Process Intelligence for Operational Resilience in Financial Services

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated operational risks while increasing economic and business uncertainty. Pandemic-related disruptions have affected internal information systems, personnel, and facilities, as well as relationships with external service providers and customers. In addition, cyber threats (ransomware attacks, phishing, etc.) have spiked, and the potential for operational risk events caused by people, failed processes, and disrupted systems has increased as a result of greater reliance on virtual working arrangements. 

To help the financial industry improve its ability to survive future disruptions, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) recently issued Principles for operational resilience. It aims to make financial services institutions (FSI) better able to withstand, adapt to, and recover from severe adverse events. Similar guidance has been rolled out by the Prudential Regulatory Authority, Financial Conduct Authority, and other regulators. The goal is to provide additional safeguards for the overall financial system.

Operational Resilience Requires Detailed Process Understanding

The BCBS defines operational resilience as the ability of an FSI to deliver critical operations through disruption. The principles cover topics ranging from governance and operational risk management to business continuity planning and cybersecurity, including activities performed for third parties. The principles have also been expanded to include processes which, if disrupted, would be material to the company’s continued operation or its role in the financial system.

In other words, it’s critical to understand every process that makes an FSI tick.

Mapping the Connections

Of particular note is the document’s fourth principle, which provides guidance on mapping the interdependencies of internal and external processes. It states that FSIs should not just identify critical operations, but “map the internal and external interconnections and interdependencies” to truly understand how they deliver critical operations.

BCBS further implores FSIs to go deeper than just the tasks and steps to identify and document the people, processes, technologies, information, facilities, and more, including those of third parties. It further calls out the need to define “interconnections and interdependencies” among all these components as they relate to an FSI’s ability to deliver critical operations.

Capturing this level of detail, at scale, is a daunting task even for smaller FSIs. The typical manual process mapping and application log file-based process mining efforts are too slow, too expensive, and too limited in their scope. 

Process Intelligence Accelerates Operational Resiliency Initiatives 

FortressIQ Process Intelligence uses computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to effectively capture and discover the details of every process, who performs it, using which applications, and the output generated from it. 

Yes, FortressIQ maps and documents the people, processes, technologies, and information behind every process. Best of all, it captures this process intelligence in just weeks, comprehensively and accurately, without expensive and long engagements. And, it highlights process variances across workers due to differences in experience, training, or other factors.

FortressIQ also documents the people and processes using legacy, home-grown, and user-generated tools, and even productivity tools that lack logs, such as email and spreadsheet apps. FSIs spend millions of dollars buying, building, and maintaining these customized and third-party systems, but allow risk to be introduced as end users conduct operation-critical work using end-user computing tools (EUC), which are outside of core systems. These EUCs can help make day-to-day work faster and more efficient, but the operational and continuity risks associated with EUCs cannot be understated. 

FortressIQ Process Intelligence requires zero integration, works without disrupting employees, and captures granular process details. Process data is then decoded to provide actionable insights so FSIs can make faster, more informed decisions on the process optimizations, digital transformations, and cloud adoption that support resilience initiatives. 

Decode Work for FSI Resilience 

FortressIQ follows the human with automated process discovery, modeling, and documentation. It works everywhere business happens, capturing process data at the most granular level, performed on any application, with no bias or blind spots, and across global operations. It then presents process visualizations and dashboards across people, process, technology and information, allowing a view of the data from a broad perspective or focus on a single process thread, and empowering leaders to make data-driven decisions with increased confidence.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for operational resilience, especially for FSIs. Given the critical role of FSIs in the global financial system, increasing their resilience to these types of black swan events also increases their ability to absorb the more likely and more common shocks of cyber incidents, technology failures, and natural disasters. Pragmatic operational resiliency provides safeguards for the financial system as a whole. But, it all starts by decoding how FSIs work today. 

FortressIQ can help. To learn more, visit our Resource Library.