Business challenge

To reduce costs and improve efficiency, Banco Popular wanted to automate its processes so its staff could focus more on value-added activities.

Transformation

Banco Popular deployed the IBM® Robotic Process Automation with Automation Anywhere solution to automate manual repetitive tasks and processes. The solution can quickly scale as more bots are created.

Results

90% decrease in process completion times

from about 10 minutes to about 10 seconds

Runs in the cloud

while integrating with on-premises systems

Automates manual, repetitive processes

so staff has more time for more strategic activities

Business challenge story

Freeing staff from time-consuming tasks

Banco Popular was facing evolving demographic and regulatory challenges. “We have a lot of people that are leaving Puerto Rico, and yet we want to be able to grow our market,” says Luis Benitez, Vice President of Digital Workplace, Banco Popular. At the same time, the bank needs to be responsive to changing compliance requirements. “As more and more of those regulations come in, they require more and more oversight on our part—which means more processes,” says Benitez.  The bank tried using manual processes to manage its compliance requirements, but that approach quickly became too time-consuming. The bank wanted to find a way to automate its processes so its staff could devote more time to value-added activities. By reducing its dependence on manual processes, Banco Popular hoped to reduce costs and focus on expanding into new markets.

After the proof of concept, we showed that a process that took about 10 – 11 minutes could be reduced to 10 – 11 seconds.

—Luis Benitez, Vice President of Digital Workplace, Banco Popular

Transformation story

Automating in a hybrid environment

After researching available solutions, Banco Popular decided to perform a proof of concept (POC) with the IBM Robotic Process Automation with Automation Anywhere solution to automate its manual processes. Working on the POC with a team from IBM, bank staff learned that it’s important to look carefully at the process you want 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.” This way, the bank isn’t just automating a complicated process. It’s transforming the existing process into a better, more streamlined one, and then making it completely automated.

Banco Popular is taking advantage of the flexibility of the Robotic Process Automation solution to run it in a hybrid mode. “The IBM Robotic Process Automation with Automation Anywhere suite is designed in such a way that you have a choice in terms of where you deploy some of the components,” says Benitez. “So we have some things that are running on premises and some things that are running on the cloud,” says Benitez. This approach lets the bank run components that don’t have as many security requirements in the cloud, for greater scalability. Components that have more security requirements can run on premises, behind the bank’s firewalls. “This way we have the scalability options of the cloud, but also the security capabilities that our on-premises infrastructure already has,” says Benitez.

Results story

Realizing drastic efficiency improvements

The POC of the Robotic Process Automation solution was extremely successful. “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.”

After learning about these results, other groups within the bank began expressing interest in using the solution. “We’ve gone from automating one process to a backlog of about 100 processes,” says Benitez. “People have a clear understanding of the value that the solution provides, and they want us to automate a lot of their processes. For example, in the past, to create a report, staff had to log in to multiple systems, download the data and combine it in a spreadsheet. Now, that process is fully automated. 

Banco Popular plans to expand on 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 that it has so that we can have a process that’s completely independent and autonomous and doesn’t require one of our employees to be on top of it,” says Benitez.

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About Banco Popular

Banco Popular is headquartered in Puerto Rico and has approximately 8,000 employees. The bank has about 880 branches in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands and New York, Chicago and Florida. Banco Popular is a subsidiary of Popular Inc., a leading banking institution by both assets and deposits in Puerto Rico. Popular Inc. was founded in 1893 and ranks among the top 50 US banks by assets.

Take the next step

To learn more about the IBM solution featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: