NOWADAYS the word “fintech” is popular and well known in the financial services industry (FSI). It introduces new technologies to make financial services more accessible to the general public but it also disrupts the traditional financial services in the sector.
The key advantages of fintech companies is that they can offer fast, easy, convenient and better user experiences.
Therefore, companies in the FSI sector needed to adapt themselves to respond to the rapid changes in both financial technology and the rise of fintech startups. The ways that FSI companies can cope with these challenges are either forming a partnership with these fintech companies or innovating internally through developing their own financial technology and implementing more automated and streamlined process to drive better business outcomes.
One of interesting technologies to enhance the tasks and process automation is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). What is RPA? RPA is simply a software solution that mimics a variety of rules-based, repeatable processes that do not require real-time judgement.
The benefits of RPA are to perform a task faster than a person can (operational efficiency), have high productivity with minimal error rate (accuracy), offer flexibility to work 24 hours (flexibility and scalability) and lower cost than a full time employee (cost effective).
Moreover, RPA can also perform simple to complex processes without interruption, and has been identified as one of the technology which could respond to workforce issues facing FSI, such as the shortage of high talent individual and retention of existing human capital in banking and securities.
It is clear that robots cannot replace highly talented human but they could help our valuable resource to focus on the important and critical tasks, and leave the robots do the repetitive or routine tasks.
To implement RPA successfully, the following steps can be used as guidance:
Justify cost: The first thing needed to consider when a company plans to implement RPA is to justify the feasibility of RPA investment. The common key components are software cost (including licence, assessment and implementation cost) and full time employee (FTE) value (representing how many full time employee you can be replaced by a robot). The successful implementation of RPA depends on the balance between the software cost and the full time employee (FTE) it replaced.
Find automation areas: The next step is to identify how RPA will improve the whole organisation. At this stage, the external consultants may require to help the company in reviewing the business process to identify the improvement opportunities. The focus is on finding areas where human have to do repetitive work where no thinking or judgmental is required.
Software selection: Currently, there are many RPA software in the market. However, there is no one software that is suitable for every automation scenario. To ensure the best RPA software selection, a company should consider the following factors: having trail version to use, availability of developed templates for deployment, training and support from the software vendor, and offering to do a Proof of Concept (POC) to have a clear picture before implementation.
Design automation workflow: At this stage, the company needs to design the automation workflow. To achieve this activities, the business owner and relevant stakeholders, eg risk management and internal audit, should be involved to ensure that automated operation will comply with industry standard and regulation, especially the highly regulated industry like FSI, resources are effectively utilised, benefit are realised and risks are mitigated.
RPA implementation and testing: This final stage is similar to other software implementation project so the companies can follow their own project management or software development approach. As RPA is a fairly new technology trend, Agile development is the recommended approach. It encourage programme to be developed and tested by user as soon as possible to ensure that users will be timely involved and get the result as expected despite of some differences from the original design.
In conclusion, RPA helps companies in the FSI sector to better perform business process transformation and to develop innovations. It offers the solution to perform tasks in a more effective way at lower operating cost as well as raising productivity and the level of accuracy.
Contributed by SOMKRIT KRISHNAMRA, partner, Risk Advisory Services, Deloitte Thailand