Resilience, Adaptability, Flexibility: Why We’re Thankful for 2020

This year is certainly one we won’t soon forget. With so much change both to our personal and professional lives, so many of us have—and continue to—work hard to find the balance we once took for granted. The integration of home and work has become normative, and although this has presented many challenges, it has also provided us space to pivot where needed for the sake of ourselves, those we love, and those with whom we work.

Less than ten months ago, I started with FortressIQ as the Head of Customer Success. My entire onboarding process was virtual. Now, as we finish up this year, I have yet to meet my colleagues—or our customers—in person.

As our primary customer champion, this has been disappointing since face-to-face communication is often the gold standard for relationship building. I do miss the opportunities to meet those we work with in person. However, as I reflect on this past year and how we have pushed into a new normal, I can also see how we have embraced this challenge. Working virtually has enabled us all to move forward together, including our customers, suppliers, partners, and internal team.

Building all of these new relationships over a 13” laptop screen has not been easy, and this makes me even more grateful to our customers, who have made this leap to video such a seamless transition. We are working harder than ever to keep all of you safe as we communicate, and to keep our relationship with you as strong as possible.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I am more cognizant than ever that 2020 is unlike any other year. I’ll be sitting down at a mostly virtual table this holiday, enjoying the company of family and friends over video chat. Likely, many of you will be in similar situations, trying to simultaneously navigate technology, family, food, and perhaps some online holiday shopping.

And because it’s standard practice around Thanksgiving to express gratitude, I want to do so here even as I continue to pivot across our many new norms. First, I’m thankful for our essential workers—those who put their lives on the line so that we can seek safety and peace as best we are able. The healthcare, grocery, delivery, and other frontline workers are nothing less than heroes.

Second, I am thankful for our internal team, who continue to strive to deliver excellent products and solutions while building ongoing relationships with our customers. More than ever, we are putting increasing resources into enhancing and improving how we work virtually. We’re also offering more understanding and flexibility on a personal level to our employees and partners, being responsive to the challenges, needs, and scheduling conflicts of each person.

And, to ensure that we continue to prioritize the needs of our remote workers, we’ve reinvested in employee health and wellness. This includes a virtual 5K and other motivational (and fun!) challenges. We know that when our bodies and minds are healthy, our relationships are healthy as well, and that we work with excellence and joy. Going further, we also recently created a “culture committee” that surveyed our team to find out what they needed. As a result, we sent out care packages, instituted a work-from-home stipend, and enhanced our employee benefits.

Third, I am thankful for the resiliency and adaptability of all those we work with across our internal and external ecosystems. It has been truly inspiring to see how, even during a pandemic, people strive to—and do—work for the good of others and seek strong interpersonal communications.

As this year comes to an end, I am captivated by the word “empathy” and how critical it is to the flourishing of a company and all those invested in it. At FortressIQ, we continue to lead with empathy, embracing the changes as they come and deepening the trust factor among all those with whom we work. This is our highest priority.

So thank you for your understanding, adaptability, and continued support this past year. I am confident it has laid a strong foundation for the years ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you love.

How Process Intelligence Accelerates GRC Efforts for Financial Services

The focus of all organizations and leaders this year has, rightfully so, been to protect its customers and employees. Over 90% of the workforce is now working remotely, outside the boundaries of the traditional office, while customers forge ahead into uncertainty. Indeed the world now looks very different from what it did at the start of the year. But one thing is clear: this is the new normal.

But as financial services institutions (FSI) look to overcome ongoing challenges to managing risk, the need to improve governance and exert control over processes and activities remains critical. Add in digital transformations, upgrades to aging technology, and dealing with increased regulatory scrutiny, there is immense pressure on governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) teams. Between 2019 and 2020, regulatory fines and penalties on FSIs have exceeded over $11 billion, largely due to financial crimes, a lack of adequate supervisory controls, and governance and risk management failures.

Managing GRC in our new normal requires a new approach. Detailing the interconnectedness of people, process, technology, and data is crucial to mitigating risk, improving compliance, and aligning governance with business goals. Leveraging artificial intelligence, computer vision, and deep learning models, also known as process intelligence, is now an important tool in the toolkit for the GRC practitioners, and officers across multiple lines of defense.

Where Process Intelligence Makes the Difference
Only by understanding the reality of your business processes can you be effective in improving internal controls. FortressIQ decodes work to provide the detailed current-state assessments, which give you the process intelligence to make data-driven decisions. It captures tasks at the most granular level, with no bias or digital blind spots. It works across all applications, through each department across the enterprise, and for every single process. It’s also faster and less expensive than traditional process mapping and mining methods, yet provides much higher accuracy to reduce rework and accelerate improvements.

