How one bank is using RPA to save millions

By Cheryl Wilson

“So far so good. The results we've seen have been pretty positive. We’re aiming, by end of the year, to record about USD 10 million in savings just by automating the processes we’ve identified so far.”  – Luis Benitez, VP, Digital Workplace Strategy, Banco Popular *

When it comes to robotic process automation (RPA), there’s hype around the promise of big, quick, easy ROI. True, there’s been localized success, especially for certain back office processes with lots of repetitive, cut-and-paste-between-systems work. However, with hype comes disappointment. Companies that rushed to install bots, often in isolation, are now rethinking and resetting their approach. They’re taking a more start to finish view of what success really looks like and rethinking what the technology needs to do based on real people doing real work with real outcomes on the line.

With approximately 8,000 employees and 880 branches in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, New York, Chicago and Florida, Banco Popular seems to have avoided the “love at first sight” RPA pitfalls. These pitfalls include seeing RPA as something more than just the tech tool it is -- a tool that needs to be part of an orchestrated and expertise-supported approach. 

So, how did they approach using this gateway-to-automation tool? First, they looked carefully at the processes they wanted to automate.  

“Something we’re promoting within the bank is that you don’t just throw new technology at the existing process,” says Benitez. “Simplify the process as much as you can first, and what you can’t simplify, you can then automate.” 

Because of this, Banco Popular didn’t just automate a complicated process. They improved and then completely automated it. “We picked one process, which is very complicated and takes a lot of people a lot of time,” says Benitez. “After the proof of concept, we showed that a process that took about 10 - 11 minutes could be reduced to 10 - 11 seconds.” 

The initial results created legitimate interest from other groups in the bank. And Banco Popular plans to expand the solution in the future. “Now can we take the next step and leverage IBM Watson, for example, and some of the cognitive decision-making capabilities it has so we can have a process that’s completely independent and autonomous …,” says Benitez. 

For a future issue, we’ll check back with Banco Popular to see if expectations continue to be met beyond the proof of concept. 

To see more results and implementation details, read the full case study.

*Source: IT Central Station Peer Reviews

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