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Digital disruption is no longer a surprise for today’s financial institutions. In the last decade alone, the rapid rise in technologies such as mobile banking apps and online payment systems has dramatically transformed the customer experience by providing more convenient banking options. While investing heavily in in technology to drive customer engagement is a good start on the journey to more intelligent banking, the next step is embracing technologies that improve and automate back-end processes.

Over the next few years, banks are looking to automate up to 25% of their processes to remain competitive and free employees up to focus on more high-value efforts.  It’s important to remember that automation isn’t going to replace bankers, but instead optimize how banks work by helping them become more agile. Read on to learn more about our perspective on how these exciting new technologies will help create the future of intelligent banking.

A prime opportunity for process automation

Process automation has the potential to help perform a wide variety of day-to-day tasks within banking operations including customer onboarding, payment processing, fraud detection, credit issuing, and email classification. The proposal creation process for corporate lending is another example of a backend workflow that’s ripe for digital transformation via automation.

Today, when a small business or corporation requests a loan, it often takes banks three to five weeks to provide a decision and up to three months to provide access to funds if the loan is approved. Much of this waiting time is the result of inefficient and manual processes. Many relationship managers still rely on email as their primary tool for generating proposals, sending spreadsheets and documents to proposal team members with no way to track tasks or control versions. As a result, lack of insight and document control issues often delay the proposal approval process and increase the amount of time customers must wait for a response.

Relying on legacy systems and manual processes increases the probability of inconsistent results and errors and limits the banks’ abilities to respond quickly. In a rapidly accelerating business environment where customers are shopping for the best interest rates and new fintech lenders are carving a niche in the industry, financial institutions can’t afford to make these costly mistakes. Automating proposal creation processes and other day-to-day operations frees up employees and better equips them to deliver a first-class customer experience and perform higher-value tasks that increase profitability and open new revenue streams.

Early proposal automation initiatives have delivered striking results for leading financial institutions. By automating legacy processes, some banks have decreased their customer response time to less than 10 minutes and are able to provide customers with access to funds within 24 hours. This dramatic decrease in processing time translates to sizeable business benefits. Analysts estimate that for a bank with a balance sheet of $250 billion, proposal automation could generate as much as $230 million in new annual profit due to increased cost efficiencies and revenue gains. In today’s competitive environment, these benefits are simply too big for financial institutions to ignore.

Partner with an industry-leading technology provider

While the benefits of proposal automation are clear, banks need help to make them a reality. Microsoft has developed Proposal Manager on the Microsoft 365 platform to empower today’s financial institutions to simplify proposal management and create professional, winning proposals. With Proposal Manager, the proposal creation process is streamlined by compiling data, call reports, lending content, and client documents—even those from legacy core systems—into one secure location that only team members can access. This makes it easy for relationship managers to create and manage proposal workflows, track proposal progress with built-in tracking and notifications, and enable team members to coauthor and digitally sign shared documents in real time. In addition, robust collaboration tools easily facilitate communication between departments for proposal reviews and whiteboarding sessions.

These capabilities keep the proposal process moving seamlessly to help banks meet tight deadlines, enhance the customer experience, decrease operational costs, and drive higher win rates—and it all . To learn more about how Microsoft Proposal Manager can help your team work more efficiently and close more deals, read this blog.