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Sponsored statement

Embracing a new era

in digital trade finance
The age of digitalisation and automation is rapidly making its mark
on trade. However, banks still have some way to go before they are
positioned to make the most of technological advancements.

GI believes that being digitally is going digital,” Carswell notes, “is that would be a near elimination of manual
connected to customers is while trade finance banks’ processes efforts to extract data from documents.
essential, but digitisation must are still manually-intensive, human This will be accomplished via automated
go beyond that to exploit intervention can be significantly reduced feeds for compliance/anti-money
the benefits of intelligent data capture, or eliminated by employing the right laundering (AML), greater straight-
robotics, artificial intelligence, predictive intelligent, digital technologies.” through transaction processing and by
analytics and a host of other emerging enabling ‘smart’ workers to become
technologies in order to radically redesign highly productive.
banks’ internal processes. This evolution is not without some
Increasingly, corporate buyers “Our intent is to rapidly move significant challenges. Some of these
and sellers are using the latest digital the qualified use cases technologies have been successfully applied
platforms and technologies to generate through proof of concept in other domains, yielding dramatic cost
efficiencies; speed up their trade savings. However, trade finance will be
processes; eliminate the need for manual (PoC) and pilot phases within more difficult and the technologies may
paperwork and enhance collaboration in our Trade Innovation Lab need to mature further to fully support
a digitised environment with their trading and then into production.” a robust set of requirements. It will take
counterparties, including their banks. time for mass adoption and to fully realise
Rory Kaplan, CGI
The big question will be how can envisioned outcomes.
corporations and banks take full “The place to start,” says Carswell,
advantage of the digital data that will be “is developing a broad vision of the end-
provided by these technologies, especially He explains that, for example, state that will provide the context for a
ones which are sophisticated and intelligent data capture, which is facilitated step-by-step evolution, thereby allowing
facilitated via advancement in intelligent via the application of natural language banks to capture the benefits that are
process automation (IPA). processing and machine learning, may possible to be obtained in the near term.
“Trade finance is going digital in two convert standard documents into digital This requires an understanding of the
main ways. The first is via corporate-to- data and enable robotics to perform current processes, its pain points, and the
corporate collaborative platforms enabling repeatable tasks. In a like manner, artificial capabilities of the new technologies in
buyers and sellers to trade digitally,” intelligence may be leveraged to drive order to successfully position and launch
says Kitt Carswell, vice-president, senior straight-through processing or to assist a a strategic initiative.
offering manager at CGI. Here he ‘smart’ human worker. In fact, automating These new technologies include:
identifies Bolero and essDocs as being tasks and making “smart” workers highly ●● Intelligent data capture – highly

established examples of corporate-to- productive improves the quality and speed improved document data extraction
corporate platforms, with distributed of service as well as dramatically reducing utilising natural language processing
ledger solutions now representing an costs for trade finance banks. and machine learning;
emerging alternative corporate-to- “The greatest benefits will be ●● Robotic process automation (RPA)

corporate collaboration platform. “By achieved by the combination of digital – this automates repeatable tasks;
plugging into these new digital platforms, interoperability between the bank and ●● Artificial intelligence (AI) – deep

banks will take an important step forward external parties, plus the ‘intelligent’ learning and data analytics to perform
by establishing digital input and outputs automation of its internal processes,” or assist in the performance of
to its internal processes.” says Carswell. processing;
However, today, even with significant Intelligent process automation (IPA) is ●● Machine learning – a form of AI, used

automation, banks’ internal trade finance a whole new era of emerging technologies in various ways to ‘teach’ a machine;
processes still require much operational which promise the ability to radically ●● Predictive analytics – Utilising AI,

effort and deep domain expertise. redesign and automate today’s workflows machine learning and algorithms to
“The second way that trade finance and processes. The expected outcome propose a solution/recommendation.

