Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Keeping it simple - Fidelity claims successes stem from reducing transaction errors

Reuters, reporting on a rare speech by Fidelity Investment's Vice Chairman Abigail Johnson, included some important advice that any financial institution could benefit from. According to the report, Johnson:

... made it clear that running retirement plans and improving customer service depended on having smooth-running systems and squeezing out incremental improvements.

"Even a small reduction in errors and rework can have a significant impact," Johnson said. "When computer systems cause errors, you can end up with The Dreaded NIGO - the 'not in good order' transaction," and risk alienating customers.

Fidelity has built a reputation in the industry around automated data processing, though what is not always clear is what percentage of their overall business processes are automated. But one could expect that the company (renowned for technology build-versus-buy always falling on the 'build' side) would have built a strong workflow automation technology to underpin their lines of business operations.

As Johnson's statements make clear, getting workflows right that incorporate customers, agents and backoffice administrators is probably also central to Fidelity's low rate of ''The Dreaded NIGO". Total automation, or complex models with every permutation represented are not required. Being able to capture information cleanly, track its use and prevent unnecessary errors are functions of a system in financial services or any industry that are essential.

A post from the Improving It blog

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