The idea of a world ruled by machines has inspired many a work of science fiction. That’s just one manifestation of man’s machine fascination. Another – which is both more real and meaningful – is the increasing device dependence of each generation. The advent of computers has further accelerated this process and it is, today, impossible to think of a sector or industry or facet of life untouched by technology. The banking sector, in particular, has been a major benefactor of technological advances. What remains to be seen is whether this trend will make people redundant in this sector.
Technology, in the form of software solutions and processes, has transformed banking beyond description – from a model where banking circulars dictated staff activity to one where automated Straight Through Processes have become the foundation of business continuity. These processes help simplify complex transactions like corporate loan origination, trade finance bill processing etc. However, process noncompliance by inexperienced or untrained staff can result in huge losses.
On the other hand, processes or solutions are not entirely foolproof despite all efforts at flawless implementation, resulting in transaction delays and longer turnaround times. The dynamic nature of the banking sector is one reason for these shortcomings. Additionally, these processes are largely designed based on generalizations and often fail to recognize the exceptions. Intervention by skilled and experienced staff can help tide over such issues.
To sum it up, the banking industry cannot function on just processes or people in isolation. There has to be a happy middle ground which combines the best that both these resources have to offer. Processes need to be simple, transparent and readily integrated into the banking functions and lifecycle activities. In the same vein, skilled people have to be hired and trained to enable smooth operations.