Giving Thanks for Our FortressIQ Team

Each year the holiday season brings with it a renewed appreciation for the joys in our lives. We’re encouraged, and one specific holiday implores us directly, to give thanks. That’s rightfully expressed to our friends and families on Thanksgiving, but it’s also important not to overlook the family we work with every day. We’re very thankful for our FortressIQ family, and here’s why.

Thank You for Your Teamwork

While nearly all companies seem to convey the same progressive values, we truly do think we’re different in this respect. When we say we thrive on new ideas and creativity, choose to work together instead of independently, and leverage our diversity, we mean it and we display it daily. This makes FortressIQ a decidedly team-driven organization. 

In practice, it means we really do rely on each other to accomplish tasks and reach both team and individual goals. When one of us is overwhelmed, others actively step in to help, guide, assist, and move things forward. We don’t see silos or consider it an overstep. What we do see is a concerted effort by everyone to achieve greatness, collectively. 

To our FortressIQ team, we thank you for your dedication to the broader team. You could choose to look the other way or take the “it’s not my job” attitude, but you are all focused on the FortressIQ dream. We are pioneers in a new and exciting field and it will take a team effort to make this dream a reality.

We’re also thankful for your empathy and support of your teammates. FortressIQ is a fun place to work because you all display genuine enjoyment and respect for each other. We see how you jump in to help, celebrate wins, and offer encouragement and motivation, and it’s inspiring.

Thank You for Your Dedication

We are acutely aware of the current supply-vs-demand equation for tech workers. There are far more job openings than available talent to fill them, so it takes a level of dedication to make a company like FortressIQ competitive. Both for you, our current team, and those out there who we want to join us. 

As a team, we’re a bit selfish in this regard because we go out of our way to hire people who are incredibly smart, motivated, and, frankly, enjoyable to be around. It’s who we all want to work with and we tout that when we’re trying to recruit new people. But, talent matters, too. Like Liam Neeson said in Taken, you each bring a particular set of skills to compliment those of the broader team. When we combine your dedication and your talent, we’re unstoppable.

To our FortressIQ team, we thank you for everything you bring to the table each and every day. Your intelligence elevates everyones’ performance, your creativity propels our innovation, and your enthusiasm is infectious.

Thank You for Getting Us Here

As a company, FortressIQ is in an enviable position. We’re creating an innovative and valuable solution at the nexus of AI, automation, and digital transformation, three of the hottest areas in technology. We continue to add new customers, attract new partners, and expand process intelligence into new and exciting areas. Obviously, none of that would be possible without your effort, teamwork, and dedication, and we thank you.

Thank You for Your Interest

We’re very thankful for the entire FortressIQ team, during the holiday season and throughout the year. But, if you’re not currently part of the FortressIQ team, well then thank you for reading this far. You now know a bit more about who we are, the values we find important, and the team we’re building.

Want to know more? Visit our Careers page to review current openings. Or, check us out on LinkedIn to learn more about our team. 

3 Takeaway Tips from Recent Process Intelligence Research

Market interest around process intelligence emerged in 2020 and kicked into overdrive in 2021. From investments to acquisitions to products, it is an exciting time for this technology by any measure. Analysts have also taken notice and stayed on the leading edge by encouraging companies to explore process technologies. Recent reports from Gartner, Forrester, HFS, Everest, ISG, and others suggest continued enterprise growth and wider adoption. While each takes a unique angle on the technology, a few common themes have emerged from the industry research. Here’s a quick recap of these themes.

Theme #1 – An Emerging OpEx Ecosystem

While traditional process mining can trace its roots back to IBM in the 1990s, the technology remained largely an academic exercise until just a few years ago. The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, big data, and advanced analytics helped push process technologies out of the lab and into the workplace. 

It’s similar to the path of RPA. This automation technology started primarily as a stand-alone task automation tool and has since evolved into “hyperautomation” to include AI/ML, data extraction, recorder, and BPM capabilities. Process intelligence has also evolved into a complementary tool to drive increased business value. Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, and other large software platforms are establishing operational excellence solutions that integrate previously diverse technologies into a comprehensive approach to deliver enterprise value.

