How to engage with your customers and suppliers in an increasingly digital world.
In an earlier blog on the subject of digital transformation, I talked about how digital transformation involves more than just replacing internal IT systems. True digital transformation is more about adopting new processes and practices to help the organisation effectively compete in an increasingly digital world. This is why no organisation is immune from the impact of digitisation.
We are living in a world where customers are becoming more digitally aware and want to deal with businesses in the same way as they live their lives. This means all our businesses should be focused on digital transformation to a greater or lesser extent.
In this post, I shall extend this topic and explain why I believe effective digital transformation must also involve the whole supply chain. From suppliers of goods and services to your business, through to the clients who consume your products or services. I shall illustrate this with examples of three products that are helping to achieve this within organisations I work with. The examples will be focused on FinTech solutions in Wealth Management businesses, but the same principles can be applied to other sectors.
In our interconnected world no organisation exists in isolation. We’ve been communicating electronically with our suppliers and customers for years. Who remembers when the fax was the principle method of inter-business communication before email? As ubiquitous as email is, it is coming under a lot of pressure these days. The majority of cyber threats are delivered over email, and our inboxes are increasingly full of spam. Email is so easy to use it has become the default way of business communication, but it is not efficient or effective in many cases.
Collaboration in its simplest form involves sharing of information. Information that exists as a message, a document or a piece of media. This is why systems like DropBox, OneDrive and GoogleDrive have been so effective. But due to data security issues, they are not generally suitable for business use.
A company at the forefront of digital collaboration is Objective Connect. Objective Connect is at the intersection of people, information and process.
By creating secure, private workspaces in minutes, Objective Connect enables business users to collaborate with anyone outside of their organisation. Because it can be used to manage any business process, Objective Connect enables digital transformation – removing the need for paper, email, USB drives, DVD’s and rogue or shadow IT.
It allows organisations to create ‘Workspaces’ which can be used for collaborating with clients and service providers. The Workspace owner defines who can have access and what permissions they have. There is no limit on the number of workspaces that can be created. Objective Connect started providing services to UK police forces and the NHS but have recently entered the financial services space. They have an excellent integration with Laserfiche (a leading ECM system), which provides seamless document transfer from the internal document repository up to the shared Workspaces, stored securely in Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
Document sharing ensures that you and your partners always have access to the same version of a document. It prevents email boxes being clogged with unnecessary attachments and makes collaboration with remote partners so much easier. Objective Connect can also be used as a very simple client portal to distribute reports, statements, valuations, etc, to your clients.
When the requirement for collaboration involves more than just document sharing a more sophisticated solution may be required. This is where a product like Sirius, from Vega Solutions comes in. Sirius provides a secure portal that can be used for secure messaging, storing data as well as document storage.
Think of a client on-boarding process, or a complex transaction involving a property purchase. Both these scenarios require the collection and reuse of information. Multiple parties will be involved in the process, which will comprise several stages with approvals before completion. A secure client portal with an integral database can provide the environment to enable these transactions to take place under the organisations control whilst allowing the parties to collaborate freely. Once the transaction is complete the relevant data can be integrated with the organisations core back office systems.
I started the discussion above with document collaboration which by its very nature involves lots of unstructured information. We then moved to an on-boarding situation which will contain a mix of unstructured and structured data that can be stored in a database. However, when we are dealing with typical B2B transactions, the data involved is usually of a consistent format. This is where a product like 3CEPS can greatly improve efficiency and remove manual interventions.
3CEPS is an innovative software development house that has taken the costly, manual process of inputting large amounts of data presented in varying formats and automated it. 3CEPS are data mapping experts. They have written and developed a unique software platform that simplifies the extraction of data from a document, whether a scanned image (i.e. tiff, gif, jpeg), pdf or electronic source (i.e. electronic banking flow). The software has been developed by scientists, but written for businesses.
3CEPS automates existing manual processes with unmatched speed and accuracy. 3CEPS extracts your data and metadata from any electronically generated source and accurately presents and maps the data in the exact format you require, for ingestion in to your core application.
What I hope I have demonstrated in this article is that true digital transformation has to consider end-to-end business processes. It needs to involve both suppliers and customers. It is unlikely that existing technology systems will be able to achieve these aims, but there are plenty of solutions that can bridge the gaps between internal core systems.
Further information on any of the systems referenced in this article can be obtained from Solitaire Consulting.
- Objective Connect is being resold to financial services businesses by MBS in the Isle of Man. MBS are also a leading international reseller of Laserfiche enterprise content management systems.
- Vega Solutions is an innovated small FinTech business based in the UK. Vega provide bespoke portals for private banks and wealth managers.
- 3CEPS is being represented by RoncoMetrics in Grand Cayman.
MBS, Vega Solutions and RoncoMetrics are all partners of Solitaire Consulting in the Channel Islands.