Climate change continues to pose an existential threat to the global economy. While the impact is felt across different industries, financial institutions are at the forefront of being the change agents. With the world waking up and moving towards low carbon emissions, banks have a major role in enabling this change.
Sustainability for modern financial institutions is not just limited to going paperless or becoming carbon neutral. It incorporates Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) into traditional banking aimed at achieving Sustainable Development Goals3 (SDGs).
Enabling, Accelerating Digital and Sustainable Banking with a Modern Content Services Platform
A key aspect of a purposeful organization is authenticity, with ESG at its core. In this blog, let’s explore how viable modern content services platforms facilitate sustainability priorities in banking, including net-zero emissions, paperless banking, energy efficiency, social goodwill, and brand strengthening—enabling financial institutions to digitally transform and be future-ready.
Paperless Banking: Digital Loan Origination
Traditionally, the customer lending origination process is paper-intensive. It requires application forms and document submission for the pre-qualification process, including copies of identity documents, employment proof, salary slip, bank statement, and previous loan statement. That’s a whole lot of documents from a single applicant. Imagine how many papers are daily printed and submitted to the banks with millions of borrowers globally!
Here’s exactly where the modern content service platform comes into the picture. The platform enables banks to eliminate the traditional ways of managing documents with capabilities to scan, extract, classify, and intelligently upload, share, and store documents. It facilitates banks to transit to paperless banking without compromising their service offerings to reach net-zero emission targets. Once the financial institution embarks on this journey towards paperless banking, emissions from paper production, transportation, physical storage facilities, and electricity will undoubtedly be reduced.
Digital Customer Onboarding
COVID-19 has accelerated the pace and, more importantly, the acceptance and adoption of digital technologies. Account opening can be done paperless by visiting the bank’s website or mobile app and keying in account opening information, such as personal details, scanning or clicking your documents using a mobile camera, and uploading your picture and e-signature. A modern content services platform can organize this data and make it accessible to backend business processes. Having the right platform helps users securely maintain their information over time, allowing them to correct documents, read them on various devices, annotate or collaborate in an electronically-driven environment. This saves a lot of paper, which otherwise gets wasted due to errors, misprints, or multiple copies, and creates a seamless customer experience. Furthermore, it saves the transportation costs from not needing to send the paper waste for recycling and equips an organization to ensure on-demand audit-readiness of documents.
Customer Digital Lifecycle Journey
Traditionally, several phases and sub-phases of a customer lifecycle involve paper-based processes, including data collection of an applicant, document analysis, data enrichment, KYC case review, ongoing customer services, and customer-off boarding. The cycle continues if you succeed in up-sell or cross-sell any new product to customers in between. The modern content services platform can overcome this manual handling process and transform the digital customer lifecycle into a paperless one. The platform helps digitize documents, classify information, extract data, collaborate, and electronically store while significantly minimizing paper usage and costs. Features like e-forms, e-signatures, video KYC, and conversational interfaces can reduce paper trails and help in delivering a superior customer experience.
Energy Efficiency: Green IT through Cloud
On-premise infrastructure must be operational irrespective of the transactional load consuming considerable energy in computing, lighting, and cooling the data centers. Cloud is at the heart of energy savings. Today’s modern content services platforms leverage the cloud effortlessly, enabling business leaders to offer optimized and effective services to banks while consuming considerably fewer resources.
Energy Efficiency through Compression Techniques
Raconteur estimates that by 2025, nearly 463 exabytes of data will be created each day globally.5 Banks are responsible for a sizable chunk of this data, consuming computer resources and energy. Modern content services platforms employ efficient compression techniques to reduce data size, saving computing storage and electricity. The energy savings will compound exponentially with data growth.
Social Goodwill and Brand Strengthening: Financial Inclusion
A modern content services platform and other digital technologies are crucial in taking banking to remote places. Today, a field agent can take a portable device to remote areas and collect customer information, signature, and identity proofs – all paperless, effortlessly bringing them into the banking system. Financial products like account opening, loan origination, payments, and card statements are offered digitally with this platform.
