Like most vertical markets, today’s banks and financial institutions are dealing with the data deluge brought on by digital transformation. As customers’ demands for instant information access and a frictionless digital experience create new challenges, these companies are also being hit with traditional industry pressures including:
- Increased regulation
- Economic uncertainty
- The need for ever-increasing revenue and profit
- New competitors and vertical market entrants, such as fin-tech companies like Stripe and SoFi and retailers like Apple
Overcoming these challenges requires that organisations across the financial sector adopt business strategies and technologies that enable greater agility, speed, access and organization. Intelligent information management (IIM) solutions are already playing a vital role in addressing all these needs while also supporting legacy technology investments.
In this article, we explain ten ways IIM gives banks and financial services companies a competitive edge.
Automate Manual Processes
Often, back offices in the financial services sector must contend with a high degree of manual processing. Costly and slow, this labour-intensive work leads to inconsistent results beset with errors. Automating manual processes and eliminating lag times is top of mind for leading financial services companies across loan origination, customer onboarding, servicing, compliance and anything else that requires workflow, process control and collaboration. One of the biggest challenges, however, is that 90% of data today is unstructured, making data management more complex. Further, structured and unstructured information must be labelled, through use of metatags, for example, and entered into a management system before processes can be automated. The result is that instead of expediting workflows, additional steps often emerge.
Using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate and simplify how metadata is applied to files, M-Files saves significant time and dramatically simplifies common business processes. Its built-in technology automatically draws knowledge from text in unstructured content, which streamlines the process of classifying, processing and securing business information while providing contextual insights on related content assets and workflows.
Remove Paper Through Intelligent Information Management
Banks have always dealt with a lot of paper documentation even before the 2007 onset of the subprime mortgage crisis, which contributed to a global recession and additional regulations. Since then, many banks and credit unions recognized the need to embrace the latest information management solutions to digitize their business information. However, a 2018 survey of banking executives conducted by Boston Consulting Group found that 86% of respondents believed their technology infrastructure was over-complicated, hindering their ability to interact with customers digitally.
M-Files overcomes the limits of traditional enterprise content management (ECM) tools with a solution that is built on three essential pillars:
- It’s metadata driven.
- It’s repository neutral.
- It’s intelligent.
What this means for financial services companies is that they no longer shoulder the burden of scanning and tagging digital information manually. With the help of AI technologies such as natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language processing (NLP), metadata is automatically and intelligently created and defined as well as contextualized. What’s more, M-Files eliminates the complexity and cost of migrating information into a central data warehouse. Instead, it presents users with a unified interface to all their data and content, encompassing e-discovery, records management, auto-classification, and archiving for proper disposition to get the most benefit from unstructured data and work more effectively with regulators.
Use Any Device
In the digital era, work is no longer restricted to a PC, workstation, or a traditional office environment. Many organizations, financial services companies included, are implementing BYOD (bring your own device) policies and flexible work schedules to meet these demands. But, the challenge is that this flexibility isn’t supported by legacy business applications, which require specific, on-premises computing platforms and operating systems.
From mobile to web to desktop, M-Files allows users to access and manage information more effectively and securely, when and where employees want — and from any device. M-Files connects with network folders, ECM systems, file sharing apps, CRM systems, document workflow and approval systems, collaboration solutions and more, without disturbing systems and processes. And M-Files is device-agnostic, so a user has access to the same information whether they’re using a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or a smartphone running any platform or operating system.
Optimized Audit Trails For Better Records Management
Not only is finding information quickly crucial for optimizing productivity and providing an excellent customer experience, but it’s also vital to tracking and auditing essential workflows. Maintaining proper records including critical financial documentation is also a foundational requirement for banks and financial service companies. This process can be tedious and overwhelming if a systematic approach isn’t applied.
M-Files automatically keeps track of every file and document version within the organization — whether that information resides locally or in the cloud — making it easy to see the entire history of all content at any time. M-Files offers a metadata-driven permissions feature with an associated audit trail and event log to help organizations prove that they follow the access control policies they have defined. Automatic notifications and updates reduce the risk of maintaining and accessing old or outdated documents. Notifications also make it easier and more secure to get rid of obsolete information.
