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Becca Lipman
Becca Lipman
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Survey Shows an Urgency to Automate the Back Office

Confluence reports numbers are trending up across the board when discussing the need to automate back-office processes.

Concerned about the consistency and accuracy of back office technology? You're not alone. According to an Asset Management Industry Trends survey conducted by Confluence, 61% said replacing manual processes with automated technology was the most important back office goal during the next two years.

These goals are driven by the inherent risks of manual processes, and the fear that without back-office automation, it will be impossible to meet the tittle wave of regulatory reporting deadlines.

Manual processes are becoming harder and harder to maintain against the increasing speed of regulations. This is compounded by many institutions still having fragmented data in multiple locations. In one example from Todd Moyer, EVP of global business development at Confluence, a client's two page marketing communication document required 70 different systems to feed it.

Fear of errors and inconsistencies are taking hold. The time and resources needed to resolve inconsistencies in data is a significant risk to these firms, and they are taking that aspect seriously.

"The financial industry has moved from a position of the workload being from something they can cope with to something they need to address," said Moyer. "Efficiency alone is no longer enough. Everyone has wanted to eliminate manual workloads for years but back office fragmentations and the increase of regulatory reporting is bringing urgency to the matter and making this a priority for 2015."

Moyer adds that if you want to grow a business or scale it up, these automation issues must be taken into consideration.

Key findings
A total of 96 asset managers and third party administrators were surveyed throughout September. Ninety four percent of respondents said they are concerned manual processes affect their ability to control errors in the back office, up from 85% in 2010. And 83% said they worried manual processes would affect ability to meet reporting deadlines.

In line with a wish to curb manual processes, 81% said they would like the see the use of spreadsheets decrease in the back-office.

Respondents also said consolidation of back office systems, many of which are operated by third party services, would help achieve higher operational efficiency. While 78% reported they are currently using third party solutions to supper the back office, 87% said consolidating those services into one database was important to the firm. The survey suggests this movement is well underway, as only 38% said they have not yet begun consolidating.

Becca Lipman is Senior Editor for Wall Street & Technology. She writes in-depth news articles with a focus on big data and compliance in the capital markets. She regularly meets with information technology leaders and innovators and writes about cloud computing, datacenters, ... View Full Bio
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fstechexec
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fstechexec,
User Rank: Moderator
10/30/2014 | 10:02:31 AM
big focus
Back office automation has lagged front office investmetns for years. Firms will be able to achieve substantial efficiency savings by incrementally automating BO operations.
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2014 | 11:27:45 AM
Re: big focus
Agreed. It's lagged so much in investment, I'm under the impression the FO systems are shiny and new with Matrix style user interfaces, while the BO staff is still running on Windows 95. When the playing field is leveled I expect they'll see greater speed and process efficeincies. Everybody wins!
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