19th January 2018

Brickendon asks if it time for financial services to embrace robots
Opinion

Robotic process automation (RPA) is quickly evolving to a new hot topic in the Finance Sector, although there is a wealth of opinions out there regarding the potential impact and ways for FS institutions to adapt to this movement. Iya Datikashvili, Director, Brickendon asks what it all means.

She says: “The UK is becoming an automated economy, and we believe 2018 will be the year that automation becomes the norm across the financial services sector. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are growing up and now performing tasks that were once carried out by teams of individuals, saving companies time and money, and increasing their competitive edge.

“One such technology is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), a software robot or ‘bot’ that mimics human activity by carrying out routine processes. Many people believe that RPA has the potential to unlock significant value within a company by performing a range of complex, time-consuming and repetitive functions, thus freeing up employees to focus on value-added work and ultimately, overhauling archaic systems and transforming the way the financial services sector operates.

“The key is to embrace these developments now. Financial institutions, including banks that fail to engage and incorporating technological advancements, such as RPA (the application of technology that allows employees to configure computer software or a robot to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems), risk falling behind. With overwhelming amounts of information on the subject and conflicting opinions saturating the market, now is the time to comprehensively assess whether RPA can improve the financial services sector.

“Does this really mean that in the future all humans will be replaced by machines and that robots will eventually try to take over the world in the style of the Terminator movies? In reality, the answer is no. The intention behind RPA implementation is to ensure organisations are able to better utilise their employees in areas that add value to a firm’s operations and delegate the repetitive tasks to automated machines. The ‘bots’ need to be programmed to replicate the human actions required in the process, while humans are also required to provide support and supervision to ensure any issues which may impact the process, such as network failure, a ‘bot’ crash due to error, or exceptions in the operations, can be dealt with.”