Customer-Centric Transformation in Financial Services

With only nine months until Appian World 2019 descends upon the fabulous city of San Diego, I have been reflecting on the fantastic financial services presentations that made Appian World 2018 such an amazing experience.

The customer must be at center of everything you do

Appian World 2018 brought so many great minds from today’s leading financial institutions to Miami. One talk that I find myself ruminating over frequently is the discussion between our own Mike Heffner and Martin Resch, Executive Vice President, Bank of the West. Mr. Resch talked about the impact of the regulatory framework on the financial services industry. Increased regulation means a higher workload for people in financial services, forcing them to become the police of the financial market. Regulations can put significant strain on financial institutions because it takes time and effort to adapt business practices that follow new regulations correctly.

He spoke about how important it is to put the customer first. In fact, the mantra at Bank of the West is that the customer must be the center of everything they do. The key questions in any process conversation are always customer-focused: “What does the customer want?”, “How does the customer want to receive it?” and “How can we ensure we are keeping the customer’s best interests at the forefront.” He gave the example of KYC (Know Your Customer) compliance, and the importance of finding a balance so that they limit the ability for fictitious people to open accounts, without penalizing innocent consumers. With Appian, Bank of the West can consistently align, store, and normalize data across different platforms so that KYC can be conducted quickly and comprehensively in a way that’s easy for both the employee and customer.

Building an app in a day at a SIFMU

Another memorable session was one that truly illustrated the speed of low-code development and how it can impact an organization. The Options Clearing Corporation is the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing house. It has been designated by the US government as a SIFMU – a Systemically Important Financial Market Utility. The OCC uses Appian across the organization to demonstrate and enforce strict controls to enhance risk management. Since 2015, they have used Appian to create 14 applications, serving more than 20 departments and over 170 users.

One of their technical teams used Appian to develop an “App in a Day” offering. They looked for opportunities to build applications that would be quick wins and deliver value but may not have the greatest visibility within the organization. For instance, they created a Visitor Management application for the facilities management team who was looking at new tools to keep track of visitors coming in and out of the company premises. The application was completed in one day.

Building the digital future of work at a leading global investment firm

It was awesome to see one of the world’s leading investment firms take the main stage and talk about how Appian provided the flexibility for his teams to collaborate on shared opportunities. This was such a great Appian digital transformation story, a true partnership that ensured that the firm was able to stick to clear business objectives and use Appian for several different projects from expense management, to compliance diligence workflows, to deal lifecycle. The philosophy they implemented was to start small and focused — but don’t wait too long to think BIG!

Many of the processes were heavily reliant on email and Excel spreadsheets. This manual approach introduced a higher risk of human error and resource requirements, was not scalable, and would not hold up to the scrutiny of the regulators. What was needed was transparent processes with consistent user experiences and full audit trails. Appian provided the necessary visibility and the ability to manage complexity so that they could work together through challenges.

Save the date

Please be sure to mark your calendars, we look forward to seeing you next year for Appian World 2019 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, May 13-15, 2019.

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