How to solve for the hidden battle for the user’s desktop
When devising solutions for their internal company processes, many businesses end up building their own applications. They will usually opt to build applications in-house, or else make use of a variety of external tools and programs. The result is that employees’ workflows will stretch across numerous platforms and screens, with desktops cluttered with different applications for each step of their working process.
This leads to a number of problems. The fact that each stage of the workflow involves using a different niche solution introduces a higher degree of complexity than is needed. And because the business process ends up being an incohesive patchwork of different applications that operate in silos, lots of manual work is required to navigate them all. Employees will need to log in and out of different applications constantly. Going through just one workflow process might involve moving between eight, nine, ten, or even more applications. This isn’t just tedious – it’s a waste of time and bad for productivity.
Why don’t businesses always choose best in class services?
Because of the large number of applications that businesses now have to use, it’s clear that they often won’t (or can’t) choose the best in class service in one specific silo. This is a deep-rooted trend that stretches back many years.
Take the banking sector as an example. One recent report1 found that “data silos and existing IT infrastructure make it difficult for organizations to integrate new technologies and make changes to IT systems and applications.” Furthermore, “legacy IT infrastructures make it tough for organizations to become more agile and drive digital transformation success”. As a result, 60% of financial institutions reportedly find it difficult to integrate new technologies because of the nature of their existing business process. That number is even higher in insurance (68%) and higher still in healthcare (70%).
The result is a lack of integration, and that’s bad – for two main reasons. Firstly, a business process that’s simply a medley of numerous different applications is hardly going to be the most efficient. The large amount of time that will need to be spent moving across screens and between programs hinders effectiveness and productivity.
Furthermore, to try and simplify these workflows, businesses will often turn to End-to-End (E2E) tools. Such software can successfully standardize the workflow, and drive value through improvements in productivity, but will lack best-in-class insights at each stage. On the other hand, businesses which do wish to ensure they retain high-quality insights will look to Peer-to-Peer (P2P) solutions. But rather than reducing workflow complexity and the amount of manual work, these products will actually increase it. These challenges, along with separate difficulties surrounding procurement and roll-out, can slow down companies’ transformation processes. This includes when it comes to third-party risk management (TPRM).
Consequently, even where they recognize that their company would benefit from a superior service in a certain area – such as compliance or TPRM – some businesses have a tendency to settle for a lower-quality service which is available via an incumbent service provider, for reasons of convenience. The reality is that many start-ups, corporations, and institutions feel they don’t have the luxury of always choosing the best service available.
Put in other words, businesses are being deterred from choosing superior, best in class services simply because they find it hard to do without making their workflows more complicated. But shouldn’t they always be striving to make use of the best technology and services out there on the market today?
What are the consequences?
While using existing applications might be a more straightforward choice in some ways – one that helps avoid the inconvenience of having to juggle an additional screen – businesses should consider whether this could have practical impacts on their processes. At the most basic level, deliberately opting for lower-quality services could put a business at a competitive disadvantage. They will inevitably end up with a less sophisticated offering than those which invest the time and resources to capitalize on the best products.
There may be more direct consequences, too – such as when it comes to KYC checks. This is an essential requirement for almost all institutions that deal with client money or information. Companies are under regulatory obligations to scan their clients and ensure they aren’t, for example, a politically exposed person. One of the most effective ways to do this would be through a news monitoring service, like that which Owlin offers. Owlin’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) pipeline monitors news signals in real-time to pick up on potential risks, analyzing over 600,000 articles a day in sixteen languages. The technology then turns insights from these articles into straightforward numerical scores that reflect the level of risk associated with any given individual or entity. It’s a much more comprehensive risk management strategy than can be offered by traditional, manual approaches.
But because of perceived difficulties with integration, some companies might just stick with their current applications. The result? They may well miss crucial information during the screening and on-boarding stage. In turn, this could mean they fall short of their KYC and compliance obligations. At the very best, they simply won’t be managing their TPRM as effectively as they otherwise could – and will be at risk of losing out to those implementing more advanced solutions.
How can companies resolve these issues through API integration?
While manual and complex workflows remain a serious problem across industries, the good news is that there are an increasing number of creative and flexible solutions that can resolve some of these challenges. Indeed, there’s already a growing market for workflow automation platforms, such as Appian and Unqork. This shows that the problem of complex, manual workflows is real – and that many different companies are working to address it.
Thanks to advances in technology, Owlin can embed within existing applications, or itself be the platform that integrates different sources. By slotting seamlessly into the applications that are already there, or bringing a number of different applications together under one platform, Owlin is able to provide high-quality risk management services without burdening companies with an additional application to manage.
This can be achieved through API integration, which involves establishing a communication system between different applications so that data can be mutually transferred. All the different bits of data then come together in one workflow. We’re also seeing a trend towards a broader integration point through workflow applications, such as Microsoft Power Apps. Applications like this provide the tools and ability, not only to standardize data streams and appliances, but also to build processes on top of that. These programs work to bring the various appliances together in one business-focused process flow.
Whichever approach is chosen, it’s clear that API solutions are offering businesses the ability to integrate a range of applications, easily and with minimum fuss. For too long, many have reluctantly settled for those which are readily available – when all ambitious companies should be striving to use the best in class at every opportunity. Those that don’t are increasingly finding that their business processes, such as their TPRM strategies, aren’t as effective or efficient as they could be.
Because of API solutions, it’s never been easier to integrate different data streams into one platform. When it comes to TPRM, integrating Owlin into the business process can allow firms – in a variety of industries – to benefit from a leading data monitoring service that greatly improves overall risk management practices.
Want to know more?
We are always looking for ways to help companies structure news and integrate risk insights into daily workflows. Do you want to know what we can do for you? We would be delighted to tell you more about Owlin!