Operations Management in Uk Financial Services

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November 2007

Sharon Crawford Quocirca Ltd Tel +44 7989 243830

Operations Management in UK Financial Services
How effectively is technology being applied to help to monitor and improve operations performance? The extremely competitive nature of the financial services industry today and the changing landscape of customer expectations and their approach to investing in financial products, puts an onus on suppliers to consider how well they are dealing with new and existing customers’ business transactions. Much is written about the frontline call centre operations, but this report focuses on the back office activities, the operational area where complex applications and enquiries are processed. This research investigates how technology is being applied to manage and improve operations.  Operations management is a critical business task contributing significantly to the overall performance of financial services companies Over 90% of UK financial services companies set and publish operational targets. Reducing processing times and costs are targeted alongside measuring the quality of work done. Production Management methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma are being applied extensively to manage work throughput. The UK has embraced the use of specific operations management systems 85% of UK financial services companies report having specific systems in place to support operations management. Reporting, document and process management tools and to a lesser extent, staff forecasting and scheduling applications are all components of such systems. Such systems have had an impact on improved operations The survey shows that introducing operations management systems has led to improved customer service, reduced costs and better staff utilisation. However, despite a reasonable degree of satisfaction with such systems, there is room for improvement. Also, although staff attitudes should be important, motivation and staff satisfaction levels have shown lower levels of improvement. Real time visibility of work is vital Visibility of who is doing what at any point in time, with the ability to reallocate work during the day, is stated as being very important to effective operations management but this is not always an integral part of the operations management system. Although continuous improvement to operations management performance is desired, obstacles do exist. The survey found that staff resistance to change and to being monitored, competing demands of other revenue generating priorities and dealing with legislation, were all difficulties faced when trying to introduce initiatives to improve operations. Against this, establishing a return on investment (ROI) for operations management improvements can be difficult. Many systems in place today are based on client/server technologies but there is desire to move toward pure web applications This opens the door for Software as a Service offerings (SaaS). However, SaaS is not perceived as a way to support operations management systems. Is this because there are genuine doubts about SaaS or due to a lack of understanding of the potential benefits of the SaaS model?

Bob Tarzey Quocirca Ltd Tel +44 1753 855794

REPORT NOTE: This report has been written independently by Quocirca Ltd to address certain issues found in today’s organisations. The report draws on Quocirca’s extensive knowledge of the technology and business arenas, and provides advice on the approach that organisations should take to create a more effective and efficient environment for future growth. During the preparation of this report, Quocirca has spoken to a number of suppliers and customers involved in the areas covered. We are grateful for their time and insights.

Conclusions Operations management is a complex area to which to apply technology. Control and continuous improvement require...
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