Over the recent years, business and operational processes, that are taking place in financial institutions, have undergone an unprecedented metamorphosis. Back office functions have become, not only a place where you can see at a glance all the imperfections of the organization, but also an area that plays a key role in providing service with excellent quality. Area, that also directly affects the maintenance of the cost index within acceptable limits to major stakeholders. All these aspects play a key role in building a company's competitive advantage, often decisive for being or not being in an increasingly dynamic and innovative global economy.
Today, a typical financial institution, regardless of whether we think of a bank or an insurance company, faces increasing difficulties to gain and maintain those areas of growth, that allow to generate a satisfactory level of ROI. And, if we also take into account the more and more demanding regulatory environment in which these companies compete in the market, it will become obvious that financial industry companies will soon be much more IT companies than financial institutions, in the strict sense. Hence, the inevitable and progressing marriage of the financial sector with the IT world and following in the direction, of which the best term is the synonym "FinTech".
Having the above in the mind, it can not raise any doubts that investments in the operating area are essential and at the same time crucial for ensuring the competitive advantage of the company. While so far the product and its functionality for the customer were important, nowadays it is becoming increasingly important to know how and with the use of which resources, internal processes are occurring in the company that often determine the long-term relationship with the client.
It can be said, that the operational processes are changing themselves. Where it comes from? As mentioned above, the weaknesses of financial products are best seen in back office processes. In order to meet expectations, mainly as to the minimization of costs, managers are forced to constantly seek solutions enabling them to deliver processes of excellent quality and efficiency at the lowest possible cost of running in a sustainable manner. Hence the emergence of such trends as, among others, centralization of all services in one geographical location or unit, externalization of some services and processes outside the company or group of companies through outsourcing, implementation of Lean / Six Sigma methodologies or, finally, the emergence of new solutions for automation and robotization of business processes.
What, then, is a process robotization? The first step is to disenchant several myths that accompany this concept. First of all, process robotization term is inadequate to the present state of advancement of IT solutions in this area. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is nothing more than an IT system created on the basis of software platforms that enable automatic or semi-automatic handling of processes written with their help. And there would be nothing revealing about this if it were not for the fact that such a look at RPA would allow you to approach to the issue and implement RPA in the organization properly.
And secondly, it should be pointed out that solutions similar to RPA have been operating on the market for a long time, whether it is for conducting automated software tests or screen scraping technology, which allows to read data automatically from the image in a web browser.
So what is it about the fact that process robotization is currently the most fashionable term and the solutions behind it are electrifying entire branches of the economy?
From the perspective of operational processes managers, there are two factors. The first one results from the above-mentioned continuous need for improvement of operations supporting by experienced managers, that seeking new ways to better organize work and eliminate activities that have so far solved omnipresent excel or access. The second factor is a certain magic that is associated with the word "robotization" and the belief that we are dealing with a robot. And this drives the curiosity and willingness to know what has been foreign to us so far. Hence, frequently published, especially recently, articles with load-bearing headings, "Are we going to be replaced by robots?"
One thing remains certain.
Robotic Process Automation is in the initial phase of development and it is still difficult to point out spectacular implementations (especially in Poland) that can boast something more than PoC (Proof of Concept). However, there is no doubt that the RPA tools, and thus new, technologically advanced solutions for business will inevitably change the way that processes and operating models function today.
Being on the threshold of such a revolutionary change and so many unknowns, with such high expectations in such dynamic times it remains to explore, hasten and comprehensively present to readers issues related to robotization and automation of business processes. We will point everything that is most important from the point of view of achieving better and better results in enterprises by continuously increasing the efficiency of business and operational processes.