Theme #2 – A Pathway To Transformation Success

McKinsey reports only 14% of companies have achieved sustained and material improvements from transformation programs at a cost of nearly $1 trillion annually. Despite the low propensity for success, companies continue to pour resources into complex change programs. BCG notes more than 80% of companies plan to accelerate their digital transformations. The dichotomy exists because executives realize that doing nothing is not an option because a company can’t be competitive if it fails to transform.

The biggest challenge to any complex change is the lack of knowledge on current state activities. Unfortunately, most companies do not understand how they truly operate on a day-to-day basis. You cannot get to the targeted future state efficiently without a clear view of your current operations. Process intelligence gives you that “what are we doing today” operational insight to then improve and drive value for the organization. Too much of the focus on transformation has been directed towards technology as the answer without considering the people and process dimensions. Through a more balanced people-process-technology approach, transformation success rates can be improved dramatically. 

Theme #3 – Better Together: Process Mining and Discovery

Comprehensive process intelligence requires a mix of process mining, modeling, and documentation. Used individually—and properly—each solution can certainly drive value for the organization depending on the use case. When combined, it creates a 360-degree view of your operations and creates an opportunity to deliver a value-driven, process-led, and data-based transformation. 

Consider how the different approaches work better together. Process mining offers higher-level, top-down insights on core end-to-end business processes. Task discovery provides granular, bottom-up detail on user activity to define task completion. By combining the two technologies, stakeholders can answer both what is happening and how it is happening. The integrated insights accelerate value creation regardless of whether the targeted outcome is an automated workflow, streamlined process, improved experience, or enhanced compliance.   

Theme #4 – Order of Operations is Critical

Too often companies adopt a “ready, fire, aim” mentality with emerging technologies. The promise of the shiny new tool is overwhelming and proper strategy takes a back seat to pursuing a quick win. Bill Gates’ second rule of technology teaches us that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. Furthermore, many critics of RPA highlight the challenge organizations have in scaling RPA operations: a majority of companies still have less than 10 bots deployed.

After the initial low-hanging fruit automation opportunities are addressed, companies struggle to find next-level candidates. Most RPA projects that get started never make it to production, and bots are more brittle than expected. But, with proper strategy and planning, RPA programs can be scaled. The key is the order of operations. The first step is process discovery. The second step is process reengineering. The third step is automation. In any other order, or if any steps are skipped, the flow is disrupted very quickly.

3 Tips for Companies Looking to Master Process Intelligence

Process inefficiency costs companies anywhere from 20% to 30% of their revenue every year. A recent article in Harvard Business Review noted that there are not dollar bills lying around on the floor, but there are 10,000 pennies. If you want to master process intelligence and start putting those pennies back into the business, here are three tips for getting started:

  1. Start Now – The technology is changing fast, but it is available today. There is no reason to delay programs waiting for the next advancement.   
  2. Think Big – Companies succeeding with process intelligence are planning appropriately. There are many use cases across the enterprise that the technology can address.
  3. Go Fast – While many of our clients are running successful programs internally, process intelligence technology requires deep and wide expertise. Consultancies and SIs are a great resource to jumpstart adoption and utilization of the tools.

Want to learn more about process intelligence? Click here to get more details, understand who can benefit, and see it in action.

What You Can’t See Will Definitely Scare You!

 

All across your organization, workers are going about their day, unaware of the apparitions lurking within every task. They’re in the non-compliant process and the missed field, hiding behind the cut corner, and feeding on the soul of rogue macros and error-filled spreadsheets.

But these ghosts are only frightening because you can’t see them. Once you flip on the lights, they change from scary unknowns into friendly opportunities for process improvements. Let process intelligence be your floodlight to illuminate bottlenecks, highlight potential transformations, and banish inefficient processes for good.

Download the Full Infographic

 

 

  • Supply Chain
    Everything is quiet, so logistics and inventory must be working in the most efficient and effective ways… Probably not! Better deploy process intelligence.
  • Operations
    Oh look, workers have different processes across different facilities. Let’s standardize and optimize!
  • Finance
    Hey, that manual invoicing process consumes days of bandwidth every month.  Let’s explore robotic process automation (RPA) for that task.

