Banks, credit unions, and numerous other financial organizations have helped to make robotic process automation (RPA) one of the fastest growing software categories.
Defined as the automation of repetitive, rules-based tasks that are required to execute routine business processes – think invoicing or processing monthly statements – RPA, when properly executed, can improve productivity and lower monthly costs by drastically cutting the amount of time workers spend on manual tasks, as well as the potential for human error.
The key to realizing such benefits, however, lies in the phrase “when properly executed.” Whileorganizationsblame RPA’s failure to live up to its lofty promises on everything from the inability to scale to the constant break-fix cycles some automations experience, the real problem may actually be in executing the wrong processes.
To be effective, RPAmust be applied to those business processes that will showcase its strengths. These tend to be processes which occur regularly, employ structured, readable input,rely on predictive business rules, and perhaps most importantly, affect customer satisfaction.Sadly, many financial institutions simply don’t know which processes fit those criteria. Some may not even know those criteria exist. As a result, they automate the processes which appear to be most obvious candidates, even if they are less likely to benefit from automation.
Faced with this situation, some organizations are turning to task capture software, a fundamental technology that makes up part of the RPA toolchain. Task capture enables banks and credit unions to: discover the individual, mundane steps (or tasks) that employees take to accomplish a specific business process; understand how those tasks are completed within the organization; and analyze how those tasks can be improved and which tasks can be automated to increase operational efficiency, reduce errors, and improve employee engagement.
At a high level, task capture software sits at the desktop level, recording and collecting data to present the individual steps users take in completing a specific task. At a more granular level, though, task capture follows a sequential, step-by-step process that includes four primary activities –
Task Recording: Task capture software records user interactions to uncover how individual tasks are being performed. A recorder installed and manually triggered on employees’ computers collects all of their interactions, such as keystrokes, mouse clicks, scrolls, and other activities, while adding timestamps and screenshots.
To provide an example of a task that might be recordedto be improved or automated, data could be extracted from an invoicing task as part of a larger workflow of processing that invoice. That data might include: accessing the initial email; downloading the invoice; opening the invoice; copying textual and numerical data; and inputting that data into an enterprise resource planner (ERP).
Definition and Optimization: Once the individual steps for completing a task have been discovered, execution of that task will be analyzed to learn how it can be improved and made more efficient. This analysis, in turn, will be used to determine whether the task can simply be improved (which would necessitate retraining employees to handle the task in a new, more productive way) or should be automated.
Automation: If the determination is made that a task should be automated, that task will be: redesigned for RPA; mapped to all relevant constraints and dependencies, such as regulations to which it must adhere or applications with which it interacts; and packaged and communicated to the organization’s automation development team so that appropriate bots can be built and deployed.
Monitoring and Analysis: Following deployment, the automation must be monitored to make certain it is achieving the metrics and KPIs the institution has defined. These might include a decrease in task completion time, reduction in errors committed during task execution, etc.
Clearly, employing task capture software can play a key role in helping financial institutions to fully leverage their investment in RPA.Task capture delivers the insights needed to identify not only those processes that represent optimal candidates for automation, but also the steps taken to execute each task.
Beyond providing a ready-made canvas for process optimization and automation design, task capture software can have a huge impact on increased efficiency. By delivering the data needed for business process experts to easily identify gaps, waste, and all other areas where task execution can be upgraded, overall processes can be improved regardless of whether the organization’s objective is automation or simply continuous process excellence.
And because task capture records user interactions, it allows organizations to better understand different variants that may exist when a given task is performed. Doing so provides a platform for standardization, which will reinforce both quality and efficiency.
Task capture software also can significantly improve the employee experience. By uncovering the repetitive tasks being undertaken by employees and providing the opportunity to automate those rule-based tasks, task capture can drive efficiency and, just as important, enable theemployees handling those tasks to concentrate instead on more engaging, business-critical activities.
Finally, task capture offers an enhanced ability to analyze risk. By recording and collecting user interactions, task capture ensures that tasks that are impacted by controls, policies, and regulations can be scrutinized. This guarantees that task execution is compliant and, if warranted, can be automated for even greater assurances of compliance.
Beyond these practicaland more immediate benefits, task capture software plays a critical role as the future of work – which includes the interaction and synergy of machines and humans – is being defined.By enabling financial institutions to identify, optimize, and automate those tasks which will drive operational efficiency, employees will be in a significantly better position to focus on more meaningful, creative tasks that offer a higher, value-add to the organization.
Further, embracing and fostering this kind of innovation represents a vital means for ensuring the organization’s continued growth, protecting it from falling behind to digital disruptors. Digital transformation must be at the forefront of every bank, credit union, and financial organization and task capture can – and should – play an essential role in achieving that objective.
Tony Higgins is the Chief Product Officer at Blueprint Software Systems and is responsible for the vision and evolution of Blueprint’s Enterprise Automation Suite, a powerful digital process discovery, design and management solution that enables enterprise organizations to capture, identify, design, and manage high-value automations with speed and precision in order to scale the scope and impact of their RPA initiatives. Tony has a broad base of software delivery skills and experience ranging from start-ups to global enterprises, and is passionate about building technology that helps teams to rapidly optimize, automate, and digitally transform their organizations. For more information, visit https://www.blueprintsys.com/