Bank and financial institutions operating in the retail world are in an exceptionally tough environment. Regulations and compliance are daunting, loaded with extensive complexity plus they are ever changing. Customer attrition rates are exceptionally high with the commoditization of products and services, plus the financial crash seriously dented confidence in the sector as a whole. The general response from the banking industry has been to invest heavily in new technologies, focused on winning and retaining customers and keeping them coming back for more.
There have been two approaches to deliver value: to develop in-house point solutions, and then seek to tie them all together across disparate divisions of the banking operation, or to adopt a BPM solution.
Banking Best Practice – BPM or Point Solutions?
Adopting a holistic BPM solution makes more sense than taking the homegrown option, and there are compelling reasons for saying this.
1. End-to-End Streamlining
Point solutions tend to be developed to cure issues faced by a particular department and rarely encompass the full flow from customer/front office through to the back office. Over time, these point solutions become siloed and IT then seeks to cobble them together so the data will flow between them, however this adds complexity and risk, with shadow processes growing up around them which increases operational and compliance risk. BPM solutions, particularly the “low code” or Lean BPM solutions such as HighGear, offer full customization, and the bank also need not worry about how it will be supported or maintained.
Point solutions may or may not scale very well, and they tend to fall apart when it comes to making them work across the international divide, or indeed, even outside of their department or local network where they are deployed. A BPM solution will typically scale with ease, which means that once you demonstrate ROI you can then more easily secure approval for gaining additional benefits and advantages by wider deployment.
A major argument used by point solution proponents has been the speed of deployment, however Lean BPM solutions deploy as fast, if not faster. For instance, HighGear was deployed in hours at a major British bank after they took a test version of the solution, including going so far as to generate operational processes using the demo version provided – all within one week.
Point solutions have also been promoted as being cost-effective, but once again the BPM market has responded with the new breed of Lean BPM solutions that are far more cost effective than developing and supporting home-grown applications. HighGear typically costs around 20-30% of the cost of a traditional BPM solution provided by IBM, Oracle or Pega for instance. More than this, point solutions become immutably fixed as they tackle only the problem they are focused on, however changing them to suit a change in operations becomes incredibly painful and costly to achieve, especially if the developers have changed teams or companies. Point solutions also tend to constrain business process improvement and result in a loss of agility and competitive advantage.
Lean BPM is the clear winner here, provided the solution has a robust API and provides for open integration (such as HighGear), which makes total flexibility attainable. This means that as processes grow, and more requirements are added or amended, the solution empowers the business to stay ahead of this change with zero coding requirements. In practice, HighGear users create and execute new business processes, including workflow automation, enterprise task management and compliance enforcement on a daily basis without needing to interrupt their IT departments.
Point solutions may provide some visibility into business processes, however they will only ever report what they can see. This means they are restricted to data reporting on their area of operation only. Low code or Lean BPMSettings solutions provide full visibility into workflows and business processes, and some, such as HighGear do this in real-time. If you can see activity or a workflow, then you can measure it and this leads to continuous improvement and business process optimization.
A Lean BPM solution will provide agility and adaptive responsiveness to banking operations, across all layers of the organization. Not only is continuous improvement now an attainable reality for banks and financial institutions simply through empowering their existing SMEs to apply strategic and tactical focus to customer-centric business processes which now flow seamlessly from the front office to the back office. This means less time and money will be spent on costly point systems and more effort placed on delivering products and services to market at faster and more effective rates than ever before and all while enforcing compliance and procedures.