential scale of impact:
- Saas Print Management solutions: by improving the management of all print resources and devices within a financial institution, it’s easier to keep customer data secured as the physical printing of it can be reduced. It also helps right-size printing infrastructure to business need as print fleet size can be scaled up or down with ease, removing the risk of additional or unnecessary costs
- Cloud Print Solutions: by replacing on-premise print servers with cloud-based solutions, the cost of managing and running print can be reduced substantially, especially through as-a-service models where businesses only pay for what they use. Both the costs saved and the IT support time freed up can then be put to better use elsewhere within the organisation
- Business process automation: replacing manual processes with automation can help improve banking institutions’ agility, and help them make better use of unstructured data. Areas like contract management (banking product agreements), hybrid mail (automated email template application) and document scanning (cheque deposit authentication and processing) are all rich with potential for automation and digitisation. Together, they can increase speed, improve productivity and boost sustainability for every type of banking organisation
Key areas for potential efficiencies
There are a number of different technologies and solutions that can be deployed to unlock these benefits. Which ones are right for your organisation will depend on your specific needs and characteristics, but in more general terms, we recommend the following:
- Saas Print Management solutions: by better managing all the devices and resources required, printing operations can be run far more efficiently. Understanding print demand can help reduce the number of tickets generated for the help desk to resolve, and help you right-size your budget and resources to support print. Taken further, it can also help you find ways to cut back on print and reduce its environmental footprint
- Cloud Print Solutions:when print management is conducted on-premise, businesses can easily find themselves held back. This is due to a lack of flexibility, access to scalability budgets; and costly servers and data centres that need space, cooling and maintenance – for example, a typical print server costs around £3000 per year to run. Moving this towards the cloud can help drastically cut infrastructure costs, improve resilience and ease the process of scaling print resources up or down in the future.
- Business process automation:alongside many of the sector-specific use cases listed above, there are also many more general business processes that are ripe for streamlining through automation. This can be achieved through automated contract management such as account renewals; intelligent finance automation which can assist with data verification and improved reporting; hybrid mail for customer communications; and scanning of internal paper-based documents like employee onboarding and timesheet management.
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