WWT and Dell Technologies: partners in financial security
World Wide Technology (WWT) is one of the world’s premier technology solution providers. “Revenues right now are approaching $13bn in 2020, encompassing our digital strategy, innovative technology, as well as supply chain solutions to a variety of different customers in the public and private sectors around the globe,” explains Chris Konrad, Director of Security for WWT’s global business. “We're hyper-focused on providing secure business outcomes for our global clients,” adds Matt Berry, Principal Security Advisor, Global Financials. “We deliver solutions in the area of data governance and strategy, security platforms and tool operationalisation. We also address AI and ML model security and enterprise security architecture. Regardless of what the challenge is, our goal is to bring together business acumen with a full stack of technical know how to develop solutions that address our customers’ most complex cyber needs.”
Security in the financial services space has been made only more necessary by the ongoing challenges around the pandemic and the transition to remote working. “Financial institutions are being forced to deal with their technical debt as non-digital processes are being digitised,” says Berry. “Often these workloads are being moved into cloud environments, for instance.” That shift in technology comes alongside a rise in cyber attacks. “Threat actors are getting smarter, they're getting more organised and they’re becoming increasingly innovative in their tactics and technologies.” With those challenges in mind, WWT tailors its solutions for customers. “We architect our solutions and services around these business outcomes and offer strong consultancy combined with the technical competency.”
WWT’s reputation has led to a strong partnership with Dell Technologies. WWT is a $1bn partner of Dell Technologies’ and their first ever Titanium Black partner. “We've leveraged about 25 years of partnership expertise to do everything from designing to testing and delivering best-in-class integrated solutions that really help accelerate digital and security transformation journeys,” says Konrad. “Working with Dell Technologies ensures that as we speak to our financial services customers, we're going to have the right technical solutions to offer, regardless of whatever business outcome we're solving,” adds Berry.
The partnership extends to the wider Dell Technologies ecosystem, with WWT having recently secured its largest managed services deal in partnership with Secureworks, a leading Cybersecurity Managed Services provider that is a strategically aligned business within the Dell Technologies portfolio of capabilities. “It’s a three-year programme broken out across 10 different key work streams, with the goal of working with this financial services customer to accelerate their security maturity by the end of next year,” says Berry. WWT also has invested $500mn in an advanced technology centre for clients to try technology before buying, as Konrad explains. “They can do proofs of concept, testing, and validation with the entire Dell technologies portfolio of capabilities. And then we also have a digital Dell desk that we're able to offer our customers.”
Going forward, Berry sees the partnership evolving to continue addressing current trends. “The digital landscape is at war and the commodity that is being fought over is data. Bank accounts are stored in ones and zeros, and proprietary algorithms and financial projections are all digitised and accessible from anywhere on earth - organisations need to know where their data is, at speed and at scale across a very complex ecosystem.” The answer is a focus on data discovery, classification and protection, as well as cloud everywhere security competencies. “Going into the cloud creates additional challenges,” says Berry. “Organisations need flexible security solutions that can adopt a cloud-agnostic approach to security. If you have sensitive data, wherever it is, however it's stored, it needs to be easy to protect with simplified policies that are applied as code.”
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”