By Candice Nonas, Managing Consultant, RGP.
When it comes to using robotic process automation to support the resolution and recovery planning process, what are you seeing in the industry?
Actually, I see a great opportunity to apply this technology to processes in the bank that are implemented to make it more resolvable. When I speak to banks about using RPA in RRP, even the ones that are on the forefront of adopting fintech, regtech, have built innovation labs and centers of excellence, I get such a large variety of responses. On one end of the spectrum I hear that the use of RPA in the bank originated with an RRP activity and at the other end I hear frustration around still taking a manual approach to repetitive processes. What is clear is that in most cases RPA is not fully realized in all areas of the bank and hasn’t migrated to RRP processes in every case.
Do you think that part of the problem is that not everyone understands RPA and therefore can’t imagine or realize its full potential?
I think that has a lot to do with it. The first thing to realize is that in banking and finance when we talk about a robot or “bots” we are not talking about a physical robot like you would see on the assembly floor of a car manufacturer. A bot is configurable software that sits on top of a bank’s existing IT infrastructure, pulling data, executing on algorithms, and creating reports. A bot is programmed to complete the same process steps, follow the business rules, and use the same systems that a human does today.
What advice would you give to a leader that is trying to start or further the discussion around implementing or expanding RPA at their bank?
Sometimes it is easier if you are a profit center to have conversations about innovation and expansion. But even as a cost center you can articulate the value proposition. The first advice we give is get the right people around the table. The second is to get a trusted advisor or partner to help develop an RPA strategy. There are 5 simple steps: 1. assess the automation opportunities in the entire bank or financial institution; 2. clearly understand and build your business case; 3. determine the optimal operating model that is going to work for your firm; 4. even if you decide to build an innovation lab, it’s a good idea to identify automation partners; and 5. layout and plan your automation roadmap.
The initial implementation of RPA can happen in weeks and typically delivers a ROI north of 5:1 and often the investment is recouped in the first year. Tell stakeholders about the value proposition of RPA like reducing operation cost, increasing productivity and increasing security. That will appeal to the COO, CFO and the CIO. As for the CEO and CHRO RPA will allow you to deliver better product and service to your customers while at the same time moving valuable human capital from repetitive tasks to higher functioning ones.
Can you tell us more about the evaluation process that you go through to decide if RPA is good for a particular process?
So I look at a function and I think how many processes can be automated with RPA and then what is the ROI on that automation. For human resources that would be on boarding, off boarding, payroll resume screening and matching; in the procurement space RPA can be used for vendor set up, requisitions, purchase orders and invoice processing. Bots are super proficient and efficient, they virtually eliminate process errors, there is an exception handling protocol and they facilitate reporting and auditing because every action a bot takes is recorded.