FINANCIAL SERVICES | Contributed Content, Singapore

How enterprise transparency can help your bank?

Virtually every activity within an organization in Singapore involves business content. The majority of operational activities involve creating, capturing, collaborating around, reviewing, reporting, publishing, and preserving that content. The product of these activities are essentially business records, which in turn need to be classified, have appropriate retention policies applied, and tracked throughout their lifecycle.

Today, content is considered the engine of business. Its reach is pervasive — from
contracts of different natures, emails, and other forms of electronic and physical records, to information published on Websites, instant messages, reports, and correspondence with customers, partners, and shareholders.

The challenge
In recent times, the financial industry has taken a huge beating with the plummeting of the stock market as well as the dire state of the global economy. The downsizing fortunes of many financial organizations including investment companies and banks have resulted in corporate chaos with management scrambling to meet the objectives and demands of their organisations.

Banks and financial organisations have huge amounts of data to manage and they need to keep track of their own records as well as those of their customers and investors. The ever-increasing number of libel suits by various sectors against banks and investment bodies only serve to contribute to more paperwork as well as scrambling for important documents from years back for crucial litigation cases.

To provide an example, three years ago, the DBS Minibonds lawsuit involved numerous Singaporean investors facing huge losses due to the global financial meltdown and the subsequent bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers financial services firm. The closed court proceedings involved many investors and no doubt involved huge documentation of the said bank and investors, comprising the investment documentation as well as the investors’ personal details.

Now, imagine a scenario where the bank has to submit all these details to the court over a span of three days and get itself prepared for the subsequent hearing. The scene at the bank will undoubtedly be chaotic, with administrative staff scrambling to locate and retrieve all relevant paperwork.

How can organizations in the financial industry manage tremendous, continuously-flowing amounts of amount of data? Is it possible, within seconds - to retrieve confidential documents from ages ago for an important financial case?

Manage the challenge
In striving to achieve cost efficiencies, increase information worker productivity, preserve and protect intellectual capital, and mitigate risk and corporate liability, executive management is scrutinizing technology investments more than ever before.

Enterprise software applications, complex storage solutions, and departmental content and records management systems have been deployed over time to control associated risk and limit the effects of “content chaos.” The way that progressive organizations think about and manage business content is changing. They are looking to advance enterprise-wide content management strategies beyond that of the cost of doing business toward a holistic approach that aligns IT investments with key business objectives.

Realizing this objective of aligning people, processes, and business content with organizational objectives, has come to be known as Enterprise Transparency.

Enabling transparency
Enterprise Transparency reflects the evolution of content management from simply tracking and controlling information to leveraging it for business advantage – setting it in action to drive business processes, create content-centric business applications, bridge structured and unstructured content repositories, and unleash information workers to make better, faster decisions based on a holistic, centralized view of business content.

To achieve Enterprise Transparency, organizations require a content management framework that helps streamline repetitive processes relating to review and approval cycles associated with content.

Content does, however, have its drawbacks. Organizations continue to struggle with “content chaos” – growing volumes of information, duplication, departmental or regional silos, the cost of maintaining legacy systems, the inability to access and act on content - and the list goes on. The most significant of all the drawbacks is the
risk that content represents. With mounting regulations and legislative mandates, content takes on a new role in today’s business climate.

Regulatory and legislative pressures, coupled with the goals of reducing costs, increasing productivity and generating competitive advantage, demand that organizations do more with business content than simply capture and store it.

Progressive organizations in Singapore are embracing the concept of Enterprise Transparency and the benefits of enabling a holistic view of business content across all systems, repositories, business units, and geographies. With a structured system in place, financial institutions no longer have to scramble with administrative clutter in a case of emergency. Let us act upon what might be chaotic tomorrow.

Graham Pullen, Vice President for OpenText Asia Pacific 

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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