 

 

  • Risk & Compliance
    Wow, that process non-compliance opens us up to a lot of risk. Let’s work on reigning in those maverick tasks.
  • Sales
    Our reps are surely updating CRM and tracking their calls, but it’s odd that our sales forecasts are not very accurate.
  • IT
    Our shadow IT problem didn’t seem to be that bad, but process intelligence showed how many uncontrolled systems and processes were in use.

 

 

  • Human Resources
    HR works such long hours, it’s difficult to understand why it takes months to recruit and onboard new employees.
  • Customer Service
    Phew, so glad we used process intelligence to highlight the friction in our support processes so we could speed up our resolution times.
  • Field Service
    Process intelligence showed ways to cut hours out of the monthly reporting processes for each of our hundreds of field service agents.

Want to shine a bright light on the processes that make your organization work?

Let us exorcise your process ghosts with FortressIQ Process Intelligence. See it in action in our next demo; they’re every other Thursday. And, unlike that process ghost behind you, FortressIQ demos are alive. Or, rather, live. Boo!

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Transforming BSA/AML and KYC with Process Intelligence Technologies

The U.S. Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970 was one of the first Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) laws. It required companies and financial institutions to establish and report on internal controls and other measures put in place to prevent the facilitation of financial crimes. Other similar laws exist in countries around the world, creating a complex web of potential compliance issues for financial services companies.

The projected total cost of compliance with financial crime regulations is expected to reach $214 billion in 2021, surpassing the $181 billion recorded in 2020, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions. The results were derived from the firm’s global survey of 1,015 financial crime compliance decision-makers at financial institutions including banks and investment, asset management and insurance firms. The cost of compliance increases, however, when you consider that financial institutions worldwide have paid an estimated $26 billion in fines and penalties in the last decade for AML/KYC non-compliance. That’s an average of $2.6 billion per year and the trend continues in 2021.

It is increasingly clear that compliance with these regulations is critical to the sustainability of every financial institution. Unfortunately, the traditional means of transforming your BSA/AML processes are woefully inadequate. But there are new technologies helping accelerate and increase the success of BSA/AML transformation.

Does Your AML/KYC Process Add Risk?

While it is the responsibility of all employees, partners, and suppliers to prevent an organization from facilitating financial crimes, Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Compliance are the two departments playing key roles in defining and implementing the required internal controls. CLM is the first line of defense within any organization. Compliance acts as the second line of defense, responsible for policy making, escalation, and resolution, as well as performing independent risk management. Auditors, the third line of defense, ensure any risk governance framework complies with regulatory guidance.

Three Lines of Defense Model

Before taking on a new client, a due diligence process is generally conducted to evaluate the client’s risk rating. It begins with a basic understanding of the client’s identity, the risk involved, and an understanding of their financial habits. Onboarding high-risk customers and politically-exposed persons requires enhanced due diligence with additional assessments of the client’s geographic location, source of funds, and purpose of the transaction, and may require ongoing monitoring.

This is an important task that typically happens as follows:

  1. Pre-onboarding checks are conducted by working with Sales, Risk Management, Legal, Compliance, and others to collect and review relevant client data, product information, and documents as mandated by the regulatory authorities.
  2. Teams then update multiple systems of record to ensure a client’s readiness to transact.
  3. Post-onboarding processes then include on-going client reviews and continuous monitoring, managing client and counterparty data and records, and potentially, client off-boarding.

This process can quickly become complex, especially at global organizations spanning multiple geographies with various policy interpretations, competing rules and regulations, and related data housed in multiple and disconnected software applications. That last point adds risk, especially when data is not integrated, thereby forcing considerable amounts of manual, repetitive, error-prone work. The result is increased operational, reputational, and financial risk.

Additional risks arise from policy interpretations and potentially incorrect execution of processes, which both depend on the experience of KYC analysts. It is indeed demanding for analysts to make critical decisions that require focused thinking while concurrently performing important yet mundane manual data-entry tasks.

Add it all up and your AML/KYC process is exposing you to more risk, which is exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to do!

