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RPA Checkpoints

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Five Questions to Maximize Your Investment in RPA Solutions

by Percy G. Johnson, Jr, Vice President Agile Solutions

Automation in the financial services sector has moved from the realm of theoretical discussion to being an attractive solution for many of the check points that banks, lenders, and other financial organizations have experienced for years.

There is a land rush towards implementing new breakthrough Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software/solutions that promise efficient automation performed by an army of bots that will free up precious time for employees to engage in more creative and valuable work. At AI Foundry, we are driving advancements in RPA software to enable customers to achieve these goals.

It’s ironic that RPA has been around for at least twenty years, but is hot again thanks to the powerful combination of Cloud computing, mobile devices, and big data, and a whole new framework for RPA to operate within.

But is it right for what you need in your organization right now? What’s the cost compared to traditional Business Process Management (BPM) tools? Will it solve the problems that are holding you back? Or do you need to step back and begin by taking a wider view of your organization’s working architecture to access how you can better integrate people and processes before you invest? To make the best decisions, I would suggest that you first critically evaluate your organization’s business practices to see how RPA could apply and where the low hanging fruit resides.

RPA in the Financial Sector
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the concepts of robotics and ‘invisible’ software solutions. When you break it down to its fundamentals, RPA “enables you with software tools to create your own software robots to automate any business process.”

You assign a task, or a series of tasks, to the bot, and it will perform them, day in and day out. Sounds ideal for many of the mundane, repetitive tasks that are part of everyday life in the financial sector.

Gigabit magazine has a nice write-up on where RPA could impact the financial services sector and identified a few key areas:

  • "In a bank, RPA has the potential to reduce the number of operational errors;
  • increase efficiency as robots can operate 24*7;
  • reduce costs as all the people involved in the manual processes can be replaced by a single programmed bot;
  • add scalability, as the number of bots can be increased or decreased based on operational volume needs;
  • increase customer satisfaction due to a faster turnaround;
  • and improve accountability as the audit logs of robot operations would be constantly available.”

Before jumping into acquiring and implementing an RPA solution, you may want to engage your CIO and ask a series of questions that will help you determine if RPA is the best way to slay the dragon.

5 Important Checkpoints

  1. Is the process that you are trying to automate a “standalone” process that interacts with only a single system? – “If it an’t broke don’t fix it”, as T. Bert Lance would say. RPA should provide benefits throughout your entire system. Be clear about the repercussions of RPA and how it will integrate and enhance all the interconnected processes.
  2. Are you trying to automate a process to avoid replacing or scaling the system involved? - You cannot afford to view RPA as a quick fix for a system that you have outgrown. Have an open and honest discussion about existing processes and the limits of the underlying software.
  3. Are you trying to replace a process that you have already outsourced to a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company thinking you can bring it in-house using RPA as the enabler? - On the one hand, successful RPA should definitely lower your costs; on the other hand, you should consider that it may require you to introduce a new layer of support staff across multiple geos.
  4. Are the documents/data used in a process already complete or will they be manually augmented? - One of the principal benefits of RPA is that it frees up employees to devote more of their time to complex, customer-facing operations and leaves the repetitive tasks “to the robots.” Be aware that if your RPA implementation is working off manually-entered data, then it is likely that some errors will be introduced into the system and they will be hard to root out later. Manual data entry or transposition errors are the bane of system throughput and customer experience.
  5. Should RPA be implemented or should one or more processes just be eliminated? – Probably both.

If you can both reduce the number of processes and highly automate the remaining processes through RPA, then you will have achieved the optimum result from any lens: expense, throughput, ROI, customer experience, and smaller supporting headcount.
Advancements in technology are moving at a rapid pace. In the not-too-distant future, Artificial Intelligence will feel like a part of our lives that we could never live without. It will be able to configure RPA software with an accuracy and attention to detail that goes way beyond human capabilities. It will have a marked impact on processes such as loan origination, fulfillment, post-closing, and servicing at reputable financial institutions.

But we are not there quite yet. For now, the software needs to be configured by people operating within the confines of your current systems and structures. Before you invest in RPA software/solutions, make certain that your information, people, and processes are well-integrated to achieve a streamlined, effective organization, then you will reap the maximum benefit.

Taking a broad view of your end-to-end system and the incorporated processes is a vital first step in meeting the challenges of the digital economy. Focus on customer expectations as the center of your universe and work on providing a faster, more interactive way of doing business. When you get that right, then you are ready to implement RPA.

Find out more about AI Foundry’s Agile Lending and Agile Mortgage solutions and what they can do for your enterprise, or request a demonstration on how our business models can transform the ways that you work.