Robotic Process Automation (RPA) within the banking industry has evolved from a futuristic discussion at trade shows to a robust enabling technology; one that lowers operating expense and raises productivity.
According to Gartner, RPA and bots act in the following way:
“RPA automates repetitive human tasks by emulating the same human transaction steps, mainly via orchestrated UI [User Interface] interactions. An RPA tool operates by deploying software script that emulates a human process/task within a workflow. The runtime executable of the RPA script is commonly referred to as ‘robot’ or ‘bot.’”
In a recent report, Forrester noted that, “RPA market revenue is on target to meet Forrester’s estimate of $2.9 billion in 2021.”
The banking industry is a prime target for RPA and the automation that bots provide. Automating labor-intensive processes enables financial services organizations to realize time savings, leverage scarce resources, and focus on creating unique customer experiences – while eliminating redundant work and tedious tasks.
Key elements to advance RPA
Community and regional banks can take advantage of the benefits RPA provides by partnering with their banking technology provider. Such a partner should offer automation defined and developed with the knowledge and experience derived from servicing the banking industry. The bots they provide should be designed and integrated in a way that provides the financial institution with significant, on-going benefits.
Moreover, the RPA solutions should be sustainable – which means that as the bank’s core applications technology changes, it must be automatically updated and incorporated into any bots and automated workflows a bank already has in place.
An inventory of banking bots ready to use
A partner in banking RPA should offer bots that are pre-designed and pre-built – and developed from common industry-driven use cases. These bots will offer the financial institution an immediate starting point into RPA. High-level benefits you can expect with each pre-developed bot should help your bank determine whether further exploration and customization is warranted. These ready-to-run-bots can offer a bridgehead into RPA – along with early success – and provide a pathway toward more comprehensive automation.
Skilled subject experts, often a part of an RPA professional services team, should provide a deep understanding of banking processes and RPA technology. These experts can guide customization efforts to create unique bots or position existing bots to meet your bank’s exact business requirements. And the team should help collaborate with bankers regarding what processes to initially automate, enabling the bank to derive the most benefit as rapidly as possible.
As Gartner points out,
“Quite often, automating a bad process can make it worse. It is essential to structure business processes for high performance. This is applicable when automation requires organizations take a new view on key characteristics of processes related to data structure, component delineation, and exceptions.”
Your technology partner’s approach toward RPA and banking workflow automation should consider the following:
- Economies of scale
- API-based interactions
How to plan and exceed expectations for RPA
RPA can positively impact both back-office and customer-facing workflows within a financial institution. The shared RPA experiences of peer organizations can help overcome hesitant bankers’ initial reluctance to implement this labor-saving technology.
Planning and thoughtful design prior to deploying RPA solutions help ensure the automation mimics manual efforts and won’t introduce any unconscious bias into new processes.
Areas within a bank to consider for RPA include: deposit and loan origination, exception processing, credit approvals, and customer service requests.
One bank that recently took this type of deliberative approach to RPA shared the following from their recent experience,
“Our six bots were operational well-within the original 20-week project timeframe. Within the first month, the bots executed roughly 8,000 transactions of various processes. This number soon jumped to 13,000 – far higher than anticipated.
The focus then shifted to monitoring performance and process volumes, to determine whether more were necessary – or would become necessary – down the road.”
Realize the benefits of RPA
- Cost economies – Automation capabilities that deliver true market advantage without the high cost – and without compromising functionality
- Increased efficiencies – Integrating a bank’s existing technology with RPA will substantially increase productivity throughout your organization because RPAs complement your bank’s current technology solutions and client services interactions
- Speed to market – RPAs that are ready off-the-shelf from technology partners can substantially cut development time and effort, and traditional RPA vendors often lack the depth of knowledge to jump-start RPA efforts
A collaborative approach with your core technology provider in any RPA initiative eases the reservations prudent bankers often feel regarding new technology, while providing a conduit for productivity growth – one that helps your bank level the playing field with large, global institutions.