AIS President, Tom Clark, unpacks the transformative role of managed services in banking automation.
Drawing from your extensive background as a bank CIO and InfoSec Executive, can you share your insights on working with managed service providers (MSPs) and their role in banking operations?
Over the past 25 years, I have collaborated with MSPs in various capacities within the financial services industry. These providers offer invaluable scalability and specialized expertise that may be difficult or costly to obtain.
For smaller and mid-sized companies, managed service providers bring scalability and specialized knowledge that may otherwise be unaffordable or impractical. For larger organizations, MSPs can efficiently handle non-core activities at a lower cost, allowing internal resources to focus on customer-facing differentiators.
I have witnessed firsthand the immense value MSPs contribute to supporting back-office functions, optimizing IT infrastructure, bolstering cybersecurity, and simplifying regulatory compliance. For instance, MSPs can provide flexible staffing and surge capabilities in tasks supporting residential mortgage fulfillment. Since volumes are highly dependent on interest rates, a sudden increase in volumes may exceed a provider's capacity to staff fulfillment positions. In such situations, an experienced MSP with robust process controls can create instant capacity to manage the surge.
Currently, as part of the AIS team, I work closely with our experts to develop and implement managed services and RPA solutions for banks, helping them enhance operational efficiency, reduce costs, and focus on their core objectives.
How do AIS's "Managed Services" differ from traditional outsourcing?
AIS's managed services deviate from traditional outsourcing by fostering long-term partnerships centered around continuous improvement and alignment with client goals.
We act as an extension of our clients' teams, collaborating closely to achieve shared objectives and boost efficiency. This collaborative approach sets our managed services apart from conventional outsourcing, enabling us to deliver customized, strategic solutions that drive success for our clients.
What advantages can banks gain from outsourcing processes to an MSP before implementing RPA solutions?
While there are many benefits of outsourcing to a managed service provider, efficiency and cost savings seem to be the most significant advantages. By outsourcing processes to a managed service provider initially, you can immediately cut costs in half. In our many years of experience, we have often found that client processes are not well documented or sufficiently mature for immediate automation. Starting with managed services enables our associates to become familiar with the process, document it and establish tighter process controls.
This allows us to work with our process engineers to optimize it and create a more efficient, better process from the start. As we assess the improved process, we can then determine if automation through RPA is a suitable fit. This entire process takes place with minimal intervention from the client. If the process isn't a good fit for automation, we can continue using our skilled personnel to maintain cost-effective operations, ensuring that your business remains competitive and efficient.
Which back-office functions are the best candidates for transitioning to an MSP, and what is the typical timeline for enhancing these functions with RPA?
Ideal candidates for transitioning to an MSP include highly repetitive, rule-based, manual back-office functions prone to human error. Financial Spreading, Positive Pay, and Deposit Document Indexing are just a few examples.
Depending upon client environment testing and customizations, bot deployment could take between 3 to 6 months.
What advice would you give to a bank evaluating different providers?
When selecting a provider, banks should:
- Assess the provider's domain expertise and industry experience.
- Examine the provider's track record offering a blend of managed services with RPA implementation and process optimization.
- Evaluate the provider's technology stack and its compatibility with the bank's existing infrastructure.
- Ensure the provider prioritizes security and compliance to mitigate potential risks.
- Seek providers that offer flexible engagement models and can scale with the bank's evolving needs.
- Consider the provider's ability to collaborate and communicate effectively with the bank's internal teams.