Connect with us

Business

SHINING A LIGHT ON DARK DATA

Published

on

By James Adie, Vice President of EMEA at Ephesoft

 

How companies can benefit from revealing hidden information 

Data is undeniably the key to making good business decisions. It is also essential for offering a personalised service to customers and partners. Ironically, however, there is still a great deal of information that exists in an unstructured format in documents or images, rather than in an easily accessible database. This makes sharing and analysis difficult, and sometimes impossible.

 

In the dark about suppliers and customers

When a company processes incoming invoices, payment information is generally entered manually by someone physically reading the document. After payment, the process is deemed to be complete, and the document is archived. All the information on that invoice that was not required for payment approval, such as payment terms, discounts etc., remains “dark data” – it’s still in a file somewhere but nobody has recorded that it’s there, so it is practically invisible.

It’s the same with customer information. Paper-heavy sectors which process a high volume of incoming documents from customers could benefit enormously from capturing dark data. Documents such as insurance forms, financial statements and medical records all contain a wealth of information about customer needs and behaviour. If these are not recorded in a digital format, then the information is effectively lost to the company. By harvesting and analysing this data, an organisation can understand its customers better and provide them with a more personalised service by predicting their future needs as well as having the ability to respond faster to questions or requests.

If we can just find a way to access this data, we can put a wealth of valuable information to work and improve productivity at the same time.

 

Dark data capture in practice

We worked with a large US flooring distributor which deals with an enormous volume of orders, invoices and packing slips on a daily basis across twelve branches. The accounting department receives around 2,000 to 2,500 invoices per day. In its freight processing department, around 500 packing slips are created every day.

The company had five people in its accounting team and one additional employee in the post room to manually process all of these documents. In the accounting department, two employees scanned all documents and physically printed out any PDFs and email invoices which went through the necessary review process before being filed. Thousands of invoices had to be manually indexed, which took up the entirety of the working day.  As the team was working at capacity, it struggled to meet deadlines and was therefore unable to take advantage of supplier discounts for early or prompt payments. Errors also occurred frequently during manual data transfer. It was time to look for a more efficient, user-friendly alternative.

In this case, the automatic indexing of invoices using intelligent document processing (IDP) technology reduced the time for processing incoming documents from 40 hours per week to between eight and ten. This technology uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to evaluate all documents from various input channels, extract the essential information and automatically classify it for further processing – no matter the format or layout. Even handwritten information can be reliably captured, further taking the pressure away from employees who only have to manually check documents if they cannot be reliably processed by the system due to stains, smeared writing or any other issue that allows for ambiguity.

By introducing automatic document capture, the flooring distributor significantly reduced the error rate. Around 85% of invoices now run directly through the system without the need for validation, saving a lot of time and effort. One of the two employees who used to scan invoices has now been able to take on a non-accounting role in the company, instantly reducing direct personnel costs in the department. Furthermore, invoice processing time was reduced by 65%. The benefits of automating the process were also felt in the mail room; employees who used to spend around 30 hours a week scanning documents and invoices now only spend around five hours on the same task.

In addition to significant time savings and increase in employee productivity, another return on investment was realised in less than six months as the company was able to start taking advantage of supplier rebates and discounts almost immediately. After the pressure was taken off the team, they were able to act on the fact that some suppliers offer a 30% discount if an invoice is paid within ten days. As a speedy turnaround was no longer a problem, the suppliers soon noticed that the flooring distributor was routinely paying earlier and offered even better terms.

 

Beware of dark data

Dark data can be found in almost every company and “bringing it to light” is always economically and strategically worthwhile. Not only is there a vast amount of unused data in paper-based business or administrative processes, but this problem also arises with digital documents if not all of the content is extracted and saved in a searchable format. There is significant potential for optimisation in many companies – maybe it’s time to take a closer look to find out if your own company is still in the dark?

Business

HOW WILL DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION EFFECT JOBS SKILLED IN TECH

Published

on

By

Maria Paola Resta, HR Manager at Auriga

 

The world of technology is constantly evolving, and digital skills are also rapidly changing over the years. The interaction with the end customer is becoming more and more digital since the pandemic, therefore tech jobs, particularly in the banking industry, may need professionals to “humanise” the interfaces used by customers.

