Digital Transformation | General

8 considerations for banks and other financial institutions when digisiting their document workflows

Written by Christopher Garner
Dec 7, 2021

When it comes to trends in financial technology, changes tend to be lumped into two forms. First there are the macro trends. These are undeniable shifts – automation, more robust regulation, globalization – that occur over the course of years or decades. They are undeniable, although it can be a struggle to say something new on these topics in general. Then there are the very micro, minute developments in a piece of technology or inside an important regulatory region. These have the opposite issue, in that it can be hard to generalize what exactly this matters for more than a handful of people.  

For document-heavy organisations like banks, and particularly those who are yet to automate these processes, 2022 should be treated as a fresh start. And both these shifts are important to address – with digitisation often being the most viable and easy-to-implement solution.  

To help you along your way, here are 8 ideas and considerations when you are thinking about or embarking on this process, to make sure you do this right. 

1. Start with compliance: maximise the benefits technology can give you
Change control within digital documentation technology is rule-based (so only approved people can make changes, and that can also be counter-approved) and also tracked. There’s also secure ISO27001 compliant hosting, and the ability to stay up-to-date with regulatory changes and forthcoming developments. 

2. Using templates will help to drive greater automation

Central, pre-approved templates ensure use of correct documents. As data is stored in fragments, these can be auto-transported to other documents eliminating the need for re-entry. Storage archiving is also automated. 

3. Improve the ways that important documentation is distributed to clients and across your network

Digitisation can help you just becoming faster and more efficient as getting documents to the right places at the right time and with the right data is what it’s all about.  API connectivity is a must and can handle all standard file transfer protocols, along with a web-based portal for end users to easily access documents. Newer features, such as digital signatures and QR codes, can also be supported. Pre-tested links to key external bodies such as stock exchanges, depositories, data hubs and the general market are also available, and you can use software or to completely outsource the whole operation.  

4. Create a system that works for you, on your terms

Its important to set a balance between a totally bespoke solution (hard to support and maintain) and a totally generic solution (acceptable to everyone, perfect for nobody).  What is also important is a system that enables the creation of new documents and the modification of workflows as required (and with the requisite rules-based approvals).

5. Digitisation brings insight, along with capacity
and scalability
Reporting can generate insights into workflow improvements. There’s also the ability to handle documents that use a variety of alphabets and character sets, to ensure international collaboration and one system can be used globally. A cloud-hosted system means capacity can be increased without delay.    

6. Easy to integrate with your existing systems

A single sign on connects to the new system to a company’s current authentication system, ensuring a seamless chain of security as it ‘bolts on’ to existing infrastructure 

7. Consider what you can now do with ‘freed-up’ resource

This is the opposite of an opportunity cost, rather it’s an opportunity found. There’s a greater chance to be more client facing or focused on revenue generation. The shift from an operation with a fixed cost base to one that is more variable and controllable, will help bring benefits throughout the organization. 

8. Leverage all the best-practice you can

Many organisations try to replicate what they do today only in a digital format. Consider a new system as an opportunity to make a step-change and try to leverage by learning from best practices to transform current processes and provide a more efficient, streamlined industry standard way. Experienced vendors can be of significant help in an advisory or developmental capacity.  

 That’s our list. What else might you add to this list? And which of these trends are mostly likely to drive a company to make the switch? We look forward to your thoughts and input!

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