Process intelligence provides GRC a powerful tool, and extends into financial crime, audit and assurance, operations, lending, and many other areas requiring execution of manual, repeatable tasks and usage of multiple systems and applications. With a deeper understanding of how your business actually works, strategic and tactical changes can be implemented effectively and efficiently, and with better oversight.

Converting Process Risk into Data Transparency
Below are key areas where process intelligence helps FSIs understand their current-state processes at the most granular level, and which can be leveraged effectively at scale:

  1. Enterprise-wide Risk Management (ERM): Process intelligence provides a detailed understanding of end-to-end processes at the enterprise level across key functional areas. This detail improves how risks are identified, captured, aggregated, and reported. Specifically, end-user computing tools are identified to highlight when and where manual workarounds occur. Examples include complex compilation and computation tasks performed by Risk Management, Operations, Finance, and Treasury to calculate market risk, credit risk, liquidity risks, capital and liquidity ratios, and more. Additionally, these granular process insights can then be leveraged for operational risk and control self-assessments (RCSA).
  2. Data Governance: To ensure effective management of BCBS standards, the Data Management office can leverage process intelligence to track which data points are captured manually. That’s essential to running the business and managing risks. Understanding the key sources of data (internal or external, such as regulatory websites or third-party data) and how the data is consumed (data inputs and outputs) within the organization can be tracked and measured.
  3. Compliance Risk Management: Compliance officers can leverage process intelligence to ensure adequate procedures are in place for process governance. In addition, simplified and standardized regulatory reporting processes. For example, a leading FSI mapped its trade reporting (blue sheets) processes, which included heavy user intervention and dependency on multiple applications and platforms, to execute regulatory requests. The number of regulatory requests had quadrupled in just a few months due to market volatility, which slowed down efforts and created a constant backlog. Within 7 days of deploying FortressIQ, and without disruption or utilization of a compliance officer’s time, the FSI was able to map end-to-end processes from request receival to submission. Compliance is now fully aware of the current state procedures and its complexities, and the output is being used as a business requirement document for process re-design and automation.
  4. Internal Controls: By understanding business processes at the most granular level, as well as detailing how key applications and platforms are used at the user level, internal controls can be strengthened and validated by all lines of defense. The procedure documentation, analytics, and insights can then be leveraged by Compliance, Risk Management, and Internal Audit to understand processes, manage risks, and validate and strengthen internal controls.

Process Intelligence for Every Line of Defense
Process intelligence brings visibility into each line of defense within an FSI by following the human and the process instead of application logs or consultant interviews. Advanced computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence capture every process step quickly and accurately, with zero integration and universal compatibility. This automated business process discovery, modeling, and documentation surfaces data and insights unattainable with traditional methods, but instantly usable by GRC across their purview and across the enterprise.

Three Lines of Defense Model

Process Intelligence is a valuable tool that uncovers the real usage of all governance, risk and compliance workflow tools and technologies. FSIs require transparency above all, and FortressIQ delivers real-time, data-driven insights that create a detailed map of your business – across all applications, through each department, and for every single process.

We can help your GRC efforts, too. Just click here to let us know how to get in touch.

Pankaj Chowdhry and the Four Realities of Transformation on the hello, Human Podcast

Our podcast, hello, Human, features the leading builders, explorers, and warriors of AI. Together, we dig into how they’re putting AI to work to transform enterprises and make sustainable progress on automation, privacy, business disruption, human-bot teaming, and much more. We aim to make each episode intelligent and engaging, with the ultimate goal of improving your understanding of the opportunities AI can bring to your business and our world.

Episode 1 – The Four Realities of Transformation

FortressIQ | Intelligent Insights for the Modern Enterprise
Episode 1 - The Four Realities of Transformation
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In our very first episode of hello, Human, we welcomed our very own Pankaj Chowdhry, the founder and CEO of Fortress IQ. Pankaj and I discussed how humans and AI can interact to add more value to business processes, and then explored the four realities of transformation. But, we began where every AI conversation seems to begin: how robots are going to take over and destroy humanity. 

“I think the thing to do is to step back and say, what would make AI different from anything else?,” asked Pankaj. “Any technology that we as a human civilization or a more technology-advanced society, has always had positive and negative to it.”

As Pankaj quickly explained, however, the pace at which AI is advancing is unprecedented. That’s fueling the fears and forcing us to change the conversation by pointing to areas where AI can improve our lives. But, we also need to address the fears which arise as AI changes how we work. The solution, says Pankaj, is in using AI to help workers be more accurate, efficient, and productive in their existing roles. 

