RPA in Banking

When you put a robot at the helm of automation

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From Robocop through the Terminator to cute little WALL∙E, robots often appeal to the imagination. So, adding robots to process automation can get many people excited. Robotic Process Automation or RPA is definitely a growing trend. But is it really the future of the banking industry or is it just a fad destined to wither and disappear? We’ve already figured out that AI can lead to happy customers when you apply it to your mailroom or onboarding processes, so can RPA too? Read on as we give our view on RPA.

What is RPA?

In the traditional scenario, a software developer creates a list of actions needed to automate a certain task. He or she then uses APIs to interface with the back-end systems. It gets the job done, but requires a lot of manual development. An RPA system, however, puts robots in charge.

Unfortunately, you won’t get a cute little Zora or Pepper sitting next to your development team. Instead, a software robot follows what a user does when performing the task the robot will automate. This program then creates an action list independently and automates the task by mimicking these actions. Moreover, it does all this in the graphical user interface or GUI – what you see on the screen as a user – which reduces the barrier for automation as you don’t need APIs. With less manual coding and human intervention needed, RPA is a quick and easy way of automating your processes.

How can RPA help the banking industry?

Quite possibly the most obvious answer is that RPA can greatly streamline the back-office. Often this results in faster, better, and more efficient services. Something that’s key in an increasingly competitive space where the main differentiator for banks is user experience. For instance, integrating RPA into your account onboarding can transform a time-consuming and cumbersome process into a quick and satisfying experience. Or RPA bots can take the brunt of tedious mail indexation. Via high-level business rules, they can, for instance, attach mails to dossiers based on the email addresses on the file.

But the benefits of RPA in the banking industry go beyond just improved services. With automated fraud detection and prevention, and validation of customer data you’re ensured a higher degree of compliance. “But how?” you might ask. Because letting the robots take over reduces human error. “To err is human,” wrote Alexander Pope in his Essay on Criticism. So, when you have to handle the copious amounts of data that bank employees have to, mistakes are inevitable. With banks spending more than 350 million euros per year to ensure KYC process compliance, according to Thomson Reuters, reducing human involvement – and therefore error – through RPA is their Holy Grail.

RPA: fad or the future?

The promise of less work to automate mailroom and onboarding processes, the low price tag and the advantages it can potentially bring, make RPA very appealing to many companies. So, its rise in popularity is understandable. Major banks such as Axis Bank, BNY Mellon, Danske Bank, and Deutsche Bank have all made the news with their implementations of RPA. There are many great arguments to be made for RPA, but it’s not really automation. It’s just software performing manual actions to do a certain task for you. It doesn’t automate the origin of the task and it doesn’t solve the question of why this manual action was necessary in the first place. Moreover, when push comes to shove, we believe Robotic Process Automation is just too limited in what it can do.

Then is it just a fad that holds little significance? Yes and no. We don’t think current RPA systems will have a long shelf-life. But the concept is interesting. There’s more value in its spiritual successor RPA 2.0, where you add intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence. Before long, this smart RPA will become a household staple in many companies. That’s when the technology will give you happy customers. So yes, it’s a fad in its current state, but an intelligent makeover can turn this fad into your future.

RPA 2.0 is what we call IPA. We’ve written an entire blog on it for your reading pleasure. So click the button and learn all about it.

Implementing RPA 2.0 can be a struggle for many companies as it requires specialized knowledge. Luckily, Docbyte has that knowledge in abundance! Contact our experts today and upgrade your process automation.