50 | Global Trade Review www.gtreview.com

Sponsored statement

Digital Transformation of Trade

In channels Smart workflow Out channels

Non-digital Autonomous

Transaction-ready data
Intelligent transaction processing Non-digital
data capture e.g., STP, AI
e.g. paper, channels
(non-digital to digital)
images, etc.
Smart worker
transaction processing
Digital e.g., AI assisted
channels Robotic processes Digital
e.g., enrich data, Ancillary processes channels
e.g. Portals, Swift,
feed other systems
Bolero, essDocs, DLT e.g., Compliance AML

Data analytics

Carswell says: “The time to start is now and other relevant products and services and human decision making – things that the
CGI and its CGI Trade360 client banks grow the relationship,” he says. machine may not be capable of handling.
are working together to identify process He goes on to explain that the use of Nonetheless, human and machine work
improvement use cases and explore the machine learning techniques to add value together and, over time, more and more
available technologies to implement them. to the customer’s experience and journey activities can be handled automatically or
“Our intent is to rapidly move the is already widespread and evidenced in the are automatically assisted by the machine.
qualified use cases through proof of consumer market. In the music world, for “By providing human workers with better
concept (PoC) and pilot phases within example, Spotify observes consumer users’ tools to do their job and improving their
our Trade Innovation Lab and then into music streaming habits and then uses this understanding of a client’s trade finance
production,” adds Rory Kaplan, CGI’s information to put together music playlists business, a machine can improve their
director and offering manager. “The huge for them, based on their preferences. decision making, too,” says Kaplan.
potential for faster, better, less risky and Google and Amazon are already taking “And RPA can be especially effective in
less costly processing has generated a advantage of machine learning techniques automating repetitive, manual tasks.”
huge amount of interest with our client to get a better idea of ‘customer likes’
banks, with a desire to move forward so that they can present appropriate The next generation of
quickly.” products based on those ‘likes’. trade finance workers
“There are many financial services Carswell believes that in the broader
Taking digitalisation further offered by banks where the observation working world there are some suggestions
However, the ultimate benefits of of client behaviour – and the advanced that machine learning techniques could
digitalisation and IPA for trade finance analysis of that behaviour via machine see robots replace human workers.
banks do not stop at automating existing learning – can help banks make better However, he explains that this may
processes and reducing the need for recommendations and present relevant, only be partially the case for the trade
manual intervention. Banks can look to appropriate, additional products to that finance industry.
automating the transaction processes, client,” says Kaplan. “In the trade finance world, there is
but the real opportunity is to exploit the CGI is looking to position itself at a notable shortage of people who can
massive amounts of data that will be the forefront of emerging technology take the place of retiring workers,” he
captured. developments and is currently looking to says. “This is because trade finance as a
Kaplan explains that improvements to set up use cases to test advanced analytics profession is generally not proving to be
forecasting, which have emanated from related to trade finance. very attractive to the younger generation
AI and machine learning techniques, “You can teach a machine to conduct because it is so manually intensive and
can put banks in a better position to trade finance tasks, previously handled often considered to be ‘old-fashioned’,
add value to the services that they offer by human workers, such as the document which is resulting in a scarcity of trade
to their clients. Improved analytics and examination, by allowing it to watch how resources.”
forecasting can help them identify new cases are handled by those workers,” says “However, with the introduction of
cross-selling opportunities and grow their Kaplan. He adds that this is achieved automated processes into trade finance and
client relationships. by the machine observing a human by eliminating the manual, more onerous
“By deploying machine learning trade finance worker in real time or by tasks associated with trade finance, it
techniques, banks can put themselves consuming historical transaction data. might be possible to attract talented,
in an improved position to better identify As a result, the sophisticated machine recent graduates with finance majors.
different trends within a corporate client’s can assist the worker by anticipating “If you can automate what is clerical,
trade finance business and develop a the examination results and guiding the along with digitalising and streamlining
better perspective on where that client’s worker through its reasoning. The worker the end-to-end work process via smart
trade business is going. The bank can then thereby becomes a smart worker, one worker roles, you can make trade a much
use this improved information to make who is tasked to handle the more complex more attractive profession to the younger
recommendations to that client, present things that require the highest levels of generation,” he says.

www.gtreview.com Q4 2017 | 51