Eliminate Information Silos
Communication is the key to any relationship and business software and systems are no exception. The problem in today’s SaaS-driven world is that information about customers, products and services often exists in multiple applications, databases and files. Another fundamental problem with nearly all ECM systems is that they use a location-centric, folder-based paradigm. Essentially, how information is managed is almost entirely based on where the data is stored (e.g., folder, site, library) rather than what it is (e.g., loan agreement, Excel file, SharePoint document). Even newer file sync and share services, such as Box and Dropbox, follow this same protocol by moving a traditional folder system into the cloud.
M-Files breaks down silos by delivering an in-context experience for accessing and leveraging information that resides in any system and repository — whether it be network folders, CRM, ERP, SharePoint or any one of several repositories that can connect with M-Files. By communicating with all of these systems, M-Files can bring data and content into a single user interface.
Focus On The Right Data
Another challenge of capturing and storing terabytes (and sometimes petabytes) of content and data, is that it’s easy to lose sight of the most critical data and content.
Through a combination of search terms and filters, M-Files users can quickly identify specific business-critical records from on-premises and cloud-based applications and systems and hone in on what matters most.
Review & Approve Financial Agreements Faster
Managing and tracking loan and contract workflows requires a lot of time — especially when several knowledge workers are involved in the review and approval process. Delays and oversights are typically the norm, which causes frustrations for loan officers and bank customers alike.
By automating processes like contract lifecycle management (CLM), M-Files simplifies and shortens workflows. And because M-Files knows who is responsible for every task along the way, notifications are sent automatically, and follow-ups, reminders and other alerts happen promptly.
Find What You Need Instantly
Sometimes finding the right document when you need it seems impossible. Where was that file saved? Who edited it last?
M-Files eliminates the chaos of traditional folders by organizing content based on what it is, so you never have to remember where it’s saved, or which version is the right one.
Ensure Data Privacy
Few things are as crucial to the financial services industry as securing business information. With cyberattacks and data breaches on the rise, any initiatives to improve productivity and customer service must not comprise data security and privacy.
M-Files provides robust security, including market-leading access control features, audit trails, federated authentication, file encryption in transit and at rest, intrusion detection, data loss prevention, high availability and more.
Scale Faster in Cloud and/or On-Premises
Despite the trend of business applications and IT workloads moving to the cloud, most organizations find themselves “somewhere in between,” with some apps (and data) residing on-premises and some in the cloud. Not only does this hybrid cloud environment become more complex to manage, but it’s also harder to scale as the organization’s IT and business needs evolve.
The M-Files intelligent information management solution enables financial services companies to manage data on-premises behind their firewall and in M-Files’ cloud infrastructure with the same user licenses. This gives them the flexibility to leverage the cloud for certain resource-intensive functions while maintaining the ability to control other business functions locally. M-Files is the first content services platform that provides the same user experience in the cloud and on-premises. The M-Files intelligent information management solution is always up to date, providing the most modern and secure user experience with the least amount of maintenance effort for the customer.
Digital Transformation: The Competitive Edge For Financial Services Firms
The latest research shows that 80% of financial institutions believe that making a digital transformation will fundamentally change banking and ultimately create new winners across the industry’s competitive landscape. Ironically, the same research also shows that less than half (43%) of financial institutions have an explicit digital strategy in place.
Making a digital transformation is about more than merely providing online content repositories and mobile functionality—many traditional ECM solutions offer this functionality. Banks and other financial services companies must combine digital speed and convenience with human interactions that are thoughtful and personalized at crucial moments in the customer journey. Bringing people and technology together this way requires banking executives to look at their business in a whole new light – and stop trying to manage data, information and work processes using legacy tools that are limited by operating system and platform type and dependent on data location.
In the digital era, knowledge workers must be given the freedom to work and access information anywhere from any device, so they can serve today’s customers who have the same expectations.
The need to make a digital transformation isn’t merely a good idea; it’s imperative for survival. Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst, Jorge Lopez, summed it up best:
“By 2020, your company will either lead a digital business industry vision you have created or be part of one created by someone else.”