Telia

Automating FX and Loan Order Flows
with Office 365 and OmniFi

Telia enhances control, efficiency and transparency with support from SkySparc

Challenge

Prevailing trends in the telecoms sector – shrinking margins, intensifying competition and growing capital expenditure (e.g. for 5G infrastructure) – demand that firms such as Telia cut costs on a continual basis.

To improve efficiency and reduce costs in the treasury, the firm’s treasury operations team undertook an ongoing and multi-faceted program to increase process automation.

Since 2015, the team has sought to accelerate treasury process efficiency using: manual process improvement to optimize the performance of incumbent systems; increasing use of robotic process automation, in both finance and procurement; adoption of new applications and interfaces around its core TMS; and deployment of SkySparc’s OmniFi tool to automate treasury processes.

When identifying possible workflows for automation, the treasury operations team also consider time savings, implementation schedules, and operational risks to ensure all projects are cost-effective and largely handled using in-house resources.

“We know artificial intelligence and machine learning will revolutionize how business is done, including in the treasury. By relying now on our own efforts to semi-automate and streamline existing workflows, we should be in a good position when the real revolution in treasury automation begins,” says Skoglar.

As part of this ongoing treasury automation program, Telia’s treasury operations team sought to create a standardized, transparent and simplified processing of intercompany FX and loan orders.

The firm’s FX and loan order flows had been very manual and reliant on spreadsheets sent across the company. Communication of orders was via multiple emails between the front-office team and various subsidiaries.

This email-driven workflow did not generate adequate audit trails, making it hard for external auditors to understand why, how and by whom orders had been generated.

Many processes that were previously highly manual, we have been able to streamline with OmniFi.

Johan Skoglar, Solution Manager for Treasury Systems, Telia Company

Solution

Starting from the principle of utilizing existing resources, the treasury operations team explored the process automation potential of Telia’s Office 365 implementation. As a tool for automating a multi-stage workflow involving multiple parties across a company, Office 365 had several advantages, including universal access and familiarity. Adopted as a strategic solution by Telia, Office 365 was also scalable, reliable, secure and benefitting from long-term support and expertise, meaning there would be scope to expand a workflow solution in future.

To establish a standardized way to capture FX and loan orders, the treasury operations team first built a treasury site using SharePoint. Any qualified employee from a subsidiary could use the site to order an FX forward, for example. Control of eligibility allowed treasury staff to develop a user group to share information individually about a particular order, or collectively about new functionality.

Once an order is submitted, named approvers in the front office are informed via an email containing all the information needed for order approval or rejection. If approved, the requester is notified and the order is listed as approved on the SharePoint site, for tracking and auditability.

Initially, the order information was copy-and-pasted by a treasury team member into the TMS, marked either for internal execution (if a simple trade in an operating currency) or routed to a third-party FX platform, with a confirmation sent to the subsidiary. Post-execution, the rate is communicated, the funds transferred and the back-office signs off the transaction.

This process is already substantially more traceable and efficient than previously. But Skoglar intends to further minimize operational risks and achieve full automation, by using OmniFi to integrate Office 365 with the TMS.

“Ideally, the treasury site should be our common platform within the organization. Rather than sending information via an email list, we should just broadcast it, apart from any confidential information which need only be shared with a few,” he explains.

The OmniFi Access API is expressly designed to embed OmniFi’s data integration capabilities into any platforms interfacing with a TMS. In fact, OmniFi Access covers all OmniFi functionality relevant to automation, pushing data in and out and email distribution. As such, Telia’s FX and loan order flow can be fully automated via OmniFi with minimal coding or IT resources.

“We could also build in further checks, for example checking whether the person who captured the order is eligible to perform the task. It would also be possible to send an email in the event of an execution failure, including reason, using Power Automate,” says Skoglar, noting also the potential to develop rules-based routing capabilities, for example automatically sending an FX order for execution based on currency or value.

Using OmniFi Access, I could connect risk limits from our TMS to the Sharepoint site, then trigger a workflow to send me a text or email, when a certain limit is reached. This level of customization lets the user decide how to absorb information from the TMS.

Johan Skoglar, Solution Manager for Treasury Systems, Telia Company

Result

Telia’s SharePoint-based treasury site has already achieved notable efficiency gains at low cost, with respect to intercompany FX and loan orders. The process is now highly streamlined and transparent, but there is much further potential to be explored.

“Our approach won’t necessarily work for everyone, especially if particularly high volume, but for us this has proved to be a very good solution, in terms of a cost/benefit analysis,” says Skoglar.

Beyond the core challenge of automating FX and loan order flows, it will be possible to integrate the treasury site with other applications via Office 365’s Power Automate connectors, for example the digital signature services which became essential under pandemic lockdown conditions.

Skoglar sees a range of potential benefits from the OmniFi-enabled connectivity of Telia’s treasury site, including integration with data mining tools or customized triggers via communication channels. “Using OmniFi Access, I could connect risk limits from our TMS to the Sharepoint site, then trigger a workflow to send me a text or email, when a certain limit is reached. This level of customization lets the user decide how to absorb information from the TMS,” he explains.