Banks operate through numerous customer-facing and internal processes governed by complex regulations and stringent organization policies. These processes are either managed by the bank’s core teams or outsourced to external agencies. In either case it is absolutely critical to ensure complete standardization of operations and compliance with various information security policies. Any kind of slip-up is ladled with severe financial repercussions and an irreversible dent to the bank’s reputation.

With rapid expansion at the heart of banks’ corporate strategy, this key imperative is at stake. Moreover, by setting up operations across different locations with different teams and processes, banks are faced with duplication of operations and thus unnecessary costs. The resultant functional silos and inefficient use of resources become the reason for lower overall productivity.

Let’s take a look at an example

A rapidly growing bank has 50 different branches spread all across the country. Each of these branches has its own account opening department, credit card processing department, loan processing department and the list goes on. Plus, there are external agencies that manage some of these processes.

Now, under the circumstances can the bank be sure of operating seamlessly across all the multiple branches? What about standardization of processes, transparency and reporting?

You might retort that in this era of connectivity, we do get reports and updates on a regular basis from all these branches. There is a slight catch here. These reports don’t give you the real time visibility you need for these critical functions. Furthermore, their manageability creates a big burden on the bank’s operations team.

Well, it’s time to de-clutter!

Centralization- The way it was

A traditional shared service center (SSC) involves the creation of centralized infrastructure and allocation of the required resources to manage a process. The immediate benefits include lower operational costs, more skilled resources at work and better customer services. However, the whole process is a huge undertaking and may take several years to fully operationalize. For most banks this seems like a huge deterrent.

Welcome to the era of virtual shared services

Advances in technology and communications have led to an era of virtual shared service centers. These render the same benefits of a traditional shared service center without the overhead burden of setting up new infrastructure and resource pools.

Virtual shared services is essentially creating an operational framework where selected business processes are automated, centralized and standardized virtually without creating a separate physical infrastructure for it.

This means a knowledge worker can be located anywhere, yet is able to execute requests from any branch seamlessly by staying connected seamlessly to the virtual SSC, allowing him to collaborate in real time. All process participants can come together on a common platform to discuss various aspects of a process, from design to execution. As a result operations become much leaner with de-duplicated processes and functional roles.

Now, isn’t this much simpler and efficient way of standardizing operations?

So what do you need to implement this in your organization?

Three aspects within your IT framework are a must if you are looking to establish a virtual shared service center.

  1. Configurable business rules: Have a flexible business rules framework that can be vary based on the location of your branch. This will ensure consistency in operations and adherence to process SLAs, while discounting for the regional differences that may exist
  2. Enterprise-wide collaboration: Build a platform for all business stakeholders to collaborate seamlessly for designing and executing intelligent business processes. This way you can have a connected pool of experts working on a common process
  3. Anytime anywhere access to enterprise information: Empower your mobile workforce to make intelligent business decisions on-the-go, by allowing anytime, anywhere access to key business information.