Traditional banks are under pressure from all directions. Challengers and disruptors may not have the same customer numbers - but provide a better experience and achieve stronger than average product penetration rates.
Banks realize that they need to adapt quickly to meet emerging customer expectations. Their major barrier, however, is that they are burdened with legacy technology and processes within siloed organizations - making wholesale change not just expensive but risky.
Over the past decades, financial services organizations have turned to off-shoring and outsourcing partners to effect change at lower price points. Various risk/reward arrangements were adopted to drive cost-effective transformation, with varying degrees of success. Nor has it provided a platform for much needed innovation. It has been more of a case of doing the same as you have always done but at a lower cost. The race to the bottom has been run and a different approach is needed.
Reassessing the Global Delivery Model
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many banks to reassess offshoring and outsourcing as a suitable risk strategy. Lockdowns affected the productivity and availability of professionals everywhere, not just within the banks themselves.
The crisis has exposed productivity gaps between companies that had already invested in digital platforms that enabled them to carry on with business as usual with a remote workforce, and those still reliant on manual processes and a large number of employees operating in different geographical locations. Financial compliance is one area especially where banks still operate with a largely paper and people-driven approach and is ripe for reform.
Looking at Automation Through a New Lens
Companies are now looking at the opportunities offered by automation through a different lens. Instead of just taking a list of activities performed by humans and automating them with software by a process of replication, they are now thinking about how a digital workforce can be used at the center of a transformation strategy to bring innovation into all areas of their business. With digital workers, no legacy systems need to be ripped out, no major process change is needed, and no mass data migration is required. Reward without risk.
Digital workers enable organizations to breathe new life into legacy systems. Transformation that would traditionally be cost prohibitive suddenly becomes achievable and a reality. Our digital workers are infinitely re-configurable and adaptable to new market conditions or regulatory change. In a world of huge uncertainty, it means banks don’t have to back multiple horses or applications for different processes. Whether it is customer on-boarding, due diligence or remediation, banks can re-use the same technology across products and geographies.
Digital workers allow companies to pivot and, when handled strategically, helps instill a change-oriented methodology and culture. Blue Prism helps create a reconfigurable library of assets that can be used by teams, enabling collaborative, cross-team working by the business under the governance of the IT department.
A Win-Win Situation
Innovators have been using automation strategically for over a decade. An early example is at a major UK bank, which achieved savings of £1 million by setting up a text balance to phone service within just three weeks using our digital workforce. As well as reducing unnecessary work, the new system made the bank’s call center workers happier as they didn’t have to spend their time on calls reading out bank balances. It’s a rare illustration of a triple win when customers, employees and the bank all benefit from a small adjustment.
Another recent example is a financial services firm that acquired a mortgage company and wanted to leverage the cross-sell opportunity. Linking platforms with core products to enable cross-selling opportunities would not have been economically viable as it would have required high levels of organizational change. But, by using Blue Prism, the price point for return on investment was far lower and enabled significant revenue growth with no business disruption, process change, or additional employee training required.
One European bank recently transformed consumer current account on-boarding via mobile, using Blue Prism. It is now leveraging the same automations to accelerate standardization of on-boarding processes for personal account opening, mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts, personal lending, student accounts and business products across channels. As well as reducing on-boarding costs by 75%, the bank now has real-time visibility into on-boarding and Know Your Customer (KYC) processes via live dashboards, as well as improved regulatory compliance.
Things that are not achievable using traditional methods are viable within short time frames with digital workers. This allows innovation to take place that is driven by teams who are the closest to customers, leading to a much faster time to market for products and services. It also leaves humans freer to take on the work that they are best suited to, using skills such as empathy, communication and negotiation rather than repetitive tasks and endless data entry.
A key change in all of this is getting organizations to think strategically and not tactically on how they deploy automation. It means finding new ways of working that are not predicated on human capabilities and having the opportunity to do things differently because of the lower price points and increased agility offered by a digital workforce. And above all, it means results at speed without the need to commit to costly and time-consuming transformation programs.
A New Approach
A key change in all of this is getting organizations to think strategically and not tactically on how they deploy automation. It means finding new ways of working that are not predicated on human capabilities – and having the opportunity to do things differently because of the lower price points and increased agility and accuracy offered by a digital workforce. And above all, it means results at speed without the need to commit to costly and time-consuming transformation programs.