Apart from reducing operational emissions, banks encourage their customers to go paperless as an initiator of change. Banks provide loans for sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, or any other environment-based projects at a reduced lending rate. A truly digital bank can also help its customers and vendors go paperless by substituting paper-based documents with digital ones. In doing so, banks extend their commitment towards ‘net-zero’ in their operations, suppliers, customers, and the entire supply chain.
Brand Strengthening through ESG Data Analytics
A modern content services platform coupled with data, analytics, and System of Record (SoR) drives ESG metrics measurement and insights. The content services platform can extract data from sources and databases like customers’, suppliers’, social, satellite imagery, HR and government reports, etc., to feed into the analytics platforms to gain powerful insights. An example could be measuring agricultural and green energy loans annually to determine the contribution to CO2 emission reduction. Intersecting this data with country-wide CO2 emissions can help banks measure their ESG impact per year for a country or region.
The Way Forward
A modern content service platform paves the way for the contemporary approach to bringing sustainability to banks. The platform not only enables banks and financial institutions to protect the environment but also extends a helping hand with financial inclusion.
The end of the year is the time to reflect on the past year and to plan for the year ahead. So, amid all the predictions and upcoming trends, here are our top 3 picks that you should consider while driving digital in 2020.
Low Code for Business Speed
Digital requires you to be faster. However, the time spent in translating business needs to business applications sets you back. This is where a low code automation platform comes to the rescue. The platform allows citizen developers to easily develop applications, reducing their dependence on IT. Further, it supports a variety of business needs across mobile apps, workflows, transactional apps, collaboration tools, rules-centric apps, document and content management, data extraction and interpretation, and so on.
Increase your Focus on Customers and their Journeys
Your customers, both internal and external, expect personalized, contextual and responsive experience irrespective of the time, place or channel. One of the reasons most enterprises struggle to achieve digital is because they don’t automate the end-to-end operational processes that underpin customer journeys.
2020 would require you to increase your focus on your customers, their overall journeys with the organization and the processes supporting it. Technologies in intelligent digital automation (BPM) can help by bringing your people, processes, systems, and things together. It offers a consolidated view of customer information and enables you to deliver an omnichannel experience throughout the customer journey.
Choose the Right Technology
With various technology options to choose from, it becomes difficult to identify what your business really needs. To help you make the right decision, here is a snapshot of what to expect from these cutting-edge technologies:
Robotic process automation (RPA): A good option to consider if you are looking to automate your mundane tasks and free up your employees’ bandwidth for more constructive work. Using it along with intelligent digital automation enables end-to-end process automation while allowing for continuous process improvement.
Digital Sensing and Machine Learning: This is your best bet as it taps your customer needs and connects you with them across multiple channels. Further, it analyzes customer sentiments and helps you drive meaningful conversations.
Analytics: With a torrent of information being produced, which will continue to increase, analytics can help you figure out what, why and how while making the most of untapped opportunities.
Mobility: For best results, you need to leverage a mobility framework that banishes all kinds of disconnects. Building mobile apps alone would not help. Opt for a framework that breaks silos, integrates mobile processes with back-end systems, and offers a collaborative mobile environment.
Well, these are our top picks. And, as the year unfolds, many new trends will emerge and many would discontinue. One thing is certain that digital transformation is not an end goal but a journey that requires you to be fast, customer-centric and ahead of the curve.
The world has been forced into remote work. Each country has instituted its own brand of lockdown in an attempt to flatten the curve and a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article presented data on which nations were and weren’t prepared to deploy a remote workforce.
Researchers scored the social distance and remote operability of 42 countries across the globe. Scoring was based on three factors:
Robustness of key platforms — technology-mediated remote work, e-commerce, digital media and the country’s digital foundations — key to business continuity
Proliferation and resilience of digital payments options to facilitate transactions
Resilience of the internet infrastructure to traffic surges
Check out the results below. Note that higher scores represent better performance along each index.
