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WHAT IS DATA AUTOMATION?

Data automation is a transformational approach to automating the front-to-back processing of data throughout your organisation. It removes the manual work, cost and risk associated with managing data.

Traditional automation projects have largely been siloed in nature, because processes themselves were siloed – for instance, by asset class or in either the front, middle, or back office. Firms typically had to resort to a specialised point solution for each particular automation use case.

Data automation, by comparison, provides a solution for the end-to-end, front-to-back automation of all enterprise data (regardless of format or structure).

It enables you to conquer the ‘last mile’ to full automation, replacing a piecemeal approach with one scalable platform.

This empowers you to tackle some of your biggest challenges by standardising and consolidating your data and technology: rising costs, opaque data controls, high headcount in Operations, risk-prone manual work and a lack of business agility.

Data automation unlocks enterprise wide transparency and analytics, for greater intelligence and compliance, while delivering $millions in savings annually and powering a modern, scalable and adaptable way of doing business.

WHO IS DATA AUTOMATION FOR?

Data automation is the solution for functions that process high volumes of complex, mission-critical data.

Finance and Operations departments in capital markets, in particular, stand to benefit hugely from data automation. They rely on a significant amount of costly and slow manual work to deal with the scale and importance of their data.

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WHY DO I NEED DATA AUTOMATION?

Data automation is the long-awaited solution to many familiar and sticky challenges around data in financial services

Organisational complexity and poor data quality have limited automation across capital markets. Most data processing happens outside of core systems, with people (the ‘Human APIs’) filling the gaps between systems.

On average there’s a 60/40 split between core processing and ‘off platform’ activities. All this leads to the need for 5,000-10,000 full-time employees (FTEs) across the middle and back office in large enterprises.

The data automation technology and approach empowers you to break free from this cycle of bad data and outdated systems. It enables a new, futureproof operating model built on a foundation of trusted data – one where intensive manual work is a thing of the past.

You can use data automation to cut costs and risk, increase efficiency, improve transparency and compliance, and accelerate time to market.

Financial firms have needed data automation for decades. Now, the technology is ready to make it a reality.

What are the business benefits
of data automation?

Data automation can rapidly deliver value on the level of an individual use case, or unlock huge global efficiencies across an enterprise.

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Operational efficiency

A data automation platform solves the core issue slowing Operations functions down: a lack of trust in data. It does this by bringing all mission-critical data together in one place so you can standardise and consolidate processes across the business.

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Cost savings

Data automation enables you to remove the legacy technology cost burdening your operations. As a result, those huge Operations teams are freed from low-value manual work and able to make a real impact.

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Governance, control and compliance

Standardising your processes, consolidating systems and removing all the manual work around data unlocks transparency across the front-to-back lifecycle of your data.

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Business agility

Putting control over data processes into the hands of business users greatly accelerates your time-to-value. It makes you a more responsive, agile business.

Why is data automation transformative?

Data automation enables firms to move away from traditional operating models focussed on exceptions management.

These models don’t give organisations the flexibility and speed they need to keep pace with the demands of the modern world.

As a result, the technology, people and process demands of your organisation change. You can decommission costly legacy systems, redistribute responsibility amongst Operations, Finance and IT, remove manual work and risk, and increase business agility.

Firms can use data automation to create a data-centric operating model, where the focus is on having clean data that enables processes, rather than on repeatedly cleaning up the mess made by poor data. What this means in practice is that you take a proactive approach to data quality instead of waiting for exceptions to arise downstream and then addressing those.

By working this way, you create an organisation that has much more trust in its data. The result is far less time spent checking it – which currently often happens multiple times across different teams and functions – and the cost and inefficiencies associated with that disappear.

EXAMPLE: A DATA-CENTRIC APPROACH

Data automation enables firms to proactively manage data quality, instead of waiting for something to break and then fixing the symptoms of the issue.

A good example of this could be having weekly controls to check the accuracy of standard settlement instructions (SSIs) you hold for all your counterparties.

This happens even when you’re not currently trading with them. Ensuring they are accurate removes a major cause of downstream errors when you do trade.

HOW DOES DATA AUTOMATION IMPACT MY TEAMS?

Data automation helps to make your teams more productive and add value for the business, while at the same time improving the employee experience. Currently, capital markets firms rely on thousands, or tens of thousands, of ‘Human APIs’. They are a slow and expensive alternative to system integration, and spend their days manually extracting and entering data between systems.

