A modern back-office could save wealth management firms millions of dollars. But, in the rush to equip advisors with the best digital technologies, the back-office is sometimes neglected. I advise my clients to focus on both. The savings generated by modernizing back-office operations could help fuel customer-facing transformation.

Accenture research tells us that by 2020, up to 40 percent of bank spending on digital transformation will be in operations. Another Accenture study on Intelligent Operations found the payoff across industries for transforming operations with technology is worth it; on average, respondents expect a 22 percent cost impact and 21 percent revenue impact in three years from transformation initiatives.

This same research shows a robust customer experience strategy is one of the most significant drivers of operational agility. Nearly 50% of enterprises, though, say their back-office is not keeping pace with front-office requirements as they evolve toward an integrated model. This strategy replaces siloed front, middle and back-office functions with seamless processes and digital capabilities.

If you’re embarking on (or even in the middle of) a back-office modernization program, I suggest three things to keep in mind.

#1—A single view of the client makes a world of difference in crafting the right client experience.

Working in silos between a front and back-office puts your firm at a competitive disadvantage. Clients expect an exceptional experience tailored to their needs, regardless of which channel or area of the organization they are dealing with. A single shared toolset for the front and back-office provides a holistic, single view of client—helping to ensure consistency in delivering the right individual client experiences.

#2—End-to-end workflow is more than a wonky term—it’s key to client outcomes.

An end-to-end workflow between front and back-office could increase your firm’s efficiency exponentially. Digital technology and automation could help turn disparate processes into a seamless workflow aimed at specific client outcomes. Incorporating this workflow into a value chain for all wealth operations ensures efficiency is built into your model.

#3—Applied intelligence really does help teams work smarter.

Our Intelligent Operations research clearly suggests the future belongs to organizations with a 360-degree view of their operations. It enables quicker, insight-led decision making. Applied intelligence—combining artificial intelligence (AI) with data, analytics and automation into a unified, silo-busting strategic vision—could decrease complexity across your back-office.

Agility up, complexity down—all at lower cost—could be a win/win for firms and clients.

In our recent work with several North American Wealth Management firms, I am seeing firsthand new back-office efficiencies impacting front-office advisors positively. With automation, back-office employees are no longer manually inputting the same client data into various systems multiple times. Client information is now transparent between front and back-office, so teams no longer need to waste time manually sharing client information. Digitization of forms and documents results in less paperwork being passed between teams that could involve human error. As back-office processes are better coordinated and managed, wealth management firms gain greater efficiency.

But improved efficiency is not just about the numbers. Advisors are now freed up to spend less time worrying about processing and administrative issues from back-office, and more energy focused on understanding and engaging their clients’ needs.

Transforming the back-office could be the core to a firm’s competitiveness, by transforming the customer experience and freeing funds to fuel new growth.

If you would like to discuss this topic further or get additional information, please email capital.markets@accenture.com.

Special thanks to David Cruickshank, Senior Manager – Capital Markets, Wealth Management and Tiffany A. Chan, Consultant – Capital Markets, Wealth Management for contributing to this blog.

 

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