More People, More Problems? The Trap of using Manpower over Automation

Date: September 23, 2013

I recently returned from a sales meeting where the goal was to obtain additional insight into the current processes completed by this company’s back-office.  During our return flight, I recalled an article that I had first read almost a year to the day and that I regularly re-read as we continue to reinforce the need to move to a more automated environment for our clients, prospects and partners.

This got me thinking about why many risk-averse organizations, with seemingly unlimited resources, continue to operate under such a risk-prone and fundamentally old fashioned premise–that solving problems is best done by adding more staff and additional disparate, manual processes.

In essence, there are many reasons that each individual organization chooses to avoid automating their existing environment, but overall there are four overriding themes that I continue to see play out from client to client and opportunity to opportunity: (1) Enterprise-wide views on automation are not adopted by members of the back-office and applied to their existing processes, but rather more manual processes continue to be added over time, (2) Current internal infrastructure within these organizations is able to maintain existing mainframe and legacy systems, but is not configured to rapidly transition to better and more efficient technology, (3) New and ever changing regulatory requirements have led to multiple systems and processes being developed to avoid making costly changes or updates to an existing system within tight timeframes, and (4) IT and business departments have different agendas and lack the coordination to understand the other’s requirements and how to properly align and solve those requirements through automation.

As additional regulatory reform and audit scrutiny is introduced, it becomes critical that the old premises and fears are challenged and overcome.  And ultimately, technology, in combination with a deliberate and effective strategy for rollout, can provide the efficiency, communication, transparency, and scalability that organizations need to remain competitive and stay ahead of the regulatory and audit curve.

By resisting the trap to use manpower over automation, organizations can realize efficiencies such as:  the creation and harmonization of centralized support centers across multiple regions,  increased productivity through the standardization and coordination of processes and calculations,  resources more focused on value-added tasks, reduced processing cycle times, ability to incorporate additional regulation requirements and client volumes in a flexible and agile manner, and increased visibility by management, auditors, and compliance groups into internal processes and procedures.

I believe we are at the forefront of the movement to automation in fund administration.  The Unity® and Unity NXT™ suite of solutions and Confluence’s consulting services can help expedite that movement.  Learn more at  and

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