RPA in the Bank sector
Why are there robots in a bank? IThon talked with K&H Bank and BCA about Robotic Process Automation...
The number of software robots has grown exponentially in recent years, more and more people believing that automation will be essential to meet the business challenges of the future. The journalist of IThon talked to the colleagues of K&H Bank and BCA about the topic. The original article is here in Hungarian. Please find the translation below.
Success story in the Hungarian Bank sector: process automation with UiPath software robots
The spread of the software robots has started in Hungary as well, and we can hear and read about more and more successful implementations - maybe we could meet with them ourselves.
In our article, we also brought the client and the consulting company responsible for the implementation of the robotization project in an unusual way! The topic of their joint project is funny, interesting, forward-looking, and can affect many of us: robotic process automation in the banking sector!
We don't have to introduce K&H Bank (owned by KBC Bank) to anyone, but perhaps few people know that they are at the forefront of introducing RPA (Robotic Process Automation) developments in Hungary. Their cooperation with BCA Hungary Kft. Dates back a long time, so it is no coincidence that they voted for them when they started thinking about automation.
István Takács, BCA's senior consultant, partner and Angelika Benkő-Redl, Head of Customer & Process Excellence at K&H Group, introduced us the pros of automation, the benefits of automation frameworks, the developments that have already taken place and their future plans.
The client answers, but the consultant does not leave it without a word! :)
IThon.info: How did your joint work in the field of RPA start?
Angelika Benkő-Redl: We are constantly looking for ways to increase efficiency. We first heard about the positive experience of robotics from our parent company KBC, and then BCA was one of the first in Hungary to convince us that it is worth trying, because we can automate faster and cheaper with UiPath than if we run an IT development. This is because it is easier to teach a software robot to work with colleagues on a computer than to reprogram the IT system itself for a new kind of operation. K&H Bank had several years of positive experience in cooperating with BCA, so trust was given. We knew that they work with talented, fast-learning, highly collaborative colleagues who, integrated into the K&H team, take both business and IT challenges seriously and quickly find an effective solution.
István Takács: BCA has been supporting customers from the financial, telecommunications and energy sector for more than 13 years, with business and IT consultancy, testing and process automation solutions, and we have been working with K&H Bank for almost 10 years. It is especially motivating for us to be able to take new paths together with an old partner and support them in developing forward-looking systems.
IThon.info: Why automate, what are the positive benefits of a company's life?
Angelika Benkő-Redl: Robotization of internal processes is gaining more and more ground in our country, which speeds up our work, eliminates mistakes and increases efficiency. Today, we are passionate about robotics at K&H, and as good experiences accumulate, enthusiasm also increases. The robots are fully integrated into the daily lives of the teams and take over the unanimous work that does not necessarily require human intervention, so colleagues can focus on tasks that require creativity and thought. I think it also contributes to the image of an attractive workplace. Today, more than 30 robots support the work of colleagues at the Bank and the Insurance Company, and more than 20 million small steps are performed annually instead of them. Even in a pandemic situation, robots work unbroken - they were not affected by the epidemic situation! :)
István Takács: K&H Bank can experience many benefits of robotics on a daily basis, which is great feedback for us as well. To verb it very simply, it can be said that the robot eliminates all the weaknesses that come from being human: it can work flawlessly, it has no need for sleep, it is very fast, and as a result it is extremely efficient. While many empleyees are afraid that they will lose their jobs because of the robots, this is not the case at all. It is on the contrary: they could free many colleagues from monotonous tasks, thereby transforming the quality of work and shifting it towards higher value-added tasks.
To give examples from other industries: We have a pharmaceutical customer where day-to-day work has been speeded up by the software robot retrieving current account balances at early morning so the affected internal processes can start hours earlier. Or another example: At a foreign subsidiary of our oil sector customer, we introduced a robot that conducts market research on a geographical map finder, helping them to make their pricing more efficient. In the past humans walked around, but processing the data could take several days or even weeks, while the robot could perform the same task several times a day. So software robots are slowly making their way in every industry, making both the internal operations of the companies more efficient and the involved colleagues more motivated, because they can focus on tasks that add more value and challenge.
Angelika Benkő-Redl – K&H, István Takács – BCA
IThon.info: Which robotics solution have you choosed and why?
Angelika Benkő-Redl: K&H Bank has introduced UiPath-based robotics, partially with the support of business colleagues and, in the case of more complex solutions, with BCA, who have been actively supporting the development of software robots and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capabilities ever since.
István Takács: In the recent years, a number of RPA software platforms have appeared, in our opinion UiPath is clearly the most innovative one with the highest quality. Its programming can be mastered by business colleagues even with moderate IT background, and at the same time robots can support business-critical and important processes. We usually have one or two colleagues working on a robotics task, which has the huge advantage of having all the important information in one hand / head - starting from the business need via implementation till the go-live. This approach provides the best possible and most effective solution. In this way, our colleagues also learn, experience a level and quality of experience that can be gained just in a few places: they specify, create implementation and resource plans, implement, test, support the go live, efficiency measurement of the robot and optimization. While elsewhere it is preferred to split the roles of business analyst and developer, at BCA we have a very good experience from both our colleagues and our clients by keeping these tasks together.
IThon.info: Can you highlight some successful robot implementations from the life of the bank? What were the main benefits of these robots?
Angelika Benkő-Redl: At K&H Insurance, we have automated the process of recording the return fee, which is very unanimous, requiring the recording of many items/transactions, but operating according to simple rules - we make 130,000 transactions a year. Robots work at least six times faster than a manual solution, and the possibility of errors can be ruled out. As a result of robotic processing, our 67,000 customers received their overpaid fee 50% faster in 2019! Another example: In the K&H Group Service Center 90+ % of HUF invoices waiting to be paid are now checked by a robot with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capability, and it also saves us the printing of more than 40 000 papers annually. The tax certificates of our corporate clients are prepared by a robot upon their request and sent to their electronic mailbox.
IThon.info: How will you go forward - what are your plans for the future?
Angelika Benkő-Redl: Our first robots started in December 2018, so 5 of them will soon be over 2 years old. They have already become real team members, many of them have been given names, and it is no longer unusual being here among us. I feel that we are currently the market leaders in the banking sector. In the future the direction is to explore and combine additional automation capabilities. We want to fully automate the monotonous process steps from start to finish that do not require creativity, to have as much time as possible for value-creating tasks and contact with our customers.
István Takács: In the future, we would like to participate in many successful projects as the ones that already have been implemented at the K&H Group. We are confident that we can continue to support them in achieving the highest possible efficiency. From BCA point of view, we have similarly wide-ranging plans: In Hungary BCA is currently the most active partner of UiPath, but in addition to our Gold partnership, we would like to further strengthen the cooperation by obtaining the USN (UiPath Service Network) certification also, which is awarded by UiPath only to companies that have proven their outstanding professional competence and excellence. More than half of BCA's 20+ automation team are UiPath experts, and since 2018 we have been able to double our customer base virtually every year, which was not hampered by the epidemic situation. We currently support nearly 10 leading Hungarian large companies in achieving their automation goals. Since 2018, we have been able to double our customer base essentially every year, which was not hampered by the epidemic situation. We currently support nearly 10 leading Hungarian large companies in achieving their automation goals.
The success of an automation project depends on enormous number of factors, but one thing is certain: no matter how forward-looking the technical framework or how well the process plan is, all of these are far not enough on their own. Even the state-of-the-art technology cannot replace the consistency between the client and the consultants, the mutual respect, the cooperation for common goals. This is what cannot be replaced by a robot, either now or in the future.