Intelligent automation in the financial services sector: How the AI lifesaver is pulling Australian banks to safety

The AI lifesaver that's pulling Australian banks to safety

It has been a year of adversity for the financial sector in Australia, with inflationary pressures, supply chain uncertainty and diminishing consumer confidence posing major challenges. Alongside the economic issues that businesses are grappling with, an undercurrent of rapid technology advancements and shifting customer expectations are putting firms at a critical juncture faced with managing immediate challenges or focusing on the bigger issues ahead.

To emerge stronger, financial institutions must embrace transformation like never before, reshape every aspect of how they operate – the era of intelligent automation has arrived.

Aussie banking to transform with intelligent automation

Latching on to the power of artificial intelligence, businesses and banks across the globe are increasingly utilising intelligent automation platforms to streamline processes and optimise performance. In a recent study conducted by Forrester in partnership with Pega, they found businesses increased back-office operational efficiency by up to 45% following the adoption of intelligent automation software – helping with process automation and improved insights.

Financial institutions noted a 70% reduction in time spent on non-value add tasks and a 20% decrease in average handle time at contact centres – resulting in a substantial increase in business performance that equates to tens of millions of dollars in savings. Reports show the software sped up due diligence to such a degree that it reduced approval time by 90%.

It’s this approach of streamlining in financial institutions that Australia must adopt, if they hope to ride out the storm of change that we’re currently in the midst of – particularly as tech-savvy banks gather pace with younger generations clambering aboard in their droves.

Reimaging the financial services landscape

The AI lifesaver that's pulling Australian banks to safety

With inevitable change on the horizon, intelligent automation is being used to give financial institutions a level of efficiency that was once unimaginable. Yet, still, some risk-averse businesses like banks, built on a foundation of tradition, may be too slow to embrace change.

Through the power of AI and intelligent automation, routine and mundane tasks that once burdened employees are handled seamlessly by AI-powered systems – a newfound efficiency that translates to reduced costs, faster processing times and enhanced productivity.

By embracing automation, financial institutions are strategically positioning themselves to thrive in an industry that increasingly demands agility and rapid response. And while cost saving is one major benefit, the impact of intelligent automation extends far beyond – serving as a catalyst that helps deliver unparalleled customer experiences.

But it’s behind the scenes where the real magic of intelligent automation lies – one example being its ability to provide actionable insights. Through data analysis and predictive analytics, banks can gain invaluable insights that fuel strategic decision-making – from optimising deployment of their workforce to identifying customer trends, AI-powered automated insights empower institutions to make informed choices that impact their bottom line.

Managing Compliance and Risk

Being among the most regulated industries on the planet, financial services businesses are successfully using intelligent automation to go far beyond the optimisation of processes – utilising its power to enable automations that protect and ultimately grow the business.

For example, through real-time monitoring and reporting that happens at lightning speed, banks can now easily adhere to the heavy and strict regulatory and conduct requirements imposed by governing bodies – helping them stay on top of complexities with ease.

The AI lifesaver that's pulling Australian banks to safety

When the customer is at the centre of the organisation, with all the compliance needs built into the business rules governing how a customer’s transaction or product needs are handled, then the ability to detect and react to any breaches is significantly simplified.

With intelligent automation platforms, software can be deployed to improve the transparency and tracking abilities for compliance teams. With enhanced visibility into their workflows and audit trails in place, firms can demonstrate a strong compliance posture and respond to concerns in a timely fashion. In the Forrester study, one business recorded savings of nearly $1.4m over three years through fine avoidance and compliance team productivity savings.

At a time when Aussie banks facescrutiny – reducing risk, avoiding penalties and protecting their reputations through tech, seems like a clear option. Building a trusted reputation takes a long time but innovating in a business that operates on principles defined long ago, could take longer. That is unless automations can help – in product development, the speed at which new products and services can be delivered, tested, and brought to market is unprecedented.

This agility enables financial institutions to meet the ever-changing demands of clients and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving market. Particularly important in challenging times, meeting customer demands in all areas is extra important, yet the challenge is managing this without increasing time, costs and resources substantially. Contact centres remain a first point of contact for many customers, and as such can equate to a substantial cost.

Using disparate and antiquated tech to manage these response centres makes it more difficult for firms to transform into modern digital enterprises. The legacy solutions currently in place, don’t allow for growth or evolution as times change – 46% of study respondents admit the technology they have in place was not the best fit for their current business goals.

Lack of agility hinders a lot more than teams

The AI lifesaver that's pulling Australian banks to safety

Slow internal processes hurt the customer experience. On the customer side, organisations seek to help improve customer service, build efficient customer-facing operations, and quickly respond to changes in the market. But there often exists an execution gap between how they want to engage customers and the capabilities of their existing systems.

Internal back and forth and process-quality issues combined with no insight into performance for client-related workflows created service delays, which hinder customer satisfaction and loyalty. The impact of empowering teams through automation tech can’t be underestimated – it reaches far beyond customer satisfaction, often providing insights, analytics and data that tell us much more about our customer’s needs, habits, wants and pain points.

While in one financial services organisation interviewed by Forrester found the implementation of low-code platform itself increased collaboration between IT and business – improving output and the organisations time-to-market, claiming it doubled that of its previous solution.

The role of automation will inevitably help produce greater output during challenging times, to result in an uplift of customer experience and an opportunity to drive additional revenue.

It’s abundantly clear to see the impact this new breed of intelligent technology will have on businesses in the future as we see its deployment grow year on year. In the current economic environment, intelligent automation seems to play the part of a lifesaver pulling Australian banks out of the cost rip. The solutions streamlined work and business flows and tasks that allows financial institutions to progress, move forward and evolve successfully.

Jonathan Tanner is the Senior Director, Industry Principal Financial Services and Insurance APAC at Pega.