Admin is a chore for all businesses

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On May 25, you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from companies that have been working so hard to prepare for GDPR. Arguably, the real GDPR compliance work starts after that date, when companies will be under pressure to constantly evaluate their policies, processes and systems to ensure that the data they hold is secure, if they are to avoid the hefty fines they could incur after a data breach.

While GDPR covers all industries, they could learn some useful lessons from the financial services sector - given that it is already heavily regulated – with respect to the challenges it is facing to better balance financial documentation compliance and data protection regulations, without compromising productivity.

The admin drain impacts all businesses

The financial services sector’s need for a technological response to its challenge is highlighted by some recent survey findings. Entitled Role of Technology in Financial Documentation Compliance Survey, it reported that 89 per cent of financial service professionals indicated that heavy documentation demands affect their ability to efficiently produce thorough, timely reports, records and client notes, which can impact compliance and client service. Those are consequences most likely to be felt across many other organisations and sectors, even those that aren’t as heavily regulated.

Even for those that aren’t, it is fair to say that increased regulations requires significant demands and standards for maintaining thorough documentation. The survey – deployed to more than 40,000 financial service professionals, with the majority of respondents from large firms housing over 500 employees – highlights how advisors and firms are looking to new tools to help them balance the growing need document interactions clearly and accurately to meet compliance, while managing client service.

Drowning in documents

Perhaps unsurprisingly a very high percentage of respondents – 89 per cent - said that documentation demands are limiting the amount of valuable ‘face time’ with their clients. Meanwhile, 48 per cent added that after meeting or speaking with a client, they have to create at least one full page of notes documenting the full detail of their conversation. In terms of time lost, more than 37 per cent of advisors surveyed spend more than three hours a day writing client financial plans, regulatory filings or other documentation.

In order to address this drain on productivity, more than 80 per cent of respondents said that their firm is making greater use of standardised templates and forms to complete documentation and help mitigate compliance risk. 78 per cent said they would be interested in new tools, such as speech recognition, to complete documentation, drive compliance and increase productivity.

Talking about a better route to efficiency

Arguably, today, it’s more important than ever for professionals within the Financial Services industry to efficiently create detailed, up-to-date and actionable client information to meet ever-expanding compliance mandates. Voice and language solutions - like speech recognition - are already helping to provide a better way to tackle documentation demands and improve transparency in reporting – all by voice, without compromising accuracy or quality - and ultimately improving both compliance and client care. The productivity gains for speech recognition users is tangible, given that we typically talk at up to three times faster than we type.

Today, speech recognition is being used by a wide range of individuals and industries – essentially anyone who needs to create detailed, accurate, documentation. They can range from corporations, government agencies and other organisations that face significant documentation requirements as part of conducting business. In all of their cases, inefficient or cumbersome documentation workflows often result in missed deadlines, inaccurate documents or too much time and money focused on administrative work. This is a problem for organisations of all sizes, but it is compounded for companies which have limited staff and other resources. For them, boosting productivity and managing documentation are top priorities, which is where speech recognition solutions like Dragon excels.

Talking up a future made better through productivity

Of course, many people have tried speech recognition in the past, but anyone trying speech recognition for the first time today will be impressed at how easy and accurate it is; accuracy rates of 99 per cent, is typical for many users, right from their first use. While relatively simple to use, speech recognition software is highly sophisticated technology that leverages ‘language modelling’ to recognise and differentiate among the millions of human utterances that make up any language. Using statistical models, speech recognition programs analyse an incoming stream of sound and interpret those sounds as commands and dictation. This, combined with advances in Artificial Intelligence, means the technology delivers on its promise to boost productivity.

When efficiency becomes inclusive

Bear in mind though that an organisation can only enjoy true productivity improvements when everyone can appreciate a boost to their personal productivity; speech makes this easy for everyone. Take, for instance, employees with dyslexia.

Speech recognition software is remarkable for its transformative assistive qualities and its trump card for all users – whether they are affected by dyslexia or not – is its ease of use. Talking to a PC or Mac is for many far easier – and a more fluid and natural process – than typing and using the keyboard and mouse. For many people, with or without assistive needs, the keyboard is a barrier that inhibits thoughts and ideas – which would flow eloquently when spoken – from being documented. They often end up lost through the process of typing. By removing the barrier, frustration is quickly turned into accomplishment and people can focus on their thoughts and get them on paper simply by speaking. Similar benefits are there to be enjoyed by people who suffer with Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI); by providing an alternative to the pain-inducing keyboard and mouse, people with RSI can be as productive as their colleagues.

There’s no doubt that compliance results in more admin, adding to the pressure many professionals already experience the workplace. With the deployment of speech recognition solutions however, admin time can be dramatically reduced, thus tangibly improving the productivity of all employees and creating a more inclusive workplace for the 21st century – whatever the industry is.

Mark Geremia, Vice President and General Manager for Dragon Professional and Consumer, Nuance Communications
Image Credit: Docstockmedia / Shutterstock