Blog | Mar 24, 2022

RPA in the APAC Financial Services Sector – Blue Prism 2022 Survey Report

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is now a strategic enabler of digital transformation, and one of the fastest-growing software market segments globally. It’s playing an important role across industries by helping organizations reduce costs, achieve operational efficiencies and enhance customer satisfaction.

To understand the impact that RPA is having on the financial services sector in the APAC region, we surveyed 802 individuals with 8+ years’ experience working in organizations in the key APAC markets of India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia.

We discovered that RPA has gained popularity and is generally well-regarded across the APAC financial services industry. However, the use of RPA by financial institutions vary in scale, and there are still some misconceptions related to RPA that suggest more education is required.

While those organizations using RPA are reaping the benefits, RPA remains largely a tool to improve efficiency and cut costs, rather than being fully realized as a true catalyst for driving digital transformation and elevating business performance.

Awareness and adoption

First, the good news is that the vast majority (90%) of respondents are aware of RPA and its benefits, and over half are currently using RPA solutions and technologies.

But there are still some barriers to the adoption of RPA that were identified by respondents, notably security and data concerns, identifying the right processes to automate, finding the right talent to manage RPA deployment and operations, and budget constraints.

Those firms that have moved through those barriers to adopt RPA have found it’s having a transformative effect on their businesses. From increasing speed and efficiency, to freeing up employees to concentrate on higher value tasks and to upskill, RPA delivers a host of benefits for today’s financial services workplaces.

The majority of organizations that have implemented RPA said it had improved business operations, for example, mainly by increasing speed and efficiencies. This is leading to significant cost-savings, but is also seen as a catalyst for driving digital transformation.

In fact, RPA has become one of the key technologies in helping financial institutions remain competitive in an increasingly digital and highly regulated world, predominantly by taking over the increasing number of rule-based and repetitive tasks. Data and process-driven departments like IT, marketing and customer services, along with finance, were the departments noted by respondents as being key targets for RPA support.

Factors to consider when implementing RPA

When asked which elements were the most important when introducing RPA, 44% of survey respondents highlighted implementation costs and 21% said maintenance costs. However, as our report notes, this concern about upfront and ongoing costs should not outweigh the focus on the actual return on investment (ROI) that organizations can experience.

It’s particularly important when it comes to the new hybrid ways of working that financial services firms have implemented during various stages of lockdown, and which are predicted to persist once staff return to the office.

With hybrid working now established as the ongoing norm for many within the financial services sector, a new level of risk has been introduced within organizations. Automation can mitigate this significantly through things like auditability, restricting access to data types and even handling data without human intervention.

Managing security risks and preventing breaches as we continue to work between home and the office is necessary for the sake of employees and customers. Considering intelligent automation to reimagine processes that reduce data security risks is a good place to begin.

Achieving total confidence in RPA requires an automation platform that is easy to use, yet still adheres strictly to the high compliance and security standards that the financial services industry demands.

The majority of RPA solutions have been built to address this concern. The built-in, security credentials of digital workers means that they’re trusted to operate within the most demanding enterprise environments.

Although digital workers are run by business users through a collaborative platform, they still operate within the full governance and security of the IT department. And every click is recorded so that if there is ever a breach of any kind, it is easy to trace it back to source and deal with it easily and quickly.

Looking to the future

The future is bright for the adoption of RPA technology and solutions within the financial services sector in APAC. While our research shows strong adoption of RPA before lockdown, the pandemic has significantly boosted the growth of RPA technology within organizations shifting from traditional ways of working towards the use of automation.

Forrester’s report Automation Is The New Fabric For Digital Business says that “automation is a critical last-mile enabler supporting transformation at multiple levels: tasks, processes, entire functions, and even the business model itself”. And as awareness of the tangible business benefits of RPA solutions and technologies increases, we can expect to see significant improvements in business agility and resilience within the APAC financial services sector.

Want to Know More

Download our report and read how to keep your competitive edge in RPA.