IDC Perspective: Six Capabilities That Advance Financial Services Institutions Toward Intelligent Automation

Now that your companies have decided to start the digital transformation process, the next big step is choosing an appropriate service provider. One part of a recent series of reports from International Data Corporation (IDC) has addressed the six key capabilities that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) services providers should possess. Using these six key competencies when choosing your next service provider will lead to a more positive and favorable result.

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1. Ability to Deliver Desired Business Outcomes

Understanding and identifying key problems and outcomes are necessary when a business decides to pursue a project. These are needed for the companies to develop a plan for achieving the goals and also easier to communicate with the providers. One of the surveys from IDC stated that the ability to deliver desired outcomes is one of the top factors when deciding on automation services providers from the top financial service institutions (FSI) in the Asia-Pacific region. Services providers that have the ability to deliver desired outcomes are the ones that can create a target operating model (TOM), including an automation framework, expected ROI and other benefits, identified risks and costs gaps, defined roles and responsibilities, and risk management and governance structure. These plans need to highlight the feasibility, future scalability, and innovation. Moreover, the commitment to stay with their clients from discovery to implementation is crucial in evaluating providers’ capability.

2. Process Identification and Optimization

One mistake that happened to many businesses is trying to automate everything at once. This creates a drastic change for the companies and could cause many unnecessary disruptions. Businesses should identify a long-term plan for each process that factors in suggestions from bottom-up and top-down. This is where the services providers will come in to give their clients a prioritization matrix, identifying bottlenecks and gaps, determining expected ROI and other benefits.

Not all processes can be automated as is. They need to be redesigned and optimized. However, this process caused many disruptions, costs, and time as it is a systemic enhancement. According to IDC, it is important to redesign, re-engineer, and streamline processes through various methodologies and tools such as Lean, Six Sigma, and business process re-engineering (BPR). Service providers can also use AI-based process mining and discovery tools to further facilitate this process.

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3. Ability to Deliver Enterprisewide Scale

Currently, most FSIs have only implemented less than 15 processes and some even less than 15 tasks. However, this perception is slowly changing as businesses are looking for ways to apply RPA or their automation transformation on an enterprise-wide scale. Using your services providers and RPA on the cloud can help fasten this process and accomplish the goals with less time and lower costs. More and more companies are establishing an internal Center of Excellence (COE) to drive and communicate best practices in automation and enable more robust management and control, security, and audit of both the processes and workforce. Collaboration across different departments in the companies will also help the business achieve its goal and ensure organizational change management.

4. Security, Governance, and Post-Deployment Support as the Core Tenets

One concern that many businesses might have is security, governance, and compliance issues. Robots actually improve accuracy and consistency, which guarantees better compliance. However, it is still important to have tracking and controls over the activity of both robots and human users. Companies can use role-based access where individuals are given appropriate access so only authorized users can access and use bots and sensitive data. A governance structure will make sure that there are continuous review meetings and audits, real-time operations monitoring and intelligence, and centralized reporting. The institutions must also make sure that benefits are measured, reported, and realized as projected. This can also be executed by developing robots to measure the performance of other robots.

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5. Intelligence Powered by AI Technologies and Innovative Tools

In most FSIs in Asia-Pacific, basic level of automation can be seen applied to most automated tasks. According to a recent survey by IDC, AI technologies and innovative tools are only being applied to less than 10% of automated tasks. Businesses need to plan for a more integrated approach in using RPA, intelligent automation, AI and other innovative tools to provide remarkable business value, customer and employee experience. For example,in 2019, more and more institutions have been applying intelligent document processing for credit card applications, mortgage applications, remittance processing, collateral documents, customer and corporate agreements, and account maintenance–related legal documents

6. Availability of Talent and Strong Ecosystem Support 

To implement all the automation plans and tools need a strong team of talent. This can be tricky in the Asia-Pacific region due to the increase in demand and shortage of skilled labour. IDC believes that the success of an automation project is measured by how well an implementation service provider manages the quality of its resources and staff turnover during a project’s lifetime. Moreover, it is not only about the employees from the service providers but also the employees of the FSIs. Businesses should evaluate how well the service provider can give training to their employees to understand, use, and lead these automation distributions. Ecosystem support is also an important aspect when evaluating service providers. Having a strong ecosystem will drive the demand for one automation service solution over another. Multiple partners in a system can offer related services and technologies that complement the features and functionalities of the solutions.


IDC Perspective: Six Capabilities from Leading RPA Service Providers That Advance Financial Services Institutions Toward Intelligent Automation

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