The Workflow Automation Era is Here to Stay 


As workflow automation on the financial desktop continues to gather momentum, we explore the key factors influencing its rising demand and delve into how the financial services community can reap its rewards.  

Workflow Automation Explained  

All apps need to be able to work collaboratively with each other to enable a seamless user experience on the desktop. This is what workflow automation and desktop interoperability stand for.  

In 2023, people live on their cell phones. According to recent data from Rescue Time looking at time spent on smartphones, the average person spends 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phone every day and for years, we have been so used to the frictionless experience we receive there. But why are desktops not working in the same way? It is so natural for users to expect that the applications on their desktops will work in harmony. In today’s digital era, they expect intelligent and integrated desktops that will support, not hinder, their workflows.  

This is where the need for workflow automation and the rise of desktop integration platforms come in. When first introduced, businesses saw desktop integration platforms and the concept around workflow automation as a ‘nice-to-have,’ which will increase efficiency and save time by eliminating minor tasks like copying and pasting and rekeying the same data across different applications. However, the business impact of workflow automation and desktop interoperability expands beyond that. Capital market companies, for example, are increasingly realizing the more significant benefits this offers to their sales, research, and trading teams. Several buy side firms have found out that having all client-related data available in one click can improve trading performance by up to 20%. The ability to effortlessly switch between applications to access the data you need seamlessly is crucial in mission-critical environments like front-office trading. It also helps organizations deliver greater quality service – there is no missing information and no human errors when typing client names or deal details in different applications. 

Workflow Automation in Capital Markets  

The European subsidiary of a global investment bank offering full-service retail, institutional brokerage, retail, and commercial banking services is one of the businesses that have enjoyed the benefits of workflow automation and a solid desktop integration strategy. They wanted to find a solution that will provide traders with the best technology available, with the view to improve user experiences and help the bank gain a competitive advantage. 

Their key goal was to find the best way to simplify trader workflows within and across critical applications such as in-house web systems and third-party Order Management Systems (OMSs). Ultimately, the bank wanted to design a platform for future applications to be built and seamlessly hosted within a consistent user experience. 

With the help of a desktop integration platform – in this case, Glue42 – they managed to accomplish precisely that. Upon implementation, Sales Traders had complete business coverage and were able to hit a greater number of clients. Swivel-chair workflows and the need for double-keying were eliminated, and they started receiving all the information they needed in a single click, and at the point they needed it. The business met its needs and even saw a decrease in costs.  

Desktop interop has the power to significantly improve teams’ trading performance, allowing them to focus on thinking about how they want to trade instead of wasting time scrambling for information. 

The Challenge for Workflow Automation 

So why are not all capital market companies embracing desktop integration if so many benefits come with it, one may ask. The answer to this question is rooted in years of design thinking, which doesn’t match end-users’ needs. As Glue42’s Director of Product Solutions, Reena Raichura, explains, design thinking has always been centered around building applications in isolation. And this continues to be the case today. When built in silos, these applications can’t talk to each other and have various levels of openness to interop. This complicates users’ cross-application journeys, creating unnecessary hassle and delays.  

All of this can result in inefficiencies in mission-critical environments such as front-office trading. There is no reason end-users should be experiencing this in today’s digital world.  

A Look into the Future  

To bring financial institutions and the fintech vendor community together, Glue42’s introduced its Straight-Through Workflows™ (STW) concept – or cross-application workflow automation. It is about allowing data to flow electronically and seamlessly from one application to others on the desktop, regardless of the underlying application technologies. Straight-Through Workflows™ suggests a novel approach to design thinking. It aims to blur the boundaries of applications and take a holistic look at the desktop by analyzing end-to-end business processes, workflows, and user journeys and then design an underlying solution, which will match the needs of end-users, has a significant business impact, and creates the seamless workflow experiences that businesses are demanding. 

In the digital era we live in, the value of an application is determined by the extent to which it can integrate with workflows, data, and platforms. Workflow automation is here to stay, with STW and desktop integration becoming an imperative component of every digital transformation initiative. If it wants to untap the full potential of workflow automation, the financial services community needs to unite in its efforts to solve the desktop interoperability challenge. 

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Author Details

Katina Male

Katina Male is Senior Digital Content Writer at Glue42 - an award-winning desktop integration platform that simplifies user journeys across native and web applications. She began her career as a magazine editor in the UK and has recently embarked on a new adventure in the world of content writing and marketing.

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