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14 Dec 2021
Information challenges for finance

How digital transformation is creating opportunities in the finance industry

The finance sector is characterised by copious amounts of data. To make the best decisions and recommendations for clients, financial businesses need to obtain as much information as possible to draw the most accurate conclusions.

Compliance is also key in the financial services industry, with firms obliged to comply with a raft of legislation and other best practices. Managing that compliance can be highly complex given the vast amounts of data that financial services firms are working with.

Part of the range of services financial businesses offer is managing client assets including buying, selling, and creating these financial assets. This requires clients to put a great deal of trust in the organisation to make the best financial decisions on their behalf and to protect their sensitive information from data breaches and cybercriminals.

Because of the nature of the financial services industry, much of this information is highly confidential. This creates challenges around being able to manage and store it securely. There are multiple government regulations Australian financial organisations must keep in mind when it comes to protecting information, including the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) found in the Privacy Act 1988 [1] and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which applies to all organisations that interact with European Union citizens [2] regardless of the country in which they operate.

An opportunity to transform

Moving from paper-based documentation to digital documents has gone a long way towards helping financial services organisations streamline processes, improve information security, and comply with all relevant requirements. However, simply digitising information that would otherwise be paper-based doesn’t automatically solve all challenges, especially when it comes to industry regulations and compliance.

Financial services organisations have a unique opportunity to transform their processes, introducing efficiencies and reducing errors by applying an Intelligent Information Management (IIM) solution. This can help to address obstacles around structured and unstructured information and it can improve efficiency, optimise workflows, and help ensure regulatory compliance.

The top nine challenges an IIM solution can help your business overcome include:

1. Records and compliance

Businesses in the Australian financial services sector have an obligation to uphold information governance policies. The cost of not adhering to these requirements can include heavy financial penalties and repercussions from industry bodies (such as the Financial Services Council). The impact of this can result in lost clients, reputational damage affecting future prospects, and less revenue.

An IIM solution can integrate information from across the business, breaking down silos and providing a complete view of all data in various repositories.

2. Information security

IIM solutions keep sensitive information secure by leveraging automated features, like version control and audit trails, and controls access to certain information through metadata (information about the information). This ensures unauthorised users can’t access sensitive information or documents, while authorised users can find what they need quickly and easily.

3. Invoice processing from digitisation to management

Invoices provide a considerable opportunity for fraud and errors to cost organisations significant amounts of money. From double payments to late payments or fraudulent invoices, organisations are at risk when invoice processing is largely manual. Applying an automated invoice processing workflow as part of an IIM solution overcomes these challenges and streamlines the invoice processing management process. It can also help identify fraudulent invoices and prevent the company from paying them.

These features save both time and money and can improve organisations’ relationships with suppliers by ensuring they pay on time and correctly.

4. Contract lifecycle management

Financial services organisations must manage contracts closely to ensure ongoing compliance. However, manually tracking contract details and renewal or end dates can be an overwhelming task. An IIM solution can automate this process, triggering alerts when contracts need to be renewed and ensuring employees are only ever working with the most recent and correct version of a contract.

5. Managing legacy applications

Most financial services organisations rely heavily on legacy applications that are purpose-built for industry-specific tasks. This can preclude these organisations from realising some of the benefits of more modern applications. Applying an IIM solution can help extract further value from these applications by making the information they contain more readily available to employees and increasing their usability.

6. Improving findability and sharing content

When staff members can quickly and easily find the correct version of the document or information they’re searching for, without spending hours trawling through file shares and other repositories, they can spend more time on revenue-generating tasks. This also dramatically reduces the risk of errors by ensuring employees can easily determine which version of the document they’re working with, preventing situations where people provide advice or make decisions based on outdated information. This contributes to a stronger governance and compliance environment for financial services organisations.

7. Business continuity

As the events of the past two years have shown, business continuity is essential to ensure organisations can continue working even when employees can’t be in the office. Relying on paper-based documents or on-premises servers to manage information can prevent workers from operating remotely. An IIM solution can make all critical company data available to employees wherever they’re working. Importantly, an IIM solution does this while keeping the data secure and protected, letting employees be as efficient from a remote location as they would be in the office.

8. Analytics

With immediate access to all data across your organisation, an IIM solution can provide you with actionable business insights. The intelligent part of IIM removes the time it would take to manually find and compile these insights by using artificial intelligence (AI) to collect and analyse this data.

An IIM solution provides your business with the timely, reliable insights you need to make better strategic decisions, faster. The insights it provides can also identify areas in the business that need improvement or avenues for new opportunities.

9. Automating data entry tasks

Automating data entry tasks where possible is important as it frees up employee time for more valuable tasks. Your business benefits most when your employees are servicing clients and focusing on revenue-generating activity. IIM solutions include automated workflows that reduce errors and free up staff members to focus elsewhere.

Talk to the team at Konica Minolta today to find out more about how your financial services business can benefit by implementing an IIM solution.

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[1] https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2021C00452

[2] https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/guidance-and-advice/australian-entities-and-the-eu-general-data-protection-regulation

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