Data automation removes the need for this repetitive (and boring…) manual work. Freed from manually extracting, checking and entering data every day, your teams have time to focus on more valuable tasks, such as analytics or improving the customer experience. And, because data automation helps redefine the relationship between operations and IT, staff have more autonomy.

Operations workers have the opportunity to make a difference, leveraging the latest technology to play a vital role in the efficiency of the business. Let’s face it: no one wants to spend their career manually checking or entering data.

Click below to find out more about how data automation impacts various teams and parts of your business.

Data automation enables Operations teams to solve many of the longstanding challenges that have created cost, manual work and ultimately inefficiency.

The no-code aspect of a data automation platform is very important. It puts control over the platform in the hands of the people who use it. This means Operations teams are able to perform the tasks they need around data using best practice technology, rather than trying to circumvent blockers through risky and inefficient spreadsheets or end-user developed applications (EUDAs).

When users can operate the technology they’re given, it creates an entirely different way of working. No-code removes the need for deep technical expertise to build processes. Instead it puts the power into the hands of the people with deep expertise of the business needs. They can start working on any new controls they need – or changes to existing controls, which otherwise also go through the sluggish change request process – immediately.

Something that used to take months now takes days or weeks. Operations can now use their own technology, instead of waiting on other teams to do it for them. What could be more empowering than that?

Today’s talent wants to be working with the latest technology and do work that has an impact on their organisation. Highly repetitive tasks like manual data entry or reconciling data on a spreadsheet are anything but. Data automation removes the need for these laborious, low-value tasks, enabling your teams to focus on more fulfilling work.

With data automation fully embedded in your organisation, you are able to reduce rates of employee turnover in departments that traditionally deal with a lot of data manually. You’re also able to offer more attractive opportunities for new hires to help you attract the best talent – and retain them.

REAL WORLD EXAMPLE:
VALUE-ADDING TASKS

Former data entry staff could instead work on data analytics, providing valuable business intelligence that senior management can act upon.

One Duco customer does just this – they have over a hundred offices globally and, now that they can trust their data, they are able to flag underperformance and apply insights from the top performing locations across the business.
Read more about it here.

IT teams in most financial firms spend a huge amount of their time supporting other teams. In the case of data management, this often means maintaining the hardware and systems that teams in Operations and Finance use to extract, transform, validate and publish data. These systems are often hard-coded, meaning that changes – such as a new control process or reconciliation – require a developer to build them.

This adds more to an already backlogged development queue, stretching IT resources thinner. Data automation is built on a foundation of no-code, cloud-based and self-service technology. There is no physical hardware to maintain and the business users can build processes themselves.

There are still plenty of governance and control features built in, so there’s little risk associated with putting automation in the hands of end-users. In fact, it’s a more secure and compliant way of working – teams that have to wait weeks or months in the IT queue will often resort to risky and opaque manual workarounds.

All this means the IT team is able to focus on bigger, more strategic priorities, like protecting the organisation from cyber security threats.

WHERE CAN DATA AUTOMATION BE USED?

Data automation is transformative anywhere where mission-critical data is being processed through multiple systems, by multiple teams in a way that currently requires significant manual intervention.

It’s for firms who struggle to get visibility over their data, have complicated technology stacks and teams of workers (sometimes tens of thousands) just to manually manipulate data in order to keep the business running.

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IS DATA AUTOMATION THE SAME AS HYPER AUTOMATION?

Data automation can be thought of as a component of hyper automation. Hyper automation involves using multiple automation platforms to remove all manual work from across the business.

A data automation platform does this for Operations and Finance departments, so when combined with other enterprise-grade solutions across the business would enable a hyper automation strategy.

IS DATA AUTOMATION THE SAME AS BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION?

Data automation and business process automation (BPA) aren’t the same thing, but data automation could be considered a type of BPA.

BPA is more broad reaching and, while definitions vary, it often focusses on automating all processes that aren’t run by IT that keep the business running (everything from KYC to employee onboarding). Data automation focusses on tackling the complexity and operational inefficiency holding capital markets firms back in their Operations and Finance departments, regardless of whether the processes in question are owned by IT.

Like hyper automation, business process automation relies on multiple automation platforms to achieve its aim. Therefore, a data automation platform would be a valuable part of a BPA strategy.