RPA – An Overview
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools can help businesses improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations faster and at a lower cost than other automation approaches. Interest and activity in RPA is growing and we are increasingly seeing deployments reaching enterprise scale and operating on processes across the organisation.
RPA uses software, commonly known as a ‘robot’, to capture and interpret existing IT applications to enable transaction processing, data manipulation and communication across multiple IT systems and users.
Multiple robots can be seen as a virtual workforce – a back-office processing centre but with less human resources. There are financial benefits owing to the lower cost of a robot licence compared to a typical salary, and firms are also seeing non-financial benefits including improved accuracy, timeliness, compliance, and operational flexibility.
What can robotics do?
Implemented at scale within clients, significant benefits have been realised through use of RPA solutions – the equivalent of the manual effort of thousands of people.
This is achieved through the 8 robotic principles:
- Gather, collate and validate
- Synthesise and analyse
- Record and transport
- Calculate and decide
- Orchestrate and manage
- Monitor, detect and report
- Learn, anticipate and predict
- Communicate and assist
What processes are suitable for RPA?
RPA tools are best suited for processes with repeatable, predictable interactions with IT applications. These processes typically lack the scale or value to warrant automation via core systems transformation or if core systems transformation is not due to be implemented soon. RPA tools can improve the efficiency of these processes and the effectiveness of services without changing the underlining systems.
RPA software ‘robots’ perform routine business processes by mimicking the way that people interact with applications through a user interface and following simple rules to make decisions. Entire end-to-end processes can be performed by software robots with very little human interaction, typically to manage exceptions.
RPA can be used to automate processes that are:
- Prone to error
- Rules based
- Involve digital data
- Time critical
- Complex and varied
- On demand
Impact of RPA within Operations
The benefits of RPA solutions go significantly beyond cost reduction and include:
- Improved and consistent customer experience
- Improved throughput
- Speed of change deployment
- Improved accuracy
- Detailed data capture
- Flexibility and scalability
- High levels of compliance
Most FS organisations have yet to develop an approach to RPA. According to PwC’s 2016 FSI RPA Survey, 57% of FS institutions have done one or more proof-of-concepts, however do not have a broad implementation of RPA products, 22% have no current implementation but have started exploring options, whereas only 13% have started to adopt an enterprise solution but have not completed the process and less than 4% have a widespread adoption of RPA products across the organisation.
Types of RPA Solutions that are available?
At Limehouse we are continuously improving our solutions through alliances with a network of specialist technology software providers who work closely with our highly experienced banking experts to develop integrated RPA capabilities for our clients.
Solutions are being deployed across multiple areas within financial services including:
- Mortgage processing
- PPI investigation and resolution
- Complaint management
- Account opening and servicing
- Product cross-selling
- On-boarding and recruitment
- Fraud detection and case management
Solution Overview: DARA™
An intelligent, enterprise wide, data processing tool which creates structured data and reports from legacy unstructured data records. It can:
- Offer levels of accuracy and efficiency unachievable by any other means
- Return savings on costs in excess of 10:1
- Be sourced as a service, with no capital investment, legacy implications or exit costs
- Run as a desktop application on bank infrastructure, conforming to bank standards of data security, audit and access control
- Use configurable business rules and interfaces to multiple source systems
- Link pricing wholly to business outcomes
Solution Overview: AutologyxFS™
A fully configurable enterprise process platform that interacts with customers, internal users, third parties, and multiple source and target systems:
- It is a comprehensive rules-based system
- It is configured and run by the business
- Processes can be changed instantly
- Has full audit trails and management information
- Talks to target and source systems
- Can be deployed across the business, including branch, telephony, operations, and risk
- Provides a consistent service to customers
- Allocates tasks by type, priority, capabilities and authority
How is RPA Deployed?
Our approach to deploying any RPA solution suite involves creating a Journey Map to meet the specific needs and aspirations of the business. From that we build a definitive plan and business case, design and implement a Proof of Concept, and work collaboratively with the business to build the underlying processes within the RPA to deliver the benefits and transfer knowledge.
Limehouse works alongside businesses at every stage; across technology, process design, products and marketing risk, finance and operations.
- Assessing RPA
During the initial stage, the objectives include an understanding of RPA technology (the benefits and shortcomings) and an evaluation of product vendors in addition to identifying opportunities for proof of concepts (PoCs) whilst receiving high level business support from the Limehouse team.
- Establish Centre of Excellence (CoE)
At this stage in the RPA journey, a CoE function will be set up for at least one line of business (LOB). Consulting services will then be provided to help LOB understand RPA, the benefits case and support deployments. This is where development environments and processes will be established as well.
- Establish Scale
Here, the CoE will be expanded to provide company-wide support. Training programs will also be developed to facilitate rapid business deployment alongside creating integration frameworks and management dashboards. Security will be standardised and governance models released.
- Embed RPA into Normal Day to Day
At this final stage, it is intended that the RPA becomes part of the operational and technology fabric of the company. RPA would become core to any new product development or project and the virtual workspace a part of any annual planning activity.
Businesses need to adapt to the automation of processes and embrace the positive changes that technology can deliver. A convergence of RPA solutions within business operations will be the differentiator between those that will succeed and those that will lag behind.
Andrew Taylor is Global Practice Lead at Limehouse Consulting.
https://www.limehouseconsulting.com. For further information or to contact Andrew Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Ph: 07854 103888
 See: PwC’s Financial Services Institute, ‘Robotic process automation in financial services’, 2016 <https://www.pwc.com/us/en/financial-services/research-institute/robotic-process-automation.html>