Last week we hosted our tenth Blue Prism Café with Serkan Saracuz, Head of Organisation & Processes, Operations Center, Postbank and Thomas Belper, Director of Strategic Alliances at Blue Prism. As
one of the largest established service providers for payment and
banking products in Germany, Postbank view Robotic Process Automation
(RPA) as playing a key role in making their operations more efficient,
swifter and more scalable.
is on an exciting journey, which began in early 2016 and has led to
over 50 processes now automated through the implementation and evolution
of 40 Blue Prism Digital Workers. The company is also looking to utilize the
interoperability of Blue Prism’s RPA technology with intelligent
automation capabilities to deliver even faster customer response times.
So read on to learn about his real-world experiences and lessons learned
in a complex – ever changing, operating environment.
What’s driving RPA?
It’s well known that the banking sector leads in RPA adoption as
forward-thinking organizations seek to automate processes already locked
down by regulators – while seeking efficiency gains, cost and risk
reduction too. However, Postbank faced a number of additional factors
that influenced its desire for RPA, with “bottom up” demand being driven
by a joint collaboration across the back office business units. The
need for digital transformation was a key factor here – especially with
the bank possessing ‘clumsy IT’ – a legacy of numerous IT silos created
from an architecture and infrastructure that had grown incredibly fast.
bank saw RPA as a major opportunity to address these issues by reducing
IT complexity – with measures including condensing the functions of
multiple systems into one application. Relieving its employee workloads –
via robots was a key focus too – so staff could be re-utilized for
higher quality tasks – without further recruitment. Enhancing the
customer satisfaction was also an aim that would be realized by the bank
achieving vastly accelerated process completion times.
In 2016, Postbank sought an RPA solution that
could help it react quickly to market demands. A proof of concept was
tested against requirements that included reliability, stability, high
quality features and ease of integration into the existing IT landscape –
and Blue Prism was the vendor that best met all these criteria. The
bank also acknowledged that the views of their employees mattered too
and their acceptance would be a key RPA success factor. Serkan explained
that it was critical that employees experienced a seamless transition
across this major cultural change.
Our workers council has always been involved with us from the beginning. Keeping them on side was key, as they have great influence in Germany and could have blocked our RPA initiatives if jobs losses had resulted. We communicated RPA’s goal in a very transparent way by defining its positive role and value via road shows and videos of our RPA processes. This led to an employee mindset shift from rejection – to enthusiasm. In fact, we have colleagues who now say they never want the process to be done manually, but the way the robot does it, is exactly what’s wanted.
To create a focus on ever-improving RPA excellence, the bank has a
different approach to its operating model which is uniquely run by
specialist RPA teams – not the IT department. However, IT is still
involved, providing the hardware, software and first level support only.
The bank’s RPA team does the rest – from process identification –
through to testing, monitoring and maintenance.
RPA in Action
In the early stages of its journey, Postbank identified areas with
the highest automation potential – such as HR and risk control. Serkan
was mindful that when fully automating processes, ensuring that bad
processes didn’t become bad digital processes – but were optimized
instead. To date, 50 processes have been implemented. These range from
simple – to complex processes, some of which now ensure that over 10
applications communicate with each other.
Serkan explained that
with RPA, service levels can be action-ed much more efficiently, because
the robot ultimately always acts the same – 24/7, which results in time
savings for customers. This means that orders that have been left for
days are now performed immediately – so a customer gets a PIN code
faster or a card locked faster. Also, by having a clear RPA audit trail
provides easy access to data, which helps compliance adherence too.
When asked about planned RPA initiatives, Serkan explained that the
back office units which focus on accounts, services and lending – are
already set up and now all other departments of the group are being
targeted – with a further 25 processes to be implemented over the year.
has ambitious plans to further optimize end-to-end processing, by
creating the first link between RPA and machine learning big data. This
will deliver the thinking and analytical capability to make operations
smarter and more efficient – while further enhancing service delivery
too. It’s hoped that these insights will inform the process design of
future tasks and processes – opening up completely new possibilities for
Asked about his top focus areas for others considering RPA initiatives, Serkan recommends two things:
- Promoting the employee experience by involving them at an early stage
by clearly communicating RPA’s positive, added value. By considering
and carefully managing employee esteem, ultimately ensures they embrace –
not fear change – and this improves the end results immensely.
- RPA initiatives should always be on solving both immediate and longer-term business challenges,
and by addressing the right processes. Equipped with Blue Prism’s
platform that can, integrate, scale and evolve in complex operating
environments, Postbank possess the tools to stay ahead of the rest.
For more content from Postbank:
- Go here to view the full Blue Prism Café with Postbank (in German with English subtitles)
- Serkan spoke at our Blue Prism Pulse event in Munich in June 2018 – view a highlight of his presentation as well as a short interview.
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