Banks turn to automation to realize efficiency gains

SEP 30, 2022

Dive Brief:

  • The largest banks are using automation tools to achieve a variety of efficiency objectives, including using bots to review and analyze data. The challenge they face now is to connect automation to better customer experience outcomes, suggested Forrester principal analyst Alyson Clarke, speaking at UiPath Forward 5 in Las Vegas on Thursday, the automation software firm’s annual conference.
  • Large banks including Truist, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo emphasized that they’re increasingly looking at automation beyond the context of specific tasks and toward holistic processes. “Whether the journey is evolving, as far as I see it is, really getting to that end-to-end process automation space for us, rather than just the task automation,” said Dolly Tanwani, head of enterprise intelligent automation solutions at Wells Fargo.
  • “A lot of the focus on automation, [artificial intelligence and machine learning] … it’s focusing on what the business wants to achieve, it’s looking at cost savings, it’s looking at freeing up employee’s time, but it’s really at that kind of operational and IT level,” said Clarke. “Financial services firms need to leverage automation to enhance and create new experiences and across the customer lifecycle throughout the customer lifecycle,” she said.

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Dive Insight:

Executives across industries are turning to automation to deliver on cost optimization and enhanced productivity objectives, Saikat Ray, VP analyst at Gartner, told CIO Dive in August. The robotic process automation software market will reach $2.9 billion by the end of 2022, up 19.5% from 2021, according to Gartner.

In recent years, large UiPath bank customers have been using automation tools to facilitate initiatives that include data extraction and data transfer efforts to support the merger of BB&T and SunTrust; reduction of manual work for Wells Fargo contact center agents through digital personal assistants; and the delegation of some structured, rule-based repetitive tasks to bots at JPMorgan Chase.

From JPMorgan Chase’s perspective, one of the next steps on its automation journey will include using bots to tackle more sophisticated tasks, including delving into unstructured processes and unstructured data, and using machine learning to facilitate these efforts, said Shefali Shah, managing director of global digital transformation and integrated intelligent automation at JPMorgan Chase.

Diana Caplinger, executive vice president and head of enterprise enablement and intelligent automation at Truist, said the company is deploying automation in support of “integrated relationship management,” an effort to use data across the organization to deliver more personalized service to clients.

Meanwhile, UiPath, through its acquisition of U.K.-based artificial intelligence startup Re:infer in August, will add a natural-language processing capability that can mine data from customer conversations taking place over email, chat or voice interactions. The toolset will be available for clients to use early next year, according to Ted Kummert, executive vice president for products and engineering at UiPath.

For banks, it’s imperative to move beyond back-office use cases and increasingly connect automation to customer experience improvements and competitive differentiation in the marketplace, argued Forrester’s Clarke.

“Financial services firms need to leverage automation to enhance and create new experiences across the customer lifecycle,” she said.