Henry Umney, Director, ClusterSeven, highlights his views on the technology trends in the banking and financial services sector in 2017:
- CFOs will drive transformation to align EUC models and enterprise systems
With ever-growing financial regulation, CFOs are under increasing pressure to demonstrate with certainty that they have full knowledge of data sources used for reported statements, to rule out errors and misreporting. However, due to the ubiquitous, uncontrolled and unmonitored use of spreadsheets and end user computing (EUC) applications, many CFOs are struggling to offer such cast-iron guarantees. In 2017, CFOs will drive transformation initiatives to align and integrate EUC models with enterprise systems to achieve end-to-end transparency of business-critical processes – right from the creation of an EUC application by a user, visibility of data lineage between EUCs through to its retirement in the corporate system.
- Tangible efficiency-led cost savings will drive automation of business critical financial and compliance processes
With a vast number of day-to-day, but critical operational business processes, being undertaken in often poorly undocumented spreadsheets, the benefits accrued to users is reaching a tipping point whereby the very reasons for using such EUC applications – i.e. flexibility, agility, efficiency and productivity – are negating as they are becoming a drain on the time and resources of users. The latest ClusterSeven survey report entitled, ‘The Spreadsheet is Here to Stay’, finds that internal audit, finance, compliance and risk management professionals spend, on average, 43% of their time monitoring and validating information on spreadsheets. Those in management, spend closer to 47% of their time on this activity. With the use of spreadsheets for business-critical processes slated to grow over the next two years, financial institutions will look to streamline and automate the management of the financial and compliance processes in the EUC environment to optimise the efficiency and productivity gains such applications genuinely offer; and thereby make tangible financial savings as a result of reduced manual effort.
- EUC risk management will be a key component of broader GRC strategies of financial institutions
To deliver against stringent governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) reporting and management goals, financial institutions regularly deploy GRC solutions to understand the organisation’s overall operational risk posture. With many regulators demanding transparency around the ecosystem of EUC tools (e.g. BCBS239, CCAR, DFASR) that feed models, in 2017, financial institutions will look to make EUC risk management a key component of their broader GRC strategy. Presently, through enterprise GRC solutions alone, organisations are hampered in their ability to monitor the EUC landscape with the granularity that regulators are expecting.
- Momentum will build to move core financial and compliance processes to the secure cloud
Research shows that with the adoption of Microsoft Office 365 in business, a large amount of sensitive data is already (and perhaps inadvertently) stored in the cloud. With employees now collaborating on critical spreadsheets via the cloud, the proliferation of uncontrolled EUCs will likely increase. To meet workforce demands of 24×7 anytime, anywhere and from any device access to business information, financial institutions will be compelled to devise and execute on a broader cloud strategy, in order to formally move business critical spreadsheet and EUC-related operational processes to the secure cloud.
Note to editors: Henry Umney is available to discuss his views in more detail.
London-based ClusterSeven has developed a range of market-leading software products that provide oversight and transparency of a firm’s spreadsheets, user-built databases and modelling tools. ClusterSeven’s solutions provide departments such as finance and internal audit full confidence in the integrity of their firm’s spreadsheet data, while also offering substantial savings on the time and resources used to check data processes and accuracy.
ClusterSeven was founded in 2003 and established a New York office in 2006. The firm now has a third of the world’s top 30 banks as clients as well as multiple leading insurers, investment managers and energy firms. In June 2015, private equity firm Azini Capital Partners LLP acquired 100% of ClusterSeven and has provided additional investment to promote high quality product development and wider customer engagement.