- By Ronak Halani
- In Design, Development
- Posted January 21, 2017
Agile Automations case study - RPA to manage a major product change for a leading UK bank
Robotic Process Automations are great at making desktop processes efficient and deliver FTE savings. That is why in recent years, we have seen a surge of desktop automations from supermarket tills to bank clerks' desks.
These efficiency savings surely will get better with the popularity of RPA and increased use of plethora of RPA software programs out there.
However, with record and play RPA software commonly found in the market, there is a limitation, a lack of technical flexibility, which makes them just "some of the tools" rather than strategic solutions.
"Many attempts in embedding RPA in the corporate offices have failed due to this typical operational challenge. Imagine you had a software that could do exactly what you initially planned to do, with all the logic and foreseeable scenarios included, and then there is a system or process change - which means you need to redefine the logic and bring the automation back to the drawing board to re-configure or in worst case, even re-develop it. This overhead of maintenance effort sometimes offsets the benefits earned/expected."
Several of our clients have had to go through the pain in their journey to adapt 'smart' automations.
To tackle this problem we have come up with a solution that is elegant, forward thinking and future-proof.
We suggest that the automations are built on the following foundation layers:
- Agile Development - Allowing business to see benefits right from the start (sprint 1) while the automation is still in development
- Custom Coded - Agile development allows us to design and develop our automations from ground up. No off-the-shelf product will ever meet all the requirements, so we build our software bespoke for our clients.
Future-proof - During the development process we identify all the factors and scenarios that can affect the outcome. i.e. list of parameters that are key in deciding the outcome of the automation.
These parameters can be anything from common titles, common locations, whitelist accounts, blacklist accounts, pricing changes, hierarchy changes or simply a list of different paths to follow in case of exceptions. We then code the automation in modules keeping it completely detached from the decision making parameters, and save these parameters in a separate database or list. This allows the automation to stay relevant and functioning even if the key decision paths change in future.
Let me explain the above layers using a live example of a recent automation.
One of our valued clients, who is a multinational financial institution, required us to build a client management system to initiate, maintain and process a group-wide product change drive. They had to replace old legacy credit cards with the new ones while allowing 1.4m customers a choice of cards/contracts to switch to. The program was a regulatory requirement and failure to deliver it would lead to substantial financial and reputational loss.
Key Deliverables/Success Criteria
Send out personalised statements to 1.4m customers explaining the transition and what it meant to them, covering the financial impact, interest rates and fees, if applicable.
Receive instructions back from interested customers who wished to switch, keep their record in the system and send out the new contract for them to sign.
Once new signed contracts are received back, process the product change in 3 different legacy systems including SAP, IBM mainframe (Backoffice) and Card Administration System.
Keep an end to end audit trail of each customer interaction during the entire switch process.
As it is often the case, with limited budget to hire additional resources/staff or implement new systems, the client approached us to build a fully automated client relationship system that is powered by our custom coded Agile Automations.
Solution - We followed our tried and tested development process and achieved the following within 3 weeks/sprints.
- A new one stop solution powered by a backend SQL server database covering the entire Client Relationship Management
- A database full of lists of decision making parameters that can change throughout the process, customer to customer i.e. covering over 1700 scenarios and permutations that would be difficult to develop using most automation software in the market.
- End to end automation of all product switch on all 3 systems including logistic tasks such as sending out letters, emails, text alerts and keeping end to end audit trail
- Provide a mechanism to retrieve on demand customised reports
One of the key advantage of Agile Automations has been the ability and flexibility it provided in mapping out the best customer journey. This ensured efficient customer service at the fraction of resources usually required to manually complete such processes.
- Step 1 - First of all the automation would sweep the legacy system to identify and list all 1.4 m customers
- Step 2 - Add these customers into a database, segