Growing consumer demand for innovative digital banking services is higher than ever, yet the strain on IT resources at financial institutions (FIs) is hindering their ability to work on the initiatives that drive innovations that matter – initiatives that elevate the customer experience in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. As customer expectations evolve, low-value, repetitive tasks are congesting and slowing down IT workflows, negatively impacting the employee experience. The fallout from these inefficient processes, antiquated platforms, and the logjams they create? Deteriorating job satisfaction and employee retention.
Colliding with years of IT fatigue, the ongoing labor shortage hits FIs extra hard as employees rethink their expectations for work and pursue new career opportunities. With approximately 47.4 million people having quit their jobs in 2021 and the crisis only expected to continue as workers reshuffle, the talent shortage will impede the ability of FIs to deliver on the critical innovations their clients and members are expecting and impact their bottom-line profitability.
The growing consumer demand for elevated digital banking experiences drives an acute need among credit unions and banks to accelerate the pace of digital innovation. Customers expect their digital experience to be reliable and intuitive. According to a study by The Harris Poll, 40% of financial consumers would leave their primary financial institution for a better digital banking experience, with 56% claiming their local credit union or bank’s digital offering fell short of their expectations. To meet customers where they stand, before they choose a financial institution that meets their demands, FIs must tee up their IT staff for accelerated innovation and the ability to focus on the high-value tasks that drive institutions forward.
Workload automation and orchestration can alleviate these institutions’ workforce crises while increasing productivity and innovation. Automation empowers overburdened IT departments to provide a better customer experience and eliminates the need to spend countless hours fighting fires to keep disparate platforms online.
Automating IT workflows
Automation and orchestration allow FIs to manage workloads within departments or across various IT software and hardware functions. This enables companies to easily automate business-critical operations by creating self-service workflows, deploying server updates, and monitoring an entire system from a single user interface. Workload automation software will schedule and manage multiple routine processes across systems in your organization without the need for ongoing staff intervention.
Eliminating person-hours spent completing repetitive tasks frees up staff to spend time working on higher-value assignments while critical business imperatives are running themselves with unmatched reliability. As tedious processes like audits and vast data extraction migrate to automated, repeatable workflows, initiatives that will grow the business have a wider path to success. Meanwhile, employees are empowered to learn new skills that will support their professional development and rest assured the ship will stay afloat after the clock strikes five.
FIs have complex data pipelines to manage between various applications, and using automation to streamline workloads ensures data gets where it needs to be faster. Most credit unions and banks are familiar with batch processing to handle payments – from Automated Clearing House (ACH) to mortgages to online payments – yet find themselves struggling to maintain a quick and flexible cadence. Traditionally, the common workaround has been to burden staff with late shifts or ask them to log in remotely from home to authorize different steps in the process or fix errors manually. This is not an efficient way to use work hours, with the additional detriment of making staff responsible for work tasks during their personal time. Workload automation and orchestration allows FIs to process payments automatically without human or manual intervention in real-time rather than in a once-a-day batch that bogs down all other processes and threatens staff work-life balance.
Before banks and credit unions began leveraging automation to streamline workloads, increased human errors occurred, staff had to work long hours into the evening and weekend, and processing of financial transactions was delayed. This contributed to heightened stress levels across staff and negatively impacted the customer experience. Automation helps keep customers around by avoiding processing delays and maintaining service reliability. By automating workflows, financial institutions can develop more consistency in delivering banking tools – and deploy mobile ones quicker. FIs can use automation to streamline many customer-facing operations, such as monitoring for fraudulent transactions and reviewing new account and loan applications. What once bloated customer interactions with physical paperwork has gone digital for many lenders, shortening processes that took weeks to within days, hours, and minutes in some cases.
In line with a migration to the cloud that spans nearly every industry, cloud-based workload automation can create all of the efficiencies above and be up and running quickly by reducing set-up and configuration time. Other perks of workload automation in the cloud include eliminating expensive software licensing fees, reduced overhead costs of maintaining machines, and disaster recovery preparedness that supports more robust business continuity.
Automation is a springboard for innovation
Financial institutions will need to lean heavily on their IT staff to meet rapidly evolving consumer expectations for future product development. As banks and credit unions look to overcome the labor crisis and retain their workforce, workload automation will reduce the burden on IT departments and make their roles more attractive. By using automation, organizations will also be less acutely impacted by the strained labor market, freeing financial institutions to innovate and develop new customer services without the manual, repetitive tasks inherent in IT processes.