 

Tech jobs on the rise

Tech talent is growing, particularly in the Artificial Intelligence (predictive, customer profiling, etc.) sector, and technical skills regarding augmented reality, the user experience, and interface design are also on the rise. The outbreak of the pandemic has led to an unprecedented acceleration in the digitisation of processes, therefore jobs that specifically require knowledge of digital skills has increased in order to meet the needs of customers. Tech jobs remain focused on specialised areas of tech, however as the technology industry is in constant flux, some areas might be in more of a demand in comparison to others.

 

How remote working will affect the tech talent pool

The increase of remote working has already impacted the tech skills business, as the day-to-day working environment now exists in the digital realm. Tech skills are needed now more than ever, and employers have a huge role to play in helping people to continue their personal development while continuing home working. They need to focus on their personal development in order to build the workforce they need for tomorrow’s world.

 

Skills beneficial to the banking industry

There has been a massive shortage of skilled candidates in digital and technology disciplines. IT and financial companies need to upskill existing staff to fill these exciting new roles. In an age of high-frequency change, learning is truly for a lifetime.

In the debate about tomorrow’s skills in the banking sector, the rising value of each employee has often been overlooked. People are a valuable asset as machines take on the more robotic processes, and uniquely human skills come to the fore. How we develop these skills becomes a critical question for employers and workers alike. It will be many years before schools and universities nurture students well versed in these skills.

 

More tech talent required for business digital transformation

The process of digital transformation has already started with some businesses as a modernization process. This has undoubtedly accelerated strongly following the COVID-19 pandemic which forced everyone to overcome situations of technological immaturity and to radically review flows, work processes and models of consolidated business. Digitisation has entered even more pervasively into working life, becoming an essential and permanent condition, and making it necessary to acquire skills that are best suited to the new digital paradigms.

It’s inevitable that companies looking for ways to counteract the effects of the pandemic on their operations will ask their technology function to bear part of the burden. However, they must be strategic about any shifts made to the tech workforce. To ensure that vital digital services remain up and running, organizations must do everything possible to protect mission-critical talent. By showing their support now, companies can create goodwill that will carry over to when better times return.

Another of the direct consequences of remotisation is the emergence of new demands for soft skills suitable for managing collaborations and partnerships as well as specific technological talents that are increasingly specialized to support the new needs of businesses.

 

Tech skills that companies can use for their benefit

The movement towards technological areas are becoming increasingly crucial. Companies must necessarily equip themselves with professionals experienced in cybersecurity and train their people on the adoption of new operating models to protect all internal workflows from possible cyberattacks. In parallel, the need to acquire skills in the cloud, artificial intelligence, automation and user experience fields is growing exponentially in order to adequately support the changes in progress and allow work processes to be increasingly safe, intelligent and functional as well as suitable for supporting the new business models developed by companies following the pandemic.

 

How tech skills will support remote working

Soft skills are essential as they allow remote management and collaboration in virtual environments, but the importance of digital skills is growing. All HR departments are engaged in planning and finalizing training and learning projects whose main topic is information and communication technologies. The high complexity and technological vastness necessarily imply a high level of know-how and specialization in order to guarantee an optimal performance in the production and line areas, unlike the managerial or corporate areas where a disciplinary transversality of skills is generally privileged to allow a global overview.

Businesses have to work in order to build the right talent into the organization as a long-term plan during and after the pandemic, and this might be possible by applying AI, automation, and other exponential technologies to make workflows more intelligent. All of this affords a new opportunity to build better businesses and a better world. It starts with enabling a diverse workforce to perform optimally, and building trust and confidence among employees will be critical. How they are treated now will have an outsize impact on perceptions and value in the future.

 

Maria Paola Resta, HR Manager at Auriga

Maria Paola Resta has been a HR Manager at Auriga since 2018. Her role includes the coordination and overseeing of the group’s HR initiatives. She has a background in occupational and organizational psychology, and has been working in the human resources profession for 15 years. Her role focusses on talent acquisition, people development, training and employee relations. In the last 10 years she has worked in the HR departments of important companies that specialise in Information Technology, and her roles have increased in responsibility as she has progressed throughout her career.

