In the financial industry, time is of the essence and everything
moves at a fast pace, especially since the industry deals with a
tool necessary to live in the modern world—money. As the saying
goes, time is gold—and these days, time=money. Processes are being
automated to make things more efficient, saving businesses time and
costs in developing their products and putting them out in the
market at the earliest possible time. It should not come as a
surprise that the finance industry embraces these innovations that
will help people transact with the world faster.
financial industry has already proven itself to be an early adopter
of new technologies—it managed to introduce concepts such as the
wire transfer in the 1870s, automated teller machines in the 1960s,
and online payments in the 1990s. Automation has since been the
industry's secret to enabling not only a smooth flow of day-to-day
financial transactions for customers and the general population, but
also the continuous growth and success of businesses in the
In this digital age of rapid advancement,
automation will continue to be a driving force in this industry.
Nonetheless, automating even just one aspect of your financial
operations can be a tricky task. If not approached properly,
automation can be disastrous for the business, as technical glitches
involving money will never be good news. Process automation should
be done with accuracy and caution. Here are a few pointers to guide
you once you decide to automate your enterprise:
1. It should benefit the customer. Automation should not be
done just for the sake of making your services look fancy. The
customer's welfare should come first. For example, the Bank of the
Philippine Islands (BPI) added an automated queuing system, allowing
customers to queue effortlessly, while also enabling tellers to
immediately see a client’s banking transaction request. This
minimizes the time it takes for a transaction to occur, allowing
both the customer and the bank to tend to other important tasks.
2. It should provide value. Any automation that is to be
implemented in the workplace must be done because of the value it
can provide the business, especially if it can save significant
resources for the business. Back in the 80s, for instance, credit
card authorizations were done over the phone. However, this drove
higher phone costs which meant higher operational expenses for both
the company and the consumer, basically prompting credit card
companies to develop a better authorization system for transactions
from the 1980s to the 1990s. This movement originated in Europe,
leading to the development of the EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and
Visa) system that we know today.
3. Actual implementation is key. Successful business
automation involves an orderly transition from the old to the new.
Different technologies require different learning curves, and
standard birthing pains can be expected when new processes are
introduced. Your new automated process may have all the bells and
whistles at planning stage, but these will not count unless they are
actually implemented, and executed well.
The rollout of the
EMV security system for ATM systems in the country is a process that
has taken years to be fully established across all banks. When it
was first introduced, banks took a considerable amount of time and
effort to implement the technology, gradually upgrading their ATMs
to be EMV-ready. Once the technology was in place and banks were
ready to roll it out, educating customers about it took time as
well. Various steps needed to be done to enable this transition to a
new system that changed the financial world.
4. Be ready to make a heavy and constant investment.
Implementing automation requires much capital that a business intent
to automate must have the resources to do so. It is also important
to remember that this investment is going to be a recurring one.
This is very much evident especially in mobile banking, where major
global banks such as Citibank and Maybank spend a total of USD80
million for mobile banking development alone. On top of that, they
also allot about 10-20% of their annual budget to support and
maintain the apps for mobile banking, given that mobile transactions
are becoming the norm.
5. Have automation disaster recovery in place. There will be
instances where automation may suffer due to disruptions such as
disasters or other fortuitous events that can affect communication
channels. This is especially true in the Philippines, as we live in
a disaster-prone environment due to super storms and other natural
calamities. Thus, it is important to have a recovery plan in place
to avoid disruption and to ensure business continuity. Contingency
plans such as Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) and a highly
secure Data Center can help businesses prevent downtime and
financial losses in these situations.
At Globe, it is our
mission to provide topnotch service to customers—both consumers and
businesses—and ultimately contribute to the betterment of the lives
of Filipinos. A huge part of the Philippine population remains
unbanked, resulting to a lot of communities having limited access to
financial services. In a shared goal with the government and through
our financial services subsidiary, Mynt, we took advantage of the
high penetration rate of mobile devices in the country and enabled
Filipinos to access their finances and make banking transactions on
mobile phones. With Mynt and GCash, people can transfer money
locally and internationally, sending money to their families or
paying bills in an instant, without incurring additional expenses
for transportation or transaction fees. The big picture is to enable
financial inclusion to Filipinos from all walks of life, from the
less-fortunate to the privileged, and automation takes us one step
closer to the goal.
Whether or not a business belongs to the
finance industry, automation is key for an enterprise’s growth.
Applying technology, even in the smallest aspects of a business, can
help increase operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. With
right planning, good timing, and proper execution, automation will
take industries a step further and ultimately make a difference in