Transforming BSA/AML with Success

Transforming any enterprise process can be daunting, for good reason. A study by McKinsey & Company indicates that a staggering 70% of large transformation projects fail to deliver expected results. Reasons may include unclear objectives, lack of leadership, and lack of commitment. But looking deeper, transformation projects are frequently derailed when teams underestimate process complexity. It’s a huge undertaking to identify the appropriate processes, perform detailed current state assessments, develop business requirements, and keep an eye on budgets. Then, for any transformed process, adequate training is required, and even minimal employee turnover can add to the challenges.

When focused on AML/KYC processes, the need for a successful transformation can be critical to your organization’s survival.

But help is available from point solutions such as Microsoft Power Automate, which uses robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) to help organizations streamline, standardize, and automate routine tasks. Many financial institutions are also leveraging cognitive natural language processing (NLP) to accelerate processes such as transaction monitoring and adverse media and sanctions screenings.

AML/KYC platform providers can help streamline end-to-end processes. But successful implementation of these types of platforms largely depends on the quality of the business requirements and clearly defined compliance policies. It’s also dependent on the prevailing regulatory rules, final user acceptance testing, and training. In reality, it takes many months for organizations to fully understand and effectively leverage these platforms, which adds further delays to already complex transformation projects.

FortressIQ is playing a key role in a successful AML/KYC transformation by converting a process problem into a big data problem. FortressIQ performs detailed current state assessments to provide near real-time process intelligence. It then provides the insights to make data-driven decisions.

Using computer vision, NLP, OCR, and deep learning algorithms, FortressIQ will:

  • Capture tasks at the most granular level, with no bias or blind spots;
  • Provide faster time to value by generating detailed, enterprise-wide process insights in just 2-4 weeks and without consuming worker time; and
  • Cost much less than human consultants, including eliminating documentation errors and the related rework.

Insights provided by FortressIQ can be leveraged by functional and transformation teams to collaborate on areas that matter: process enhancement, automation, and training.

Effectively managing your AML/KYC risk is critical to the success and reputation of your organization. Process intelligence and emerging technologies can help mitigate these risks, speed up the transformation journey, and enhance the customer and employee experience. It could also prevent a AML/KYC violation, which is becoming an increasingly expensive prospect.

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Process Intelligence in Healthcare: How are processes really executed?

In today’s healthcare ecosystem, every health system, hospital, and physician is being asked to do more with less. Healthcare providers face increasing pressure to manage revenue, optimize utilization, and reduce costs. At the same time, they are being asked to prevent illness, optimize care, and improve patient outcomes.

From clinical decision support systems (CDSS) to electronic health records (EHR), not to mention the medical coding and billing applications, health systems have made massive investments in technology, and stakeholders are inundated with data. Despite having access to reams of information, they are often forced to make crucial operational decisions without complete insight due to disparate data, system silos and operational inefficiencies.

Providers, as well as payers, must be able to better manage their business and clinical processes to meet their customer’s needs. Determining where and how to employ a quality improvement strategy is complex, but process intelligence can help professionals better understand and improve key processes that drive competitive advantage.

Under the Microscope – Revenue Cycle Management

To understand and conquer your organization’s operations and end-to-end revenue cycle, you need the clear view of process intelligence. The healthcare revenue cycle is obviously more than just how money flows into your organization. According to the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), it encompasses “all the administrative and clinical functions that contribute to the capture, management and collection of patient service revenue.”  

The revenue cycle ultimately touches on every corner of the healthcare provider landscape – across dozens of systems, hundreds of processes, and untold workers. For your business, the first step is understanding how your revenue cycle operates so you can quickly realize the potential value.

  • It starts at the front office with patient scheduling, insurance eligibility, and treatment authorization. Too often, the impact of proper verifications and upfront patient collections is not fully appreciated. 
  • The middle office represents the clinical activity in the revenue cycle. It is a critical component and connects processes as patient data flows from front to back offices, including patient evaluation, diagnostic activities, laboratory services, medical treatments, clinical records, and medical coding. While the middle office determines the ultimate care and welfare of patients, it also impacts whether or not you get paid for the services provided. 
  • The back office of claims and collections happens after patient care is completed and medical reports and coding have been submitted. This is where claims management, medical billing, and final patient collections take place. An optimized revenue cycle is a competing mix of stakeholders across an already complex ecosystem, and the transparency of process intelligence is table stakes for transforming the process. 

