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White Paper: Extend Your Financial Enterprise: Unifying culture, service & performance with enterprise technology

Harland Financial Solutions

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  • Written by  Sam Kilmer
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White Paper: Extend Your Financial Enterprise: Unifying culture, service & performance with enterprise technology

Today’s financial institutions can deliver high-quality services and products at unprecedented levels of efficiency and personalization. They have the opportunity to differentiate themselves, capture market share and create operational efficiencies that ultimately make them more profitable.

Unfortunately, these opportunities often go unrealized—hindered by manual processes and a patchwork of legacy technology that just can’t work in unison. To compound the problem, the separate cultures that evolve around these fragmented systems leave pockets of expertise and inefficient “silos” of activity. Integration of disparate software across the institution is often expensive to maintain and challenging to keep in sync.

The solution is an enterprise-scale approach to technology – one that breaks through the functional silos of legacy systems, streamlines service delivery and produces both superior customer experiences and transformational efficiency gains. To be successful, this extended financial enterprise must give employees the breadth and depth of capabilities they need to build relationships, recognize opportunities and drive productivity. It also must give both customers and members new levels of personalization and intimacy.

The first step is changing that vertically organized, siloed technological structure into an “all for one, one for all” holistic approach.
Think horizontally, not vertically
Too often, financial services technology is viewed in technical or functional terms –“commercial lending” or “core systems,” “cash management” or “ACH.” Thinking horizontally—in terms of end-to-end business processes—keeps the focus on an institution’s customer experience. This means your small business customers can approve exception items while serving their customers away from the office—through self service channels. It also means your commercial lenders focus on credit quality and business plans, not origination systems and interfaces. All of this is possible by bringing together the people, process and technology of the extended financial enterprise.

Although supply chain management and enterprise resource planning take that horizontal approach, this concept has not penetrated all parts of most financial institutions. This void is due, in large part, to the predominance of legacy systems and a lack of true enterprise software in the market. Yet, extending any financial enterprise demands adoption of this horizontal view. Only when institutions can see beyond function to the full experience of their customers and their employees can they design enterprise capabilities to achieve the service quality and personalization that will define the “winners” and “losers” as the financial industry moves forward.

Let’s take a look at some of the specific benefits derived from an enterprise approach to technology.
Automate lending across the enterprise
In theory, lending is one enterprise process. In practice, many financial institutions fragment their loan operations into silos based on their individual software applications for origination, underwriting, servicing and debt management—often fragmented further across mortgage, consumer and commercial lending. This is a good example of where technology drives culture—with each functional silo building up separate sets of expertise, making efficiency tough to achieve.

In the extended financial enterprise, a loan is a loan is a loan. An enterprise platform unifies the lending business process, allowing automation and greater efficiency at each major stage of any loan.  As a result, institutions can unify loan operations teams and leverage expertise across different loan types.

More importantly, manual steps and subsequent errors are eliminated as a result of the straight-through-processing automation.
Deliver a superior experience by creating a single version of the truth
Since the invention of the first customer information file, software designers have sought to create “a single version of the truth--an aggregate “experience repository” allowing any person with the institution to understand the sum of a customer’s interactions from a single, role-based view. With ever-rising customer expectations of convenience—and the speed with which customers change their positions within the institution-- these capabilities are more critical than ever.

Enterprise technology must do three things to optimize the customer experience:

1. Unify all customer-related data. Ideally, this means establishing a true customer experience database-integrating transaction, account, personal, image, interaction and other data-including the customer relationships within the multiple “core” systems of the institution's operations, such as credit card, trust and insurance.
2. Update information that impacts the customer experience in real time, across every dimension of the relationship and in every channel.
3. Extend access -- providing convenient and secure self service access from multiple channels at any time of the day or night.

But, it doesn’t stop there. Another critical link in the customer experience chain is the employee experience. Do employees have the tools they need to solve customer problems? In the extended financial enterprise, empowered employees will interact with and enhance the customer experience using the same kinds of self service functions, presented by role, through a consistently delivered user interface.
Improve efficiency with a next-generation architecture
Architecture – the design of applications, the methods of development and their integration approach – is a key enabler of business performance. The extended financial enterprise embraces next-generation design principles, development tools and cost-effective operating environments.

That means, institutions with a mix of technologies realize real savings by reducing the complexity of their operations by unifying technology under a common framework. Using the same technologies throughout every tier of the architecture, from development environment, user experience and integration to database and server operating system, translates to greater efficiency and lower operational risk.

An integrated enterprise software platform brings together real-time core processing with market leading specialized applications. This results in a technology foundation that helps institutions manage risk proactively, offer competitive products, improve efficiency and deliver a superior customer experience.

• Risk Management. Unified solutions help manage credit, operational and compliance risk.

Extensive portfolio analysis capabilities help identify exposures and trends in various industry sectors, monitor credit risk within the portfolio and continuously monitor concentration levels. For operational and compliance risk, employees have a unified view of customer exposure combined with flexible transaction controls, auditing and reporting tools.

• Lending & Compliance. End-to-end commercial, consumer and mortgage lending capabilities that automate every stage of lending.

• Business Intelligence & Marketing. A combination of tools enabling institutions to conduct extensive market research and analysis, integrate and launch campaigns across the enterprise. A powerful report writer empowers staff to make decisions based on analysis from reports they create themselves. In addition, a flexible performance dashboard keeps key operational metrics always at hand.

• Self Service.
Mobile and Internet-based self service solutions for consumers and business customers that enable real-time convenience and straight-through-processing automation.

• Branch Automation. Easy-to-use teller, sales & service case management, origination and branch capture capabilities linked in real time to account servicing and transaction processing capabilities.

• Payments.
A comprehensive suite of payment solutions, including real-time EFT (ATM, signature and PIN-based debit processing), bill payment, image capture and exchange services, ACH processing and statement rendering. Integrated card management eliminates the need for duplicate entry of new debit card customers.

• Enterprise Content Management. Enterprise-wide access, from a single repository, to check, signature and other images, reports, statements and other documents fully integrated with customer servicing processes.

• Financial Accounting. Specialized applications for investments, fixed assets, accrued items and accounts payable all integrated with institution-wide financial data.

• Core.
A real-time transaction processing and account servicing engine. Integrated with every application throughout the financial institution.
A single, enterprise relationship database links to every application and is accessible through self service, branch and back-office channels. As a result, the entire customer relationship is front and center. In one glance, users can see customer exposure, profitability, entitlements and comprehensive personal information, including financial statements, image identification and contact history.

While so many core processing and ancillary systems are encumbered by old and often mixed technology architectures, an Extended Financial Enterprise is designed to save institutions time and money, making it easier for staff to access information for rapid decision making and scale as institutions grow.
Position for the future by streamlining today
Technology is playing a transformational role in our personal and professional lives. The nation’s estimated 70 million “generation Y” consumers and countless more expect convenience and personalization on an unprecedented scale.

But it cannot be achieved by technology alone. Being first to market with new products, consistently providing the ultimate customer experience and operating with razor-sharp efficiency demands collaboration of C-level leadership to unify culture, service and performance around the common goals of the institution.

The extended financial enterprise is an operational model for delivering on those expectations.
Author Information:
Sam Kilmer, Vice President of Market Development
Harland Financial Solutions
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Extend Your Financial Enterprise: Unifying culture, service and performance with enterprise technology
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