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To remain relevant and competitive in a disrupted and increasingly changing marketplace, the financial services industry has little choice but to capitalise on the potential of innovative technologies.
Unfortunately, too many organisations remain reliant on high-maintenance legacy systems, which compromise their ability to share information fast and effectively. This limits their speed of response and, most particularly, can have a significant impact on their service delivery. And since customer service (CX) is now often the key differentiator in the market, if you are not delivering this to the highest level, that can leave you vulnerable to nimbler, more attentive competitors.
What's the answer? To move to a platform ecosystem centred around a powerful and adaptable content services solution that draws together a wide and disparate collection of data, processes and applications into a single, connected and ever-evolving network.
Customers benefit in that they get a better front office experience and more seamless interaction because of improved back office processes. For organisations, the strategy offers the ability to react faster and more effectively to customers’ needs, while safeguarding business continuity, should working practices have to change rapidly.
So, a robust content services platform joins up different applications and data sources, makes information instantly accessible, and ensures there are no gaps in the architecture through which your precious data can fall.
If the platform ecosystem has the capability to capture, manage and make accessible both structured and unstructured content in all formats – scanned paper, print stream, electronic form or email — then all the pieces can be brought together, whatever their source.
And if your platform ecosystem includes bi-directional linking, then whenever data is updated in one place, that same data is similarly and immediately modified in all other locations where it is held. This eliminates the risk of creating silos in which parallel sets of information could evolve independently It gives you and your staff the reassurance that everyone throughout the organisation is looking at the same thing, and what they are looking is accurate and up to date.
As a result, wherever they are, employees can access the data they need in real-time, giving them a detailed, accurate picture of the customer and their requirements, and ensuring they can answer their questions easily and confidently.
Such platform-based ecosystems are already transforming traditional organisational hierarchies and building real value in the businesses that have introduced them - as well as creating the potential for exciting and profitable new business models.
ProCredit Bank, for example, has totally reinvented its lending process for small business and corporate accounts by integrating Hyland's OnBase with its core banking system.
Not only has this given the bank's staff a 360 degree view of every process step, but it's also led to much greater effectiveness when it comes to traceability, ensuring conformity, easy and accurate calculation of KPIs, automatic document generation and the ongoing monitoring and analysis of accounts.
The real power of platform ecosystems of course comes when they are cloud-based, as this not only gives you much greater flexibility and freedom, but it also removes the IT infrastructure burden. No more system maintenance or upgrades to manage.
And when you integrate your existing line-of-business solutions, such as Salesforce or a core industry-specific application, like Guidewire’s InsuranceSuite into a platform ecosystem, you also minimise any short-term disruption. The team will already be familiar with the applications and able to meet customer needs with minimal disruption to service levels. Ideally, users will be able to move effortlessly between different dedicated systems without feeling any disconnection as they do so. They will simply know that the right information is there when they need it.
If the platform you choose is low-code, then even non-technical staff have the opportunity to be involved in the design of these business processes and the reshaping of products to ensure they are appropriate and effective. Also by introducing RAD/low code solutions like OnBase organisations can start the technological process knowing they can extend initial use cases to other processes later.
Of course, with ever wider access to what could be sensitive information, it's imperative that any platform ecosystem is protected by advanced authentication and encryption offering multiple levels of protection so data is always safeguarded - whether it's in use, in transit or at rest.
The need to introduce platform ecosystems is becoming ever more urgent, driven in part by the growing focus on customer experience that requires a wholesale transition from traditional manual and paper-based processes, to electronic ones. Additionally, as the implications of COVID-19 have come into sharp relief, changes to working practices and the need to respond rapidly and effectively will continue to accelerate.
Given the significant challenges many financial service firms have already found in trying to maintain, let alone enhance legacy systems, there is little alternative other than to move to a platform ecosystem that gives much greater control over data. With this in place, they have the ability to scale and react more quickly, to stay in tune with the needs of their customers and create the seamless experience they are looking for.
When you achieve that, you are well on your way to building a true and long-term relationship with them.