Adapt to Healthcare Disruption

The effects of the pandemic may be receding, but continued healthcare disruption shows no signs of abatement. Simultaneous pressures to digitize, innovate, and scale your administration are being exacerbated by increasingly demanding patients, faster and more agile vendors, and constantly shifting healthcare business models and trends in payer preferences. Process optimizations and adjustments are required, but moving forward with incomplete or incorrect information can cause even more problems.

FortressIQ quickly decodes work at every level, with no bias or blind spots, and no gaps. You can then use this process intelligence to optimize operations, automate repetitive processes, accelerate supply chains, increase compliance and controls, streamline logistics, and much more. Even if systems and processes change across brands, business lines, and regions, FortressIQ provides continuous and comprehensive coverage so you can identify risks, optimize work, and focus on sustainable growth.

To learn more, download our e-book to understand how you can conquer the uncharted depths of your organization’s revenue management.


Tips To Improve Your Finance Processes

Finance processes are what keep any business going, but it’s much more than just accounting and financial scorekeeping. Since finances support every part of a business, Finance, and the processes they manage, are integral and intertwined with everything your business does. That makes Finance a critical part of every business decision. But they can’t be involved at a strategic level if they’re consumed with manual, slow, error-prone, or otherwise friction-filled processes. When Finance can’t be strategic, mistakes happen, things are overlooked, and businesses make poor financial decisions.

Improving finance processes benefits your entire business. Even just focusing on the biggest components—accounts payable, cash flow, accounts receivable, and data entry—can bring efficiency, accuracy, and better decision-making. These tips will help you improve your processes, but only if you begin by understanding how they work today. Because, you can’t change what you don’t understand, right?

What Are Finance Processes?

Finance just might be the most important team in your business. They’re responsible for everything from billing customers to paying workers, and everything in between that’s related to finances. So, when finance processes aren’t working, money isn’t moving and people aren’t getting paid. 

If your business is a ship, Finance is the financial captain, compass, and engine that makes it all work to meet corporate goals. They determine the best strategic objectives, set the course for financial health, and keep the business moving through the processes that bring money in and keep vendors, workers, tax collectors, landlords, and others happy. But that’s not all: Finance guides compliance, audits, and risk management, too, among many other areas.

Add it all up and finance processes are critical to keeping a business afloat. But, since they are integrated into every part of your business, it may seem daunting as you look for improvements. So let’s narrow down the tips here to just accounts payable, cash flow, accounts receivable, and data entry.

  • Accounts payable are the finance processes of paying your bills and debts. The bulk of that is likely to suppliers, but it also covers rent, leases, office supplies, and other goods and services.
  • Accounts receivable are the finance processes of collecting your bills and debts. It’s what’s due from customers for the goods and services you provided but which customers have yet to pay for.
  • Cash flow processes manage all the money as it moves into and out of your business. It’s incoming payments from customers, but also from investments and financing. And, it’s outgoing money to suppliers, but also to workers and to fund purchases or projects that enhance your business. 
  • Data entry is the manual process that makes every other finance process happen. It’s slow, manual, and error-prone, and is the low hanging fruit of process improvement.

Your business obviously uses these processes, and many more. But, it’s important to focus on achievable objectives when you’re looking for finance process improvements. And, remember that you must first understand how your business operates today to know how to improve it for tomorrow. That process intelligence is a prerequisite to any finance process improvements. 

Ways To Improve Finance Processes

Understanding how your business works today is where you can find ways to improve finance processes. It’s important to be both comprehensive and deep, since finance processes typically extend beyond just Finance. Think of payroll, budgeting, forecasting, auditing, training, business development, expenses, sales, and, well, everything. If you’re working right now, Finance likely made decisions alongside your manager, department head, human resources manager, and even CEO to ensure you had a salary, a laptop, email, and everything else needed to do your job. That all costs money, and finance processes are behind each of those decisions. 

So, understanding end-to-end finance processes requires digging deep into your business to see how those processes operate. Just looking at the software tools used by Finance might only capture a fraction of the full picture. Similarly, since nearly all companies use email and spreadsheets to run most finance processes, relying on manual process mining or limited application log files leaves too much unknown. What’s required is a platform that captures real-time, end-to-end process insights across every worker and every system. 

