Automation will revolutionise financial services
Traditional banking has undergone a metamorphosis in recent years, thanks to other industry players offering banking and financial services, the emergence of disruptive technologies, and higher expectations from customers. These changes can present both challenges and opportunities, says Thabo Ndlela, founder of Amani Business.
Speaking ahead of a C-suite roundtable on Automating Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) Processes, Ndlela says the emergence of FourthIndustrial Revolution (4IR) technologies is driving huge changes in the BFSI sector, in which the scope of financial services offerings had grown beyond banks. “Now, in addition to traditional banks and insurance companies, financial services are being offered by telecommunications companies, retailers and even trade unions,” he notes. With competition growing, the big differentiator will now be customer service.
“Another major development in this space is cloud computing, which has enabled banks to provide services outside of their traditional offerings. Many are now becoming platform businesses, with an ecosystem of traditional banking services and a portfolio of adjacent services from various partners and competitors, in order to give customers a more holistic offering and enhanced customer experience. This is a massive but needed change, and the projection is that in the next few years, banks will generate more revenue outside of core banking services than through traditional channels,” he says.
The top priorities for BFSI businesses in this changed environment should be to improve customer service, reduce inherent risk, strengthen compliance and reduce operational costs, Ndlela adds. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) addresses these priorities and presents opportunities for BFSI organisations to become more competitive and innovate.
By harnessing intelligent automation (IA) – which is robotic process automation combined with artificial intelligence – within a digital workforce ecosystem, organisations can empower their employees to perform more intelligent tasks than merely the mundane, manual, repetitive ones. This will allow organisations to reduce costs, strengthen compliance, and reduce risk of errors.
“For example, using IA, Amani Business was able to assist one of our customers to scan millions of banking transactions per day to analyse trends and identify fraud. This would be impossible for humans to do manually,” he says. “Ultimately, faster processing of financial services will improve customer experience. Other examples, such as obtaining a bank loan in 60 seconds via ATM or querying a bank balance via WhatsApp, are today made possible thanks to intelligent automation.”
Ndlela says BFSI organisations in South Africa are exploring the new opportunities presented by RPA, but are struggling to scale fast enough and leverage its full potential. “While South Africa is among the most advanced in the world in terms of banking and financial services, we do lag behind the likes of America and Europe on RPA adoption. Most BFSI organisations have started the RPA journey, but their deployments are still small and localised to some departments, such as credit risk, which have advanced to leverage artificial intelligence and data science models to aid decision-making on credit-scoring.”
Ndlela believes IA adoption will surge as the market and labour force come to understand that bots do not replace people: “At most, you can automate 20% to 30% of what people do, in order to free them up to focus on customer service. Customers still want to deal with real people and establish trust, particularly where money is concerned.”
Managing the adoption of RPA is difficult, particularly in a heavily regulated sector like BFSI. “Customers frequently run proof of value (PoV) projects first, in order to introduce the technology, but once they see the business benefits, they tend to want to automate everywhere,” Ndlela says.
Amani Business, in partnership with ITWeb, will be hosting an exclusive C-suite roundtable on 3 December 2020 to present the use cases and benefits of automation in banks, financial services and insurance. In a panel discussion, customers Cheryl-Jane Kujenga, ex-CFO and CEO at Adcorp Holdings, Nthabiseng Nhlahla, Group Head of Finance at BankervAfrica, and Dr Rozett Phillips, ex-Group Executive, People and Culture at Absa, will outline their RPA journeys, learnings and successes.
To register for this event, click here.