Robotic process automation is spreading across banking and financial servicesThe origins of automation extend back to 1745, when English blacksmith Edmund Lee patented the rotating fantail that keeps a windmill’s sails pointed into the wind. The first completely automated industrial process emerged toward the end of the 1700s, when American inventor Oliver Evans developed the automatic flour mill.

Fast-forward to the 2000s and the era of Digital Disruption 2.0: The world today is experiencing the impact of another monumental breakthrough – the emergence of robotic process automation (RPA). RPA uses software to automate repetitive processes that humans would otherwise do, freeing these people for higher value work. Use of enterprise robots can create a “virtual FTE workforce” that automates back-office administrative processes.

Automation can unleash reimagination

Bank processes are prime candidates for RPA application, as they are rules-driven, data-intensive and repetitive in nature, and they cross multiple systems. Decision points can be overhauled using RPA to drive efficiency and new business models.

RPA is becoming a hot topic at leading corporations. Software robots such as Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, IBM Watson and Google DeepMind are now mainstream, and they promise to fundamentally change how financial services are processed in the future. How?

RPA will change financial services

Customer onboardingConsider customer onboarding, for example. Onboarding is a crucial element of building strong customer relationships. By getting the onboarding process off to the right start, banks can boost customer satisfaction, increase retention and drive greater share of wallet. They can combine multichannel capture, automated and adaptable workflows, and a flexible system integration capability to automate and accelerate the onboarding process.

Other processes could benefit from similar transformations, including mortgage processing, claims processing and customer service. UK software company Hello Soda, for example, uses RPA to create more complete credit-worthiness profiles by blending social media data with traditional credit scores. FundApps, a London-based technology provider, is automating shareholding disclosure and monitoring investment restrictions.

Reimagine begins now

In considering the possibilities of RPA, it is important to not simply automate for the sake of automating. Instead, start by reimagining the entire business process. Once that is done, robotics can take it to a whole different level.

In my next post, I’ll explore how artificial intelligence is finding its way into financial services processes. Artificial intelligence has been around for a while, but now it’s getting really smart.

Prasad Chintamaneni

Prasad Chintamaneni

Prasad Chintamaneni is President of Banking and Financial Services, leading Cognizant’s largest industry practice globally. Mr. Chintamaneni has led the global Practice... Read more