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Leveraging Intelligent Automation to Enhance KYC

Know Your Customer (KYC) is complex. The acronym soup associated with staying compliant is enough to give anyone a headache. CDD, AML, PEP, etc. This is all without mentioning the constant threat of fines looming over your business. Additionally, juggling customer frustration due to KYC bottlenecks can result in lost business as frustrated clients turn elsewhere. Having a robust and comprehensive KYC system is paramount for avoiding mistakes and preventing bad actors from gaining access to your financial institution.

The good news is that there are solutions on the market to aid in these efforts. But how do you determine which ones will truly propel your business forward among the myriad of products that only solve part of the problem or, even worse, force you into a major undertaking only to realize your endeavor is not viable?

If you’re reading this, you have likely been exposed to the complexities of the landscape. You may have invested in digitizing part of your process. But when you observe key metrics such as your Net Promoter Score or cost submitted to FinCen for failure to comply, you recognize a vast improvement opportunity.

Even when key decision-makers seem to have a complete understanding of what must be done to solve KYC, they must act quickly. With COVID, the demand for virtual services has skyrocketed. Most applicants are no longer willing to run down to a local branch to have some documents reviewed, while another provider can complete the entire handshake online. We have also seen a massive uptick in fraud in the financial services world through fraudulent PPP loans and other under-regulated lending products. Challenging scenarios where regulators take an interest can vastly impede your throughput, translating to missed SLAs and lost customers.

It’s likely that whatever steps you’ve taken are in the right direction. For example, onboarding a tool to simplify ID verification is undoubtedly a positive change on a painful point of the process. But this gained efficiency can easily lead to a pile-up at the next step, creating new constraints rather than eliminating existing ones.

Widening one of your bottlenecks doesn’t guarantee a smooth transaction. But what does? If digitization is a half-measure, let’s talk about what qualifies as the complete package.

The first step is making sure that your solution lives on a platform capable of handling a wide range of issues. You vastly increase ROI when your investment is compounded over time rather than pursuing a one-and-done upgrade. For this purpose, we recommend using Appian. The platform is fully capable of everything that follows, but some highlights are that it:

  • Is incredibly fast to implement

  • Seamlessly integrates with even the most complex tech landscapes

  • Offers a unified experience for both internal and external users

This enables you to keep pace with ever-evolving compliance mandates.

By leveraging the power of Appian, Macedon has successfully implemented the following features, and many more, for our various financial services clients seeking to improve their KYC processes.

Dynamic Question Bank

A major pain point for many of our clients is keeping up with regulatory shifts that require gathering new and different information. The simplest option of adding any new criteria to your existing forms is a recipe for redundancy and will just drag out onboarding. Many questions only need to be asked under unique circumstances, and you don’t want to force every customer through needless interrogation. In order to implement changes like these, it often requires bringing in developers to apply complex solutions for what seems like a simple alteration.

Our approach streamlines this entire process. We put the power in the hands of your non-technical users. Your subject matter experts on KYC should be the ones dictating the questions asked of your customers and their presentation. With our Appian implementation, power users can apply front-end tools to configure the structure of their questionnaires with no need to dig into the codebase. This means you can quickly adapt to regulatory change while presenting dynamic interfaces that only display necessary questions.

With the same toolbox, you can also ensure that onboarding processes are short-circuited if key high-risk questions are answered in the affirmative. Your agents can then sideline these applications and avoid any extra effort associated with an account expected never to open or to accelerate enhanced due diligence when necessary. This will save you valuable time and resources that can be expended elsewhere.

Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation is an umbrella term for a category of process enhancement tools and the way they are woven together. It can include things like Business Process Management (BPM), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Process Mining, and more. When properly applied, these methods can reduce human error, efficiently distribute work, reveal hidden opportunities, and generally improve your organization's productivity. In context, here are some ways we have applied these techniques for our KYC clients:

Intelligent Tasking

The majority of on-boarded accounts will not be the restrictively high-risk edge cases handled by some of the previously mentioned scenarios, but many require some sort of review. To accelerate these processes, it is most important to assign the work to the right team member as promptly as possible.

Intelligent Tasking considers your agents’ current workload, their skills, and the priority of work to ensure that the most important tasks are completed by the best candidate with the fastest turnaround.

Additionally, the configuration of any rules around task routing can be performed from the front end by an administrator rather than bringing back the development team to make a simple change. They can take actions like adding new skill sets for individuals or changing maximum workloads. With this fine level of control, it is easy to adapt to fluctuations in customer flow or the experience level of your teams.

Active Monitoring

KYC is not complete after the initial interaction of onboarding. It is a living process that requires recertification at various intervals. This can take place months or years after the initial data collection and require the manual creation of investigations or the revival of archived information. By automating the tasks associated with recertifying your clients and maintaining a reliable audit trail in the same system, you can ensure consistency across all entry points to your KYC process.


It’s worth noting that KYC is just one of many touch points with your clients. You want to ensure the experience is smooth and pleasant but also that you get the most out of every interaction. While you have your customer on your website, phone, or in your offices, it is a great opportunity to upsell additional services. Integrating with any available pre-qualification tools can open the door to onboarding new products seamlessly and simultaneously. Why double the effort when you’re already collecting data?

This speaks to the ease of integration between your extended tech stack and Appian. If you have already invested in report visualization or AI capabilities, they can be accessed directly by Appian to both display pertinent data and make key business decisions about routing the accounts in question to the correct audience. You don’t want your internal users to be forced to switch between several different applications just to make one move. We focus on reducing silos rather than just modernizing your existing systems. A centralized system is significantly easier to use and drastically improves throughput.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few examples of how we have enhanced the KYC process for our customers, but the best part of using a platform like Appian is that we are not limited to off-the-shelf modules. All of these efforts have been crafted through conversations between our developers and clients. And the same can be said for your future projects. We’d be happy to set up a conversation or a demonstration to help you navigate the improvements to your workflows.

For more information about our KYC solution, check it out on Appian’s AppMarket.


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