Automating workflow is the key to improving back office efficiency, says new research from EasyLink Services

London, April 3, 2006 - EasyLink Services, the global messaging and transaction management specialist, has today released new research demonstrating that automated workflow is the holy grail of back office efficiency for financial services providers. The survey, based on 50 interviews with IT directors across a range of financial institutions, was carried out by an independent research agency acting for EasyLink Services.

When asked what single factor would do most to improve the efficiency of the back office, 63% of respondents argued in favour of automated workflow. 32% thought that better document management capabilities would make the greatest difference while 5% suggested that better quality of personnel in the back office would ensure a significant impact.

The research also demonstrates that good progress has been made in driving out manual processes in the back office, although some firms clearly have more to do in terms of maximising efficiency through automation.

- 18% of those surveyed have automated 90% or more of their back office processes;
- 6% have automated 80-90% of processes;
- 35% have automated 70-80% of back office processes;
- 29% have managed to automate 60-70%;
- 12% have less than 60% of their processes automated

In terms of which areas represent the biggest challenge to eliminate manual processing:

- 30% of respondents said that trade confirmations were the biggest challenge;
- 26% thought corporate actions were the hardest area to deal with;
- 15% thought that payments were the most difficult part of the back office to automate;
- Finally, it seems that SWIFT messaging still represents a major challenge – 67% of those surveyed said that communicating with non-SWIFT partners was difficult

Sylvester Smith, Sales Director at EasyLink, commented:

"Our research suggests that there is still more to do when it comes to improving the efficiency of the back office for financial institutions around the world. The world of ever-decreasing margins and pressures - caused by greater levels of regulation and low-cost competition - is driving companies to continually strive for creative ways to strip costs out of the back office. Indeed, most operational directors are now asked to review their back office operations every 3 years as a bare minimum. While it’s clear that progress has been made in delivering back office efficiencies, there are still areas that require attention, especially with new compliance mandates – notably MiFID – on the horizon."

Become a bobsguide member to access the following

1. Unrestricted access to bobsguide
2. Send a proposal request
3. Insights delivered daily to your inbox
4. Career development