workflow automation

The Workflow Automation Era is Here to Stay

Automating actions between applications is what interoperability is all about. Learn how workflow automation is becoming a mainstay across capital markets.

What is workflow automation?

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.

According to recent data from Rescue Time, the average person spends 3 hours and 15 minutes on their smartphone every day. We have become accustomed to the frictionless experience phones provide, but why are desktops not working in the same way? In today’s digital era, users have come to 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 comes in. When first introduced, businesses saw desktop integration platforms and the concept around workflow automation as a ‘nice-to-have,’ not prioritizing the time saved by eliminating minor tasks like copying and pasting and rekeying the same data across different applications. However, use cases evolved and the business impact of workflow automation and desktop interoperability now expands beyond error-elimination. 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 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 – a use case

Who is benefiting from workflow automation? One client example is Stifel – the European subsidiary of a global investment bank offering full-service retail, institutional brokerage, retail, and commercial banking services. 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 (see Stifel case study).

With the help of a desktop integration platform – in this case, – 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.

For this client, the era of workflow automation is here – and it is certainly here to stay.

Desktop interop has empowered them 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. It has also opened exciting new opportunities for innovation and growth— paving the way for future advancements.

The challenge for workflow automation

So why are not all capital market companies embracing desktop interoperability? The answer to this question is rooted in years of design thinking, which doesn’t match end-users’ needs. Design thinking has historically been centered around building applications in isolation. 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.

However, the landscape is shifting. We’re beginning to see a disruption in the status quo, as more firms are now realizing that end-users shouldn’t be experiencing any of this in today’s digital world. It’s time to embrace the power of workflows.

A look into the future

To bring financial institutions and the fintech vendor community together, has introduced the 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. The ultimate objective is to design an underlying solution, which matches the needs of end-users, has a significant business impact, and creates the seamless workflow experiences that businesses demand.

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. STW and desktop interoperability are becoming an imperative component of digital transformation initiatives across the industry. At, we see a future where the financial services community unites in its efforts to solve desktop interoperability challenges and enjoys the countless benefits that will undoubtedly follow.

Related Resources

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