Digital transformation has been the centerpiece of discussions in tech circles for years. But the coronavirus crisis really transformed “digital transformation” from just an overused buzzword. It became a real-life application of remote work tools. In 2018, 70% of companies had a digital transformation strategy in place or were working on one, and this unprecedented situation exposed just how far along companies — and in this case, countries — are in their digital transformation journey.
The author of the HBR article pointed out several key takeaways from the data:
“There is a divide between the resilient and the fragile: Advanced economies, at the top of the graph have more robust digital platforms, making them better prepared for the pivot to online work than developing economies in the bottom.”
“The United States is ready, but not ready enough: Despite some concerns, the United States is well poised for business continuity, with robust digital platforms and digital payment infrastructure. But with businesses asking employees to work from home, surges in digital traffic have stressed the internet infrastructure.”
“Much of Europe, with some exceptions, suffers from middling robustness of the platforms and vulnerable internet infrastructure. Speeds in much of Europe are much lower than in the U.S. overall, and the infrastructure is older.”
“Some Asian countries have proven to be innovative — and forced reconsideration of long-held assumptions: Being proximate to the origins of the outbreak, some have taken a markedly different approach to using digital technology. South Korea presents an interesting benchmark. Its internet resilience is among the best in the world, as is its use of digital payments, and its platforms are robust.”
How did your homeland fare?
Again, it’s interesting to see the data plotted, as it presents a yardstick by which digital transformation and readiness can be visualized. We contend that the cornerstone of digital transformation and remote work for every organization is information management. Intelligent information management platforms like M-Files allow users to access and manage business-critical information…
No matter where that information is stored — CRM, ERP, network folders, share drives, Salesforce
And no matter where on Earth the user is — home, office, hotel, airport, coffee shop
The pandemic has unsettled the world, leaving us all to navigate the uncertainty. I don’t need to elaborate. We all know and feel the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our economy, workplaces, and personal well-being.
However, at the time of writing this, restrictions around the world are starting to lift, little by little. And as the initial hurdle comes to a close, we are gradually shifting our attention from the panic of What now? and instead, shifting our focus to What’s next?
As a Product Marketing Manager for M-Files, I am in the game of figuring out what moves and shakes people to change, or more specifically what drives companies to invest in new technology. This pandemic has certainly offered a new driver to the mix.
COVID-19 has Forced Companies to Transform (and Transform Quickly)
Before this crisis, some common drivers across many industries included items like increasing efficiency in a competitive landscape, winning and retaining new business, and minimizing risk.
These drivers are still relevant. The pandemic, however, has presented a new driver — resilience. Namely, how can companies ensure and maintain operations in times of crisis? How can companies continue with business as usual in times when business is not usual?
While the initial hurdle of this pandemic seems to be coming to an end, there is no guarantee that the pandemic will not grow worse or that further restrictions will be enforced in the future (some news media portends the possibility of a second wave of cases globally). And as experts warned us of a possible pandemic before COVID-19, they are also insisting that we realize that other pandemics are just as possible in the future. We simply do not know. We used to operate with a false sense of certainty about the future, but this crisis has exposed just how uncertain things really are. Despite this, we are certain that the COVID-19 crisis has taught us that businesses need to transform. We can feel confident about that lesson. And when there’s need for great transformation, there’s need for great guidance.
Bring in the Consultants!
The reason I boldly claim that we need consultants now more than ever is because we’re in uncharted territory. Emotions are strong and it’s difficult, for both employees and business leaders, to wrap their minds over what to do next. Consultants, by and large, are transformation experts. We call on consultants to get us from one state to the next, because they have the expertise, experience, resources and know-how to pave a path to our objectives.
