What was once an exciting futurist topic of banking industry discussion is now a reality: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) enables banks to lower operating expenses and increase productivity, absorbing the time and effort once spent by bank staff to perform repetitive, manual tasks. By automating these labor-intensive processes, banks are better able to leverage time and valuable resources to focus on the higher-impact work of meeting rapidly evolving consumer demands and creating unique, modern customer experiences.
But what, exactly, is RPA?
The bots are taking over
According to Gartner, “RPA automates repetitive human tasks by emulating the same human transaction steps, mainly via orchestrated UI (User Interface) interactions. An RPA tool operates by deploying software scripts that emulates a human process/task within a workflow. The runtime executable of the RPA script is commonly referred to as a ‘robot’ or ‘bot.”
In short, RPA bots are computer programs built to take on the grunt work – with remarkable speed and efficiency, virtually eliminating human error. For example, tasks like exceptions processing, which normally requires bank staff to manually review and make determinations on each exception, can be automated end-to-end, processing an exponentially greater volume in even less time.
RPAs are great for business, and the RPA business itself is booming. The global robotics process automation market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 33.6% from 2020 to 2027, to reach $10.6 billion by 2027.
Regional and community banks that leverage this technology area are already realizing a significant return on their investment; however, this investment can be costly and come with significant risk.
Build or buy
The technology is readily available for banks to build and execute custom bots designed according to their specific processes and criteria. Though this may seem like an ideal approach to an automation strategy, building bots requires significant up-front time, capital and infrastructure. The process to build, code, test and go-live could easily take up to a year or more, without any guarantee of success. For regional and community banks looking to manage costs and risk, this is likely not the best option.
Fortunately, many financial services companies, like FIS, offer pre-built bots. Pre-built bots provide significant advantages for regional and community banks looking to leverage RPA technology. Most significantly, from a client standpoint, pre-built bots come with almost no execution risk. The necessary infrastructure is already provisioned, and the bots are based on established, successful automation use cases. This allows for minimal customization and rapid implementation; banks may have pre-built bots up and running in as few as six weeks. From there, banks can focus on observing and testing to ensure everything is operating as intended.
A bright future ahead
One of the more exciting aspects of pre-built bots is that the marketplace is constantly expanding. At FIS, in addition to new bots, which are being developed all the time, we share industry best practices and have a growing catalog of more than 100 automation use cases. These use cases will work for most regional and community banks with minimal customization and disruption. These and other resources are made available to bank clients to help them chart their ideal automation journey. Over time, this journey is also likely to expand.
NBH Bank, a regional FIS client bank, selected and successfully implemented six pre-built bots, or PREBOTs, within five months. Within the first month of operation, the bots executed thousands of transactions, quickly exceeding expectations. The bank went on to identify more than two dozen new areas of operation that could benefit from pre-built bots, including alerting, filing, reporting and tracking.
Joy Myrick, Director of Strategic Technology and Project Management office, and Lead FIS Liaison with NBH Bank, credits much of their early RPA success to working alongside a trusted technology partner in FIS. “Change always comes with risk,” said Myrick. “FIS was incredibly thorough and knowledgeable, ensuring we crossed every ‘T’ and dotted every ‘I,’ minimizing disruption to our bank operations and our client experience.”
RPA technology empowers banks to reclaim significant time and better-utilize valuable staff and resources. Pre-built RPA bots makes this technology far more accessible, particularly for regional and community banks. Working with a trusted technology partner, these banks can quickly gain the full advantage of RPA and ultimately rethink what is possible.