 

Continue Reading

Banking

TO ENABLE BETTER LENDING FOR PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES, WE HAVE TO LOOK TO OPEN BANKING

Published

on

By

By Iain McDougall, CCO of Yapily

 

A recent FCA study found over 14 million people were grappling with financial issues at the end of 2020, representing more than a quarter of the UK adult population. The picture is similarly tough for SMEs, too, which have been impacted hugely by lockdowns, loss of earnings and more; it’s estimated the pandemic will cost SMEs an extra £173,000 in debt per year.

This is resulting in a lack of lending options for both consumers and businesses, as well as expensive or high interest loans, or worse, rejection from lenders all together. This in turn is driving unaffordable lending, and penning consumers and businesses in an ongoing and irresolvable debt cycle – at a time when they need the most support.

One of the biggest causes of this lies in lenders relying on credit scores and credit bureau data to inform their decisions, which simply aren’t accurate enough to truly get the full picture of a borrower’s financial situation.

The case for using Open Banking data in lending decisions has never been stronger.

Data accessed through Open Banking permits lenders to retrieve accurate information about the borrower’s financial history. This can provide more accurate assessments, and therefore enable fairer lending decisions.

 

Credit scores aren’t helping consumers

Take NHS workers as an example. Despite working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, NHS workers make up a sizable portion of the UK adult population currently struggling with debt.

Iain McDougall

An independent report from the University of Edinburgh Business School, in partnership with Salad Projects, found NHS workers are heavily reliant on long-term overdrafts and high-cost credit, where APR is as high as 1,333%. Almost all (93%) respondents said they use one or more types of credit or loan, compared with 75% in the wider UK population (according to the Financial Lives Survey). More than half (58%) use up to three loan providers and 68% use up to four loan providers.

This situation is the result of relying solely on credit scores. While these are the near-universally accepted method of determining credit terms, each credit reference agency has a different method for calculating a credit score. They rely solely on financial history, whether they’ve previously defaulted, or failed to get credit, and not a consumer’s actual financial position, whether they’ve recently got a pay rise or new income, to see how likely it is they will pay back any money borrowed. This can mean, no matter if a consumer’s financial position has changed, they can’t get a better loan because of a previous discrepancy.

 

The challenges facing SMEs

These issues are not just limited to consumers. SMEs, particularly those in the hardest hit industries like hospitality and travel, have struggled to access credit throughout the pandemic.

While many may have been thriving pre-pandemic, their lack of ability to turn a profit during lockdowns, meant they needed extra support. In an effort to keep these industries alive, we saw numerous government backed loan schemes launched, such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, to help struggling businesses survive. In total, these schemes have provided almost £180 billion worth of lending to date, supporting over a quarter of businesses in the UK.

However, the soaring demand from businesses in need of these vital funds meant lenders were unable to keep up and many businesses did not receive support quickly enough. What’s more, providers may register these types of loans with credit reference agencies, which means companies that previously had strong credit ratings may see their credit scores negatively affected by any delayed or missed repayments.

This is why it’s vital for lenders to get lending limits right the first time round, so SMEs can avoid potentially adding to their already growing list of debt and thrive in a post-pandemic world.

 

Enhancing lending with Open Banking 

Using Open Banking can add a much-needed layer of trust and loan personalisation for businesses and individuals. By basing credit decisioning on real-time financial data, lenders will be able to create a more accurate picture of their financial situation; and so make fairer credit offers.

Through adopting Open Banking principles, lenders will be able to onboard new customers and grant loans more efficiently, providing businesses with the cashflow required to maintain their workforce and support the economy.

With the borrowers’ consent, it will also give lenders oversight into how the economy is recovering, and enable them to monitor the rate at which the individual or business can expect the loan to be repaid. Meaning they can step in and provide extra support if and when required.

Open Banking provides what credit scores alone simply cannot – real-time insight into an individual’s or a businesses financial position right now, not three to six months ago. By leveraging the data that is readily available to them, lenders could achieve far better and more responsible outcomes. This will reduce the risk of loan default – for both businesses and individuals – and lead to more responsible lending decisions that can help people and businesses bounce back after what has been a difficult year.

 

Continue Reading

Magazine

Trending

News17 hours ago

ACCESSPAY AND YAPILY PARTNER TO RE-DEFINE CORPORATE CASH MANAGEMENT

FinTech scale-up AccessPay is pioneering a new Treasury solution for corporates, using Open Banking. Enabled by Yapily, a leading Open Banking infrastructure provider,...