Once you have a complete, detailed view of your finance processes, you can start to identify and tackle these tips.

  • Reducing Manual Errors In Finance Processes

    Inefficient and inconsistent finance processes lead to errors, omissions, and clouded decisions. This can be caused by siloed data separating, say, accounts payable and cash flow forecasting processes, or by manual data entry, data transformation, or data loading that slows valuable insights or delays timely financial reporting.

    Using process intelligence to understand where finance processes move out of dedicated tools and into email, spreadsheets, or paper documents can highlight where manual errors are most likely. Those manual and end-user computing (EUC) tools consume too much manual effort to manage and maintain, so manual errors are likely to happen.

    Solutions include finance process automation using robotic process automation (RPA) bots and artificial intelligence (AI) tools; reducing inconsistencies in process execution, integrating systems to avoid manual data transfers, and more. 
  • Accelerating Finance Processes

    Time is money and cash is king, so accelerating finance processes gives your business access to both time and money through better, faster, more accurate decisions. When the business wants to make any investment, they lean on Finance to help them understand the financial impact of that decision. Using old plans, out of date reports, stale financial data, historical budgets, and other past data could lead them down the wrong path. When finance processes are fast, however, those decisions are made with more relevant insights.

    Speeding up finance processes also impacts financial reporting, such as monthly close and consolidations, annual planning cycles, and the monthly and quarterly financial budgets and forecasts. Taking time out of these processes not only gives Finance and the business more timely insights, it gives Finance more time to spend on strategic decisions that really matter. And, it helps Finance get regulatory and compliance reports submitted on time and with less effort.
  • Reducing the Cost Of Finance Processes

    Taking time out of any process also reduces the cost of that process. But, Finance is interested in the bottom line, so reducing costs in any process helps improve profits. Cost reductions in finance process can come from reducing manual effort by workers, which can then turn into reduced or redeployed headcounts, or taking on more value-add activities without adding costs.

    Process duplication and redundancy also lead to excessive costs. Peering deeply into finance processes, from auditing to accounting, can highlight tasks that require repeated effort, or where mistakes frequently require rework. Eliminating that overlap requires you to gain visibility into all of your existing processes so you can see where duplication happens, and then fix it. Of course, the traditional process mapping and process mining tools don’t have this level of visibility
  • Increasing Visibility Into Finance Processes

    Finance processes, and the resulting insights, are heavily scrutinized, audited, and analyzed. It’s for good reason, since financial process errors can cost businesses millions of dollars in profits, lost sales, and regulatory fines. The root cause in many cases is a reliance on manual processes, but to eliminate those processes, you need visibility into finance processes.

    Process intelligence can provide detailed, accurate, real-time visibility into how your business runs its finance processes. With that insight, you can begin to identify areas for automation so that more mistakes can be eliminated. Or, you can find ways to pull more financial processes out of spreadsheets and email, and onto dedicated systems where they are put through proper review, approval, and auditing cycles. That helps you catch more errors before they have a chance to impact your business. 
  • Reducing the Cost Of Finance Process Training

    Bringing on new workers to the finance team requires training in your processes and systems. However, it causes productivity lag and frustration when the training doesn’t match the actual as-is processes new workers need to learn on the job. Training is a long, expensive endeavor, so it’s a poor financial strategy to waste time if it doesn’t match how processes actually run.

    Mapping your current finance processes not only helps you find areas of improvement, it uncovers areas where reality doesn’t match expectations. You can then work to fix broken finance processes, understand why workers are avoiding or working around specific processes, and update training courses to either match reality or reinforce the importance of following accepted finance processes.
  • Start Transforming Finance Processes With FortressIQ

    FortressIQ Process Intelligence uses computer vision and AI to discover, document, and analyze finance process insights at the user level, in real-time and at enterprise scale. Your financial process data is then mined using machine learning and deep learning algorithms to discover and map all relevant finance processes. From there, you can get to work on automating, optimizing, and streamlining finance processes within Finance and across your business.

To learn more, download this report from 451 Research to understand why leading businesses are deploying process discovery technology and intelligent process automation to improve finance and other processes.

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