By Keith Pearson, Head of Financial Services GTM at ServiceNow
Companies in the finance sector are looking to digitise their business and IT processes more than ever before, as a result of the pandemic. The last 18 months has overseen an ever-changing financial market, characterised by volatility, and companies that adopt the right digital infrastructure will stand the best chance of being successful.
This is why hyperautomation is the answer. As financial services look to accelerate their digital transformation plans in a post-COVID world, they must quickly recognise the importance of hyperautomation and the benefits it provides. In April, Gartner predicted that the worldwide market for technology that enables hyperautomation will reach $596.6 billion in 2022. Hyperautomation is no longer a choice, rather a condition of survival.
What is hyperautomation?
Hyperautomation brings together capabilities including machine learning, process mining, RPA, API integration and intelligent workflow orchestration to replace high levels of complexity with 80%+ automation of the delivery of services to customers.
The key to success is actionable integrated data. Fragmented data and isolated systems are the enemy of hyperautomation, and data lake technologies don’t put the data that they hold into the hands of your employees in the workflow. The ability to integrate rapidly to modern and old systems, bringing together process-related data into one place where intelligent automation technologies can be effectively applied is the key to delivering actionable automated workflows and successful outcomes. Too many financial services organisations continue to deploy a ‘sticking plaster, hybrid-technology approach’ to achieve their automation goals, inadvertently creating yet more technical debt and islands of data.
IT leaders must therefore recognise that hyperautomation is crucial to achieving business outcomes. It empowers people and businesses to delegate the authority of decision making to intelligent applications, physical robots and software service assistants. Once technology that enables hyperautomation has been implemented then financial services organisations will begin to enjoy tangible benefits.
The financial services industry is full of complex processes, transactions and payments connecting customers, buyers, traders, regulators and other stakeholders. Automation is crucial for firms to deliver a seamless customer experience, but legacy systems complexity often leaves high levels of human-dependent process management, while traditional business process management technologies, RPA and low code app development continue to contribute to a sub-optimal fragmented systems landscape. In these firms, engineers have traditionally wrestled with complex architecture and integrations trying to join systems that were never designed by vendors to work seamlessly together.
Hyperautomation can empower these organisations and reduce manual input while ensuring high-quality results on front and back-end processes. The combination of RPA with ML and AI is the core enabling technology behind hyperautomation and the reason behind its intelligent automation. It allows companies to automate in places that weren’t previously possible, namely undocumented processes that rely on unstructured data inputs.
For instance, if a bank’s customer requires a refund of a direct debit that should not have been paid, they contact the bank to recover the funds from the vendor. Hyperautomation streamlines the tasks involved within this request by automating data validation, making the processes quicker, more consistent, and less prone to error. Not only will this speed up digital processes but removing human intervention will dramatically reduce operating costs in the longer term. By combining hyperautomation technologies with redesigned operational processes, businesses are predicted to lower operational costs by as much as 30% in the next three years.
Improving customer experiences
Streamlining back and front office processes will inevitably lead to a much more efficient customer experience. Removing human intervention not only speeds up the delivery of customer requests, such as refunds or complaints, but also eliminates any chance of human error through automated workflows.
Firms which embrace hyperautomation can create a simplified platform environment that is natively integrated, integrates quickly to other systems and combines the best that humans and machines have to offer in the ultimate delivery of service to customers. They monitor and adapt their processes in real-time, evolving quickly depending on changing customer and business demands. Bringing data together in one place has the added benefit of effective fraud monitoring, a single view of the customer and the ability to apply predictive analytics to spot patterns and avoid issues before they occur.
Hyperautomation can also create customised products, tailored services and highly responsive omnichannel customer services that are available 24 hours a day. By removing the need to do cumbersome, repetitive tasks, employees can focus their time on tailoring their products and services for their customers. Additionally, more time and opportunities can be opened up for new innovation and digital transformation, which are crucial components for organisations to stay competitive and agile, particularly amid the pandemic.
The power of data analytics
If business agility is the marker of success, then real-time data analytics is the key to this. Businesses often fail to identify where their inefficiencies lie due to a lack of data analysis, which is particularly frustrating in the financial sector given the vast amount of transactional data available.
Hyperautomation can transform financial services by helping IT decision makers unleash the true potential of data by deriving insights that enables them to understand current business trends and make predictions about future outcomes. This means they are well placed to refine their automated processes and make the necessary course corrections. Companies can therefore adapt in real-time and evolve depending on the changing consumer landscape.
Furthermore, banks can utilise the AI algorithms and ML technologies built into hyperautomation to efficiently monitor all monetary transactions and proactively identify any fraudulent activities. Machine learning predictive models built with advanced modelling techniques can predict the probability of fraudulent transactions, minimising risks for customers.
An automated ecosystem
Given the abundance of operational business benefits available, it’s difficult to overstate just how important hyperautomation will be for financial services over the next few years. Rather than just automating manual tasks, it will take a company’s ecosystem of technologically advanced tools and merge them to create a truly interconnected workflow solution.
Hyperautomation was created so that low-value tasks can be performed with automation tools, advanced AI and ML, so that outputs can be created automatically and run productively with virtually no human input. It is designed to grow alongside a business and will create a working ecosystem that is constantly educated, agile and ready to utilise data and insights for quick and accurate decision-making. Intelligent automation will be the cornerstone of success for financial services companies as they continue their recovery from the pandemic.