Is IT Process Automation Really a Big Deal? Morgan Stanley Thinks So

Is IT Process Automation a Good Idea?While the concept of IT process automation has been all the buzz lately, many organizations – particularly those of an enterprise level – are only just beginning to fully recognized its benefits. One noteworthy mention is the investment firm Morgan Stanley. Executives there viewed ITPA (along with analytics and mobile technology) as so important, in fact, that the company recently invested $500 million into these key business initiatives.

The brokerage firm is home to nearly 20,000 financial advisors and more than four million customers who have collectively invested over $1.7 trillion in assets. Senior technology experts employed at the firm stated that there was a glaring need to improve service levels on both sides of the coin – for employees as well as clientele. As a result, they chose to earmark a significant amount of operational budget toward the areas of analytics, mobile and IT process automation.

The investment came as a direct result of Morgan Stanley’s overall business objective to accelerate growth, particularly in the area of managed accounts. The company’s president also cited the goals of expanding capital-markets partnerships and bolstering banking/lending capabilities as reasons for the shift toward more advanced technological tools. The executive team further recognized the need to improve stability and functionality of the firm’s platform.

The change came about a few years ago, following the company’s consolidation and subsequent joint venture with Citigroup. Following this integration, there were a number of significant technical glitches, including several that impeded transaction completion and trade processing. While spokespeople for Morgan Stanley initially claimed to have these issues ironed out, there remained evidence of the need for a more enhanced, secure and cohesive system.

One of the main reasons behind the recent investment in IT process automation has to do with the sheer amount of customer data that Morgan Stanley has access to. The new tech tools allow for an enhanced data architecture, which allows the brokerage firm to take advantage of this wealth of information. Better data analysis allows financial advisers to make better recommendations to their clients. Furthermore, with tools like self-service applications, clients are now able to make better investment decisions on their own.

According to an anonymous spokesperson, the $500 million investment has been broken down into three key areas, with IT process automation receiving the biggest allotment of $250 million. Among the benefits of this enhanced technology are improved search capabilities and the ability for advisors to more quickly and accurately identify available security options based on such criteria as credit rating, yield, geography and more.

The bottom line is, in a highly saturated and intensely competitive field like investments and wealth management, finding a way to stay a step ahead of the other key players is critical. Morgan Stanley believes that by investing in advanced technology like IT process automation, the company is essentially putting the pieces in place to build a better brokerage platform for its clients as well as its advisors. This technology will provide the competitive advantage and enhanced scalability necessary to remain a front-runner in the industry.

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IT Process Automation Survival Guide

Why Did You Get Into IT? What First Drew You To This Field?


Why Did You Get Into IT What First Drew You To This FieldFor me, it was the sense of amazement at how computers could relieve people of manual work assignments that would be better described asmonotonous drudgery.

In the early 80’s, the classic example of this drudgery was manually recreating an entire financial model on paper to accommodate fluctuating interest rates, varying inflation rates, or some other variable that had a ripple effect on all the numbers.  Depending on the size of the financial model, the variable in question could generate hours (or days) of hand recalculations to produce just one alternative version.  And of course, all this work was done with pencil & a calculator.

Then along came the electronic spreadsheet, and suddenly, real-time what-if analysis was a reality, enabling financial analysts everywhere to ditch their pencils & calculators for PCs & software.  Spreadsheets not only saved people enormous amounts of time, they made it easy to instantly see the results of changed values, which led to a lot more what-if analysis, and presumably better informed decision-making.  In other words, spreadsheets freed up people to focus on more challenging, strategic, and intellectually stimulating work. It’s long forgotten now, but back then, this value proposition changed people’s perceptions of PC’s from “nice to haves” to “must haves”.

To this day, the IT field continues producing products that free up people from grinding gruntwork so they can focus on more important matters.

One area of IT benefiting from a surge of gruntwork-eliminating innovation is the data center.  Classic data center activities such as network monitoring, virtualization, security operations, help desk, and many other tasks are all being significantly automated today by a class of software called IT Process Automation (ITPA).  ITPA takes the routine, repetitive IT tasks that techies secretly despise, and automates them, eliminating wasted time, errors, inconsistency, and costs associated with performing those functions manually.  As a result, freed up technicians are able to finally focus on more complicated back-burnered issues, making much better use of their skill sets, and leaving them feeling far more fulfilled with their jobs.

When I watch seasoned data center veterans with 20-30+ years of experience get their first glimpse of ITPA in action, their sense of amazement rivals my own from seeing a spreadsheet the first time.  Most data center operators have no idea that automation for their domain has become so robust, and yet so easy to use.

I suspect that after all these years, the amazement at computers relieving people of manual, monotonous, drudge work will continue drawing people to this field. IT process automation is the “must have” for today’s data centers, and promises to do for techies what spreadsheets did for financial analysts.

What could IT process automation do for your organization? The best way to find out is to give it a try! Download a free 30 day trial today to get started.


Guy NadiviAbout the Author: Guy Nadivi, the Director of Business Development for Ayehu, has previously authored articles on business and technical topics for media outlets such as Forbes & The Jerusalem Post.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide