By Todd Dauchy, CEO of SMA Technologies
Credit unions and banks are on thin ice with members and clients. A recent study by The Harris Poll revealed over 40% of financial consumers would seek to put their money elsewhere if their financial institution (FI) fails to provide a robust digital banking experience. Furthermore, nearly 60% of respondents said their local credit union or bank’s digital offerings were not up to par.
As consumers demand better digital banking experiences, credit unions and banks face a heightened need to expedite digital innovation, often requiring a transformation of their core processes. As such, FIs must rely on their IT staff to push the envelope by developing new products, integrations, and services to meet the consumer’s expectations.
Precluding innovation since the pandemic prompted a Great Resignation, the ongoing talent shortage has plagued IT departments in financial institutions as employees resign in droves and seek new opportunities elsewhere. A survey published by TalentLMS indicates that the tightening labor market will not dissipate any time soon, with 72% of polled IT workers considering quitting their jobs in 2022.
While FIs have long struggled to recruit and retain IT talent, COVID-19 elevated the need for tech skills as business processes grew more reliant upon digitization to meet remote work needs and virtual customer interactions. These intersectional factors have significantly widened talent gaps across many credit unions’ IT teams, leaving the remaining staff responsible for the fallout and consumers forced to decide which financial institution best serves their needs.
Many FIs are leaning on traditional approaches to attract and retain talent, such as increasing pay and benefits and offering flexibility with when and where workers can complete the job. Seeing that most employers are using these methods, it may be worthwhile to think about the problem stemming from the institution’s operational framework. Asking IT staff to perform monotonous, low-value tasks all day is unsustainable for both the worker and the workload, leading to inefficiencies, increased human error, decreased job satisfaction, and the reduction of time spent innovating to improve the customer experience.
To keep pace with innovation while aiming to retain IT staff, many FIs realize how workload automation and orchestration can alleviate the workforce crises they face by strengthening both the customer and employee experience, driving innovation and productivity.
Free Up IT Resources With Workload Automation and Orchestration
IT departments in FIs across the world are working at exceeding capacity. In addition to a tightening workforce, workloads are increasingly complex, stretching across many hybrid work environments. To address these stressors without compromising innovation, workload automation (WLA) and orchestration remains the strongest solution for reducing the burden on IT employees and teams. Automation aids in scheduling and executing business-critical operations that are repeatable and scalable, saving time, cutting costs, reducing risk, and driving the business forward. For FIs, this begins with automating core processes such as deposit, loan, and credit processing. As workloads grow and needs evolve, resilient automation software empowers non-technical business users to experience the benefits of automation through self-service workflows, further freeing IT staff to focus on high-value initiatives.
WLA enables FIs to harvest digital innovation, making the most of a strained labor market by freeing up IT resources. Some additional areas FIs can free up resources using modern-day WLA include:
- Business Intelligence and Reporting: WLA empowers FIs to easily streamline ETL (Extract/Transform/Load) processes for repetition so IT can gain better oversight for managing data warehouses and scheduling file movement and data loads.
- Strengthened Compliance and Security: Automation enables FIs to adeptly oversee security privileges anywhere across the organization and easily keep records for auditing to satisfy compliance requirements.
- Document Imaging and Storage: FIs can leverage imaging and storage technology to automate how documents such as reports, image loads, and check images are captured and stored, reducing the need for manual sorting and the risk of misplacement.
- Lights-Out Processing: WLA enables FIs to forgo manual interventions when processing traditionally manual transactions, including ACH, mortgage servicing, online and mobile banking payments, Remote Deposit Capture, P2P Payments, etc., eliminating the need for a third shift.
- Improved Business Continuity: FIs can gain operational resilience through self-healing routines when applications or systems are disrupted without warning.
Turn the IT Talent Shortage on Its Head
When WLA frees staff from monotonous tasks, they can be reassigned to focus on member and client needs and expectations. Once alleviated, key IT personnel can assume more responsibility and contribute to the organization’s growth trajectory, fueling a digital transformation strategy that will stand the test of time. Empowering your IT staff’s professional development will let them know how valued they are, increasing the likelihood that they will stick around for what’s to come.
By assigning low-value IT tasks to your WLA software, IT personnel will feel valued. Implementing automation is not about eliminating people; it’s about eliminating the drudge work your staff are consumed by. This improves your team’s morale, increasing employee retention while attracting new candidates that possess a drive to contribute to innovation, a competitive edge when hiring. Reducing human intervention also reduces human error, a common occurrence when manually entering large amounts of data.
While it’s inevitable that FIs will experience turnover, especially in these turbulent times, WLA can assist in documenting essential processes, reducing the loss of institutional knowledge. A repository of business-critical operations will be extremely helpful in onboarding new hires. The reduced need for advanced coding and scripting skills will also bolster your FI’s recruiting ability. Filling job openings quickly lessen opportunity costs of the time and resources your organization will need to recruit.
Ready, Set… Automate!
As financial institutions emerge from the pandemic looking to tackle the IT talent shortage, workload automation brings excellent opportunities to retain employees, recruit new ones, and keep pace with evolved consumer expectations. Instead of operating reactively, maintaining a strategic approach will be essential for FIs to overcome these talent challenges. By utilizing the power and scalability of modern workload automation and orchestration, you can take control of your FI’s operations and scale to new heights.