IT Best-Practices Don’t Have to Involve Big Dollar Budgets

by Michael P. Binko, president and CEO, kloudtrack®

In recent issues of The KADRE™, we’ve taken a look at how federal, state and industry-mandated regulations are changing the way business needs to be done for the majority of small and medium enterprise (SME) businesses – no matter what industry they operate in.

We’ve also taken the 100,000 foot view of the changing landscape for enterprise software and how the emergence of SaaS and open-source technologies is opening a window of opportunity for SMEs.

This shift to Web-based/outsourced software allows SME management teams to quickly and efficiently deploy applications and capabilities that were traditionally only available from a “big iron” provider and at price levels that usually started in 6-figures per year.

This month, we’re going to take a closer look at an example of how this type of technology is directly benefiting owners, CEOs, COOs, compliance teams and IT professionals in the middle- market.

The case study comes out of the Financial Services sector; however, the business issues – business process management, document archiving/retrieval, workflow, compliance and best- practices – are exactly the same for just about any industry segment.

Alan Pransky is principal, partner and the defacto Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) for Patriot Financial. Headquartered in Boston, MA and with locations throughout New England and the Northeastern U.S., Patriot is a branch Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction (OSJ) for Lincoln Securities Corporation (LSC).  LSC is a securities broker-dealer which is part of the Lincoln Financial Network family of financial services companies.  Lincoln has more than 400 branch offices similar to Patriot.

Being an OSJ, Patriot is regularly audited by both Lincoln internal compliance officers, auditors from the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and audit/enforcement teams from the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). During a typical audit, Alan and his team have less than 24 hours to turn-around answers or information that relate to specific questions asked by auditors — and the clock begins running as soon as the office is notified of the impending audit.  As a result, Alan and his team usually budget for between 12 and 24 hours of down-time per audit.

Earlier this year, Lincoln corporate IT teams reviewed and approved various technologies, including SaaS|Cloud technologies, for use at their branch and OSJ offices for audit response and risk mitigation. Patriot, which is one of the largest Lincoln OSJ offices, quickly deployed kloudtrack® which is a comprehensive suite of BPM, document management, workflow and compliance tools integrated into a SaaS technology offering.

Patriot immediately began converting hard-copy account records into digital data using OCR scanning and simply uploading the information to the SaaS|Cloud platform. Beyond simple electronic storage, kloudtrack® incorporates complex search and retrieval functions and a full workflow capability that allows team members and management to share records in a secure environment with an audit trail of accountability baked-in.

In March, Alan was on a business trip when he was contacted by his office manager stating that an auditor arrived at their Boston offices and wanted to begin a full audit of Patriot’s new account activation and records retention processes. Alan simply had the office manager to walk the auditor through the kloudtrack® database and instructed her to also create a temporary user account that the auditor could use to access and review Patriot records via the Internet.

To make a long story short, the auditor was so impressed with Patriot’s organization that the audit was concluded in less than an hour.  Alan estimated the hard-dollar savings during that single audit to be more than $4,000. To put that into perspective, Alan’s full SaaS | Cloud software costs for a year are less than $3,000. Beyond the audit preparation and response, Patriot has also tallied considerable savings on a daily basis through greater productivity and by being able to put client investment dollars to work quicker.

In summary, SME or mid-market businesses should take a closer look at their business processes and the new landscape of outsourced enterprise applications.  The total cost of ownership (TCO) is often very low and the return on investment (ROI) is often realized in a very short period of time.

Also, adoption of SaaS | Cloud applications can begin small and scale infinitely so, go ahead, pick a “pilot” program, develop some tangible metrics for success and execute.  You might be surprised how easy and effective these technologies can be.

On July 16, 2010, posted in: Recent Articles by
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