Far-sighted banks in Europe, such as BBVA, are moving quickly to overhaul their operations systems, processes and procedures. By streamlining these key functions and pulling in intelligent digital technologies to support their workforces, they’re set to achieve big gains in efficiency. Some banks have already cut operating costs by as much as 40 percent in key areas by switching to intelligent operations.  

But that’s not all. The shift to intelligent operations promises dramatic improvements in the customer experience. Leading banks, especially in Europe, have been quick to spot the potential of intelligent operations to remove the delays customers can encounter when applying for new products or changing their banking status. Our experience shows that intelligent operations can significantly enhance the customer experience. Here are some examples: 

  • Time to approve mortgages reduced by up to 80 percent. 
  • Time to open accounts cut by nearly 70 percent. 
  • Customer acquisition rates improved by close to 40 percent. 

Savvy banking executives recognize that intelligent operations can help them foster closer relations with their customers. They understand that sleek operations, guided by intelligent systems and processes, will enable them to deliver a personalized, relevant and frictionless customer experience—one that has a “wow factor” that matches those of Amazon and Apple. Just like the big tech giants, banks need to build seamless supply chains that link front-office activities that engage with customers, straight to the back-office resources responsible for the fulfilment of sales. Intelligent operations enables them to do this. 

In my talks with banking executives, operations is frequently cited as a key focus for investment and improvement. Of the prominent trends identified in the Accenture Banking Top 10 Trends for 2022 report, these executives rate intelligent operations as the most influential. My colleagues at Accenture Banking tell of similar conversations with key bankers across Europe. Intelligent operations ranks ahead of the pressing need to secure and retain top talent, accelerating the shift to cloud computing and rising concerns about environmental sustainability. There’s no doubt that all these trends are important, and I’ll discuss them and other findings of the Accenture Banking research in forthcoming blog posts. But intelligent operations is topping the technology agendas at many board meetings at banks across Europe. 

Banking operations are undergoing a revolution 

It’s clear to see why. Banks have long been ratcheting up the efficiency of their operations. But now banking operations are undergoing a revolution. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, data analytics, cloud services, and application programming interfaces (APIs) among others give banks the opportunity to completely overhaul their operations. The potential of intelligent operations to greatly enhance the customer experience, coupled with the promise of considerable efficiency gains, will accelerate investment in this critical component of the banking value chain. It will deliver what some call “zero operations”, a steady progression toward minimal waste, latency, error and cost. Furthermore, this increased investment will free many operations staff to focus on activities that create more value for their organization, such as supporting customers. 

BBVA in Spain, for example, has recently begun a major shift towards intelligent operations. It is partnering with Accenture to improve the agility of its operations by retooling processes and adopting new ways of working with AI and analytics. BBVA will use Accenture’s SynOps platform to apply AI to accelerate and enhance decision-making, reduce costs and simplify its operations. In 2021, Accenture entered into an agreement with BBVA to take over the bank’s Qipro Soluciones subsidiary which runs operations centers in Málaga and Murcia. 

In my next blog post, I’ll take a further look at how banks are using AI to improve the customer experience. I’ll discuss how these organizations are employing intelligent technologies to enhance their front-office interactions with customers. This is another of the major trends sweeping the banking industry in Europe.  

To discuss why banks are shifting to intelligent operations, contact me here. To learn more, read the full report, Banking Top 10 Trends for 2022: 

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