BPM – Delivering efficiency in financial services

The financial services sector is facing a revolutionary move toward supporting new technologies and services to meet both internal and customer requirements. The industry has long been a conservative sector because security trumps all else, but changes in what consumers want from their banks has led to more demand for sophisticated solutions. In turn, many financial services firms have been working to become more efficient, and business process management solutions play a key role in this process.

Throughout July, the ABA Banking Journal has been detailing a case study of a financial services firm that has been using BPM to drive new efficiencies. The bank is never named. The specific BPM software suite also goes without mention. However, the overarching theme is clear, many companies in financial services are struggling to improve operational efficiency and BPM solutions are emerging as a key solution for everyday problems.

BPM in financial services
According to the case study, the bank quickly realized that it had major procedural issues. These problems ranged from one employee having to single-handedly manage 25 Excel spreadsheets to get basic, but critical data to project details being kept in a single file folder that would sometimes be misplaced by users.

The news source explained these issues are not uncommon, as financial services firms have been facing major efficiency challenges for a long time. As recently as 2013, a Wolters Kluwer Financial Services study found that 72 percent of financial institutions still have customers manually fill out account applications, while 86 percent of financial service firms do not track internal communications pertaining to transactions and 74 percent have not automated processes for getting loan approval information.

All of these issues underline the challenges facing financial institutions, but the organization involved in the case study was able to find help by bringing in a BPM specialist and using process management software to refine its process. Among the keys for success, the report said, is for financial services firms to take an organized approach to BPM deployment and have reasonable expectations.

Being ready for technological disruptions
Getting started on BPM projects is an important first step in financial services, but it is just that, a first step. Increased mobile device use and growing demand for social processes is putting pressure on financial institutions to improve their processes in light of technological advances. As such, finding success with BPM goes beyond a good initial deployment and involves finding a partner that can set organizations on a path for long-term process innovation.