“I think a joint solution is always going to be better,” said Pankaj. “When we’re looking at transformation and the reimagining of these job roles, you wouldn’t expect someone to do a job without a laptop. AI is kind of that same level. There is going to be a certain level of interaction with artificial intelligence that every job role is going to have. The key is just to figure out how much of it works and if it actually adds value.”

This joint human-AI solution is where AI is adding real value to enterprises today. AI helps as an assistant, a second set of eyes, or the doer of mundane or repeatable tasks. Humans then have more time or information to perform higher-level tasks and make important decisions. This is where the four realities of transformation come in. As a quick recap, these four points state that your processes, systems, people, and structure might change (for the better!) with AI, but they aren’t going away. 

“When I say your processes aren’t going away, what I’m trying to make sure people understand is that the process is going to exist,” Pankaj explained. “You have to deal with the realities of what your IT landscape is. Any transformation strategy has to embrace the people that are going to be impacted by it because these people are oftentimes the core of what’s going on in the process.”

That’s the classic golden triangle of people, process, and technology. But the fourth one, organizational structure, is where the real challenges to transformation come into play. I’ve read that as many as 86% of transformation projects fail to live up to their performance improvement goals, and just a tiny fraction, a mere 3%, achieve sustainable change. Pankaj points to this fourth reality of transformation as the often-overlooked key to project success: everyone and every team affected by the transformation has to be on board. 

“Any transformation strategy that requires a wholesale change of the org chart on day one is going to be most likely a non-starter,” said Pankaj. “You’re going to have compliance, security, training, HR. All these things need to be taken in so you can make sure the organization you’re building has a very, very clear path of how the existing organization is going to arrive there.”

It may seem counterintuitive that a successful transformation is only possible when embracing both change and the status quo, but that’s why so many transformations fail. Success lies in figuring out how to leverage the existing people, processes, and technology while delivering the desired organizational change. Listen and subscribe to hello, Human to hear my full conversation with Pankaj, as well as his favorite resource for staying current on the latest technologies. Or, you can read the full podcast transcript here.

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FortressIQ Awarded a Top 3 Ranking in Process Intelligence

Just three years ago, FortressIQ embarked on an ambitious journey to build AI that can decode work. The long days and nights are paying off as industry analyst firm HFS Research recently ranked FortressIQ in the top three to be an “HFS Podium Winner” for 2020.

Interest in process intelligence has surged this year as enterprises realize the critical role operational understanding plays in driving success across key strategic business initiatives such as workflow automation, analytics, operational excellence, experience, and compliance. You have to understand today to improve tomorrow, and most companies lack the granular understanding of their business necessary to successfully transform.

Given the noise in the market and different approaches to achieve process intelligence, it is helpful to reiterate how HFS defines the category:

“Process intelligence technologies are critical change agents, bridging the divide of siloed data, BI, analytics, AI, and automation initiatives we see sprinkled across enterprises. The products available today are helping us address process debt, identify automation ROI, improve training and development programs, scale risk and compliance initiatives, and accelerate cloud migration.”

HFS positions FortressIQ as “visionaries in unstructured data capture.” This is a critical distinction because any outcome enabled by process intelligence, such as automation, analytics or compliance, relies on good data as the lynchpin for meeting the objectives. One client reported, “FortressIQ can interpret processes with 100% accuracy.”

FortressIQ ranked third overall out of the 14 vendors reviewed. We also ranked in the top three subcategories for innovation and “outstanding voice of the customer.” A number of long-term players in the market did not even make the top 10 in the report. Key strengths for FortressIQ were noted in scalability, vision, customer references and partners.

While security was identified as a challenge, the report data was gathered prior to the recent release of the Privacy Enhanced Gateway (PEG) module that enables AI cloud benefits with on-premise deployment security, as well as the addition of Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).

Our diverse and growing customer base, as well as our extensive partner network, recognize the value achieved by leveraging the FortressIQ platform. The increased awareness by the analyst community will only help to jumpstart adoption.

“The data speaks for itself; the process intelligence market is beginning to pick up steam and enterprise leaders’ yearning for process excellence is driving demand in the space. Leveraging the real-time process data which is now available thanks to the latest batch of process intelligence tools and techniques means that reaching previously unachievable ‘process excellence’ has suddenly become a reality, making this a market to watch,” noted HFS Analyst Sam Duncan.

Access the summary report for details on how FortressIQ ranked in ten categories including Overall technology and product vision and roadmap; Partnership Ecosystem, and Ability to transform business processes and deliver outcomes.