Finance17 hours ago

HOW FINANCIAL SERVICES BRANDS CAN TRANSFORM THE MUNDANE INTO MAGIC

Ben Williams, Global Chief Experience Officer at R/GA London   We are living through an era of generational change. The...

Finance17 hours ago

TECH TRENDS: THE FUTURE OF FINANCE IS DIGITAL

Simon Bull, Sales Operations & Business Development Manager, Aqilla   Everywhere you look across the modern working environment, there is...

Technology17 hours ago

THE INSURANCE SECTOR IS BEING DIGITALLY DISRUPTED: BUT IS IT READY?

The insurance sector is being disrupted by innovative technologies that are helping to drive digital transformation within the industry. The...

Top 1017 hours ago

HERE’S HOW INSURANCE IS SET TO CHANGE

By Adam Goldsmith, Insurance Specialist, SAS UK & Ireland   Making predictions about the state of any industry in the coming year...

News18 hours ago

VOLATILITY IS CRYPTO’S BEST FRIEND

Stephen Ehrlich, Co-Founder and CEO at Voyager Digital.   Volatility is good for crypto. It serves multiple purposes as the whole...

Business18 hours ago

HOW WILL DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION EFFECT JOBS SKILLED IN TECH

Maria Paola Resta, HR Manager at Auriga   The world of technology is constantly evolving, and digital skills are also...

Finance18 hours ago

COMMON MONEY SAVING MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

By Nelisiwe Mbara, certified financial planner at Alexander Forbes   With the cost of living increasingly expensive, it is important to...

Banking2 days ago

TO ENABLE BETTER LENDING FOR PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES, WE HAVE TO LOOK TO OPEN BANKING

By Iain McDougall, CCO of Yapily   A recent FCA study found over 14 million people were grappling with financial...

Finance3 days ago

HOW FINANCE AS A SERVICE IS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES

Ivo Gueorguiev, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Paynetics   Finance as a Service (FaaS) is revolutionising the financial industry as we...

Finance3 days ago

GREEN AND INCLUSIVE FINANCE THROUGH THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

By Professor Catherine Karyotis, NEOMA Business School and Joseph Onochie, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New...

Banking3 days ago

BRAND CONFIDENCE: HOW HAS OPEN BANKING EVOLVED AND DO CUSTOMERS TRUST IT?

By Geoff Boudin, Director at Revive Management   The open banking industry is growing by 24% year-on-year, and is expected...

Business4 days ago

WHAT IS SOFTPOS?

By François Drouard, SLM Terminal & Mobile and Erion Sevaj, Pre-Sales Engineer at Fime   The global digital payment market...

Finance7 days ago

CUT THROUGH VOLATILITY AND MAKE BETTER INVESTMENT DECISIONS WITH ALTERNATIVE DATA

Tomas Montvilas, CCO at Oxylabs   Increased speculation, surging trade volume and a rapidly changing economic landscape are causing an...

Banking7 days ago

THE BANK OF 2030: A REVOLUTION FOR CUSTOMERS

By Venkatesh Varadarajan, Partner in Financial Services, Infosys Consulting   We are witnessing an evolution. Banking is changing in so...

Wealth Management7 days ago

TOP WAYS TO EARN FREE CRYPTOCURRENCY IN 2021

Simon Chandler, Writer for CryptoVantage   Cryptocurrency is everywhere these days. Open your favourite tech or finance website, and it’s...

Business7 days ago

THE BENEFITS OF HAVING GAP COVER

By Rachel Janssens, principal consultant at Alexander Forbes Health   Bridges the gap between hospital rates and provider fees Gap cover...

Finance1 week ago

WHY SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE KEY TO THE FUTURE OF THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR

Michael Mansard, Principal Director – Subscription Strategy at  Zuora   The business world is wondering: what does post-pandemic growth look...

Banking1 week ago

MODERN BANK HEISTS: FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE BEING HELD HOSTAGE

By Tom Kellermann, Head of Cybersecurity Strategy, VMware Security Business Unit, @TAKellermann   The modern bank heist has escalated to...

Finance1 week ago

FUTURE-PROOFING FOR THE FINTECH INDUSTRY WITH NETWORK INNOVATION

Alan Hayward, Sales & Marketing Manager at SEH Technology   As the years pass, it is becoming far more difficult...

Trending