One of the key features of modern banks that come across loud and clear in any submission to the AFTAs is the extraordinary scale that the most successful institutions operate at. The numbers that are tossed around casually by operations staff, in particular, are often the most remarkable for their sheer size—and, for those staff in question, their enormity.
Take Barclays Global Market Operations (GMO) as an example. The unit looks after around 40 exceptions processes—which the bank says are mostly structured in Microsoft Excel—which in turn generates 5 million monthly emails. As if that number wasn’t large enough, try this on for size: The unit is also tasked with processing around 300,000 exceptions on a daily basis. Simply handling this in spreadsheets isn’t an option. For this, Barclays needed Delphi. Working with the Technology unit, GMO helped develop a platform designed to reduce Excel dependency and email generation, while enhancing transparency in decision-making—after discovering that, frankly, there wasn’t much available off the shelf.
“Delphi was conceptualized after a series of risk events within GMO with the management team not having clear transparency over risks and action owners,” says Asis Tewari, vice president, strategy and optimization at Barclays Investment Bank. “We started speaking about due diligence capabilities with vendors and platform providers to resolve this issue. What was clear was that there is a glaring gap in the industry on exception management platforms specifically for investment banking. Delphi started as a pilot to address four different exception management use-cases and easy onboarding allowed for new types of exceptions to be onboarded quickly.”
It integrates both home-grown technologies, such as an Angular5 grid, with external tech, including Tableau dashboard architecture, all predicated on Agile development and delivery, with the ability to onboard three distinct types of exceptions per day. “As we had a chance to build and design this product from scratch, it provided a blank canvas for us to incorporate design principles and layout, from the analysts on the ground up to the leadership team. The key objective is to drive operational excellence via efficient risk management by introducing behavioral and cultural change on the platform,” says Tewari.
The growth of Delphi within Barclays has been impressive, with a demand list of over 100 further types of exceptions for on boarding. The platform is set to eliminate costs of over £2.4 million and remove over 400 internal applications. Looking ahead, the bank says it sees applications for Delphi’s continued growth, by expanding into segments such as managed services oversight, investor transparency, and as a platform for a modular operations management team.
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