Robotic process automation dominates discourse at Digital Mortgage 2019

A couple of weeks ago, when I shared what I thought the hot topics at Digital Mortgage 2019 would be, I knew robotic process automation, or RPA, figured to be part of the conversation. What I didn’t know was just how expansive the discourse concerning RPA would be.

We all know nothing frustrates a customer more than waiting, whether it’s because they have to work through a time-consuming application or wait to learn the outcome of a loan decision. We also seem to know that digitally automating these processes can revolutionize the loan origination cycle. And thus we launch digital transformation efforts.

What organizations are ultimately looking for are digital tools that employ built-in logic, intelligent routing, robotic process automation and machine learning that can serve the right information to the right users at the right time. Beyond reducing costs and improving speed, these tools help organizations provide customers with the experience they want and deserve, whether working online or talking with a lender.

The rise of artificial intelligence

At its core, RPA is the deployment of software robots to significantly reduce the time, resources and errors associated with tasks that require workers to “swivel” in their chairs when changing focus between screens, systems and third-party information sources, like websites. That’s why it’s imperative to give your users access to the information they need on one screen.

Robotic process automation is tied closely to artificial intelligence (AI), which is all about teaching computers to think and analyze while performing tasks, like humans. AI technologies may include speech recognition, learning, planning and problem-solving capabilities.

Both technologies fall within the realm called intelligent automation (IA), which Deloitte defines as the combination of automation and artificial intelligence.

At its most basic, IA takes a “doing” role, focusing on automating tasks. At its most complex, IA takes a “thinking” role, focusing on data-driven work that requires deduction and analysis.

Where organizations are using RPA

We’re not quite on the verge of a robot revolution, but IA technology is already changing the way institutions and customers interact. How are financial institutions using IA technology today? Most are applying RPA to processes where employees do repetitive, relatively simple tasks that don’t require analysis to complete.

Here’s where you’re most likely to find RPA:

  • Chatbots for customer engagement to answer questions and make recommendations
  • Analystbots to detect fraud and help manage risk by analyzing portfolios and transactions faster and more accurately than humans
  • Compliancebots to keep track of laws and regulations in real time, ensuring your institution is complying with regulations

AI can also affect the bottom line. Chatbot technology will deliver $11 billion in annual cost savings for banking organizations by 2023, according to a Juniper Research report.

Is RPA right for you?

So how should your financial institution get in the RPA game? The simple answer is “very carefully.”

Don’t succumb to the lure of a shiny object. All these investments in implementing bots to automate human tasks are coming at a higher cost and offering minimal return when people don’t have a clear strategy. Before diving in, make sure you understand where investments in IA make the most sense. If you’re not sure, ask.

Our advice? Start here:

  • Evaluate current processes for potential improvements at a base level – before automating any tasks
  • Digitize documentation and speed processes by implementing a content services solution that integrates with a core system and provides intelligent capture and electronic workflow
  • Research intelligent automation solutions, including RPA and AI, and where those solutions can quickly make the most impact

Don’t dismiss change management, as well. If you’re considering RPA implementation, it is critically important that you also consider how the new technology will affect your employees. Their work will change, most notably from task-oriented to strategic thinking, which means change management is vital. Make sure your people, processes and technology are properly aligned and integrated.

Robotic process automation is one of the top eight trends in financial services. To discover what the other seven are, download our ebook, Master the Top 8 Trends in Financial Services.

Bryan Boynar

Bryan Boynar

Bryan Boynar is Hyland's global solution marketing manager for the financial services industry.

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