When it comes to the topic of resilience, businesses are plagued with questions around policy, leadership, technology, security, and change management while also grappling with the struggles of maintaining business today. This presents an interesting opportunity for people in the thinking industry.
The Driver: What’s driving or forcing companies to change?
The COVID-19 crisis has tested the resilience of the business world.
The Objective: What do companies need to do in response to this driver?
Companies have been forced to establish and maintain organizational resilience — to handle future crises.
Business Changes: What transformations must take place for companies to meet these objectives?
To establish and maintain organizational resilience, companies must:
Institute a flexible and secure work environment
Reduce costs to buffer current and potential decreases in revenue
Enable a remote, yet effective workforce that can work either from the office or at home
Establish policies and procedures for times of crisis and train staff on policies
Train leadership on managing and leading in times of crisis
Looking back at 2019, it was a year of significant development for M-Files. That was the year we truly saw the transformation with M-Files Online — allowing customers to truly achieve instant cloud-readiness. And, it was the year we helped customers find the benefits of intelligent information management within their daily business applications — like Microsoft Teams or Outlook, or Salesforce.
But so much for nostalgia. Now let’s jump into the path forward for 2020.
Our metadata approach sets us apart from the competition. Our solution is truly metadata driven; everything is managed with metadata — from the documents themselves to the user and access rights, workflows, policies, app integrations and more.
On all the three cornerstone areas, 2020 brings in development that will enhance the user experience and offer new ways to automate office work. As cool as AI can sound, it all boils down to this: How can it help employees work more efficiently? Our new intelligence features will make the user the centerpiece of everything, assisting the user in the context of his role and task at hand. And, as an out-of-the-box feature, artificial intelligence is still going to be as simple as ABC.
2. Improving the user experience
Putting the user at the center also means adjusting to the way THEY prefer to do their work. This was one of the key initiatives for 2019, and we continue the same path in 2020. We will embed M-Files into more systems and common business applications. One more was just recently launched, when we integrated with Esri ArcGIS, a tool for applying location-based analytics into business practices.
On top of the integrations to other systems, we will significantly improve our own web client, offering easy deployment and ease-of-use in a modern and simplistic UI, designed to support daily work.
3. Scaling for more complex requirements and environments
As organizations grow and begin to embrace new technologies to deal with the exploding amount of data, it is vital to offer more scalable ways to run business applications — like M-Files — or to search for data in both cloud repositories as well as on-premises data storage.
Our roadmap for 2020 supports initiatives like multi-server mode, which will improve scalability. Multi-server mode will always balance the load for M-Files Online customers by offering high availability.
4. Improving service management capabilities
As we look at 2020, the M-Files solution will also provide better service to customers — improved cloud architecture, self-service capabilities and other improvements that help further our task to be the best SaaS provider of intelligent information management solutions.
Already, M-Files is recognized as a Visionary in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms, the Best Document Management Software of 2020 by Business.com, and a Leader by Nucleus Research. User experience is very important to us, and we pride ourselves on the ease-of-use confirmed by numerous customers and reports — like the Top-Rated Enterprise Content Management Software for 2019 by TrustRadius. The new service management capabilities will help us further improve the user experience.
5. Enhancing collaboration capabilities
Collaboration seems to be an overarching theme in numerous discussions and articles. The new ways of working together in virtual teams call for new solutions for easy collaboration. People will always find ways to work the way they prefer, and unless the organization provides safe but easy-to-use tools for collaboration, people will do so with whatever tools they find.
Easier collaboration is one of the themes for 2020 for M-Files as well as we seek to serve the information-driven industries better. We will start to introduce several enhancements that will make everyday collaboration a walk in the park.
So – if 2019 was a year of transformation and going where the customers are, 2020 is going to be yet another interesting year with lots of new features and capabilities. These capabilities will put our customers at the driver’s seat, allowing them to stay even more focused on the task at hand while benefitting from the many advances of intelligent information management.