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Enterprise content management enables banks to distribute and act on content from virtually any source, and promises to improve productivity, cut costs and enhance service.


Q: What are the benefits to banks of deploying an ECM solution?

Thad Hutcheson, T Bank: Enterprise content management can have an especially powerful effect on financial institutions and their traditionally paper-driven processes. Loan packages, closing documents, deposit demand account (DDA) signature cards, board packages, etc., all can be stored, tracked and managed efficiently and electronically. By storing the information in a completely digital environment, it can be available from anywhere in the financial institution. And productivity can be dramatically improved by allowing the ECM solution to make information and documents available to users based on their roles in the bank - from tellers to operations and lenders to loan processors. The liability and lack of tracking and control you are forced to deal with in the paper world is now minimized and you are left with a solution that is both scalable and secure, while addressing all of the regulatory compliance necessary in banking.

Bernard Sarosi, Pictet & Cie: Customer service is where ECM brings the most benefits. Every single piece of information that goes to a client, from a stock exchange confirmation to an annual account statement, is the end of a chain of information management within the bank. The more robust and efficient this chain, the more remarkable and reliable the service will appear to a client.

Nicole Kealey, Adobe Systems: ECM in banking impacts everything from forms processing to contract management to customer correspondence. The ability to create, manage, share and store all types of content in a central manner offers banking institutions the ability to increase staff productivity, reduce processing cycles and reduce costs while also ensuring information privacy and compliance.

Ivan Fernandez, EMC: Financial services companies are looking at ECM as a means to break down information silos that prevent them from accomplishing their strategic objectives. Whether those objectives are reducing regulatory risk or making client relationships more profitable by cross-selling and up-selling new products to existing clients, they have a common component, which is the requirement to share information across the enterprise.

Q: What are the obstacles to deploying ECM in banks?

Sarosi, Pictet & Cie: There are plenty of standards and packaged solutions on the market that are suited to a bank's ECM needs. Hence, technology is not an obstacle to deploying ECM in banks. The biggest obstacles are the organizational changes that always accompany an ECM deployment. Inefficient change management will be the main reason that an ECM solution fails to have an impact on an organization's efficiency. There is a risk that the ECM solution does not meet expectations.

Kealey, Adobe: ECM is not a single solution. Rather, it is a practice, a discipline. The biggest challenge of realizing true ECM is related to workforce culture and employee habits. In order for ECM to be successful, banks must find ways of making it easy and seamless for employees to utilize the technology. It is critical for banks to consider user experience when designing ECM solutions and keep in mind the various roles within the company that will benefit most from an ECM initiative.

Fernandez, EMC: Every financial services institution must strike its own balance between organizational change and technology enablement. Technology can only solve part of the problem. Technology is an enabler, but companies have to decide to motivate their employees to work in a different and more productive manner. I don't see any barriers that are preventing widespread adoption of ECM. I actually see many companies beginning to develop strategies to roll out ECM across the enterprise as a shared service.

Q: What is the business case for ECM, and what is IT's role in building the business case?

Hutcheson, T Bank: From a business standpoint, ECM is a win all around for everyone - less real estate needed, less investment in file cabinets, credenzas, office supplies. Efficiency and control flow naturally out of it. Information is available and tracked securely from anywhere throughout the enterprise, and the system helps the bank maintain more compliance than it could probably ever hope to achieve in the paper world. The IT department should welcome the opportunity as well. It gives IT more control over a large part of the information environment that used to be somewhat out of its control because of paper.

A good place in a bank to start is usually the loan operations department, as that generally is one of the most document-driven environments. For example, expired collateral documents for loans can trigger exceptions that could cause the loan to be reclassified.

Sarosi, Pictet & Cie: IT departments first and foremost must not sell an ECM package as an end in and of itself. The precise requirements of every business line must drive the solution. So, even though an IT department may launch an ECM deployment, its role afterwards becomes reactive as it integrates every business line's specific requirements. Therefore, IT departments must choose an ECM package that can be easily configured and customized, even if it costs more. If they do, IT departments will be seen as reactive and flexible solutions providers that have the capacity to radically change an organization.

Kealey, Adobe: Generally, the success of an ECM initiative is higher when approached in a series of phased rollouts. Ensuring small-scale success in one group or process area will not only help other lines of business or departments to understand the value of ECM, but it also will help drive adoption of the solution. With this approach, the business case becomes much more consumable. Organizations that are new to ECM may benefit from achieving multiple small successes rather than one big success.

Fernandez, EMC: There are real cost savings and real benefits to be achieved via creating an ECM strategy and deploying an ECM solution. For IT this is an opportunity to be strategic and relevant to the business. IT can get ahead of the curve and make a recommendation not just on a product and a solution but on a system that will provide a competitive advantage to the business. The role for IT is to lead in these conversations and show the business what can be accomplished through the ECM solution.

Q: What steps must banks take to maximize their return on investments in content/document management solutions? What metrics can banks use to track the performance of these solutions?

Hutcheson, T Bank: First, take a good look at the organization and examine the areas that will be benefited by ECM. Then, find a good solution that integrates well with your core and existing infrastructure, is scalable for the future, and easy for the users to learn and use. Make certain the vendor selected has a good track record in the banking industry with satisfied references. Remember, with ECM, you will most likely be limited by people, not technology.

Some of the most obvious metrics for ECM in banking would be keeping the employee-to-asset ratio very high while continuing to grow the size of the bank. Officers should be able to do a lot more with their time after a few months into ECM deployment. It is really amazing the amount of time that the average person spends printing, retrieving, searching, filing and misfiling paper documents.

Kealey, Adobe: Managing content assets is more than just providing employees with a common place to store documents. In order to truly realize the benefits of ECM, companies must consider the full life cycle of information - from creation to archive. Banks should consider the benefits of improving how documents and content are created; how collaboration occurs amongst the content creators; how the company's security and compliance procedures are applied to content; and lastly, and most important, companies need to consider how content and information impact their ability to conduct business efficiently and effectively.

Peggy Bresnick Kendler has been a writer for 30 years. She has worked as an editor, publicist and school district technology coordinator. During the past decade, Bresnick Kendler has worked for UBM TechWeb on special financialservices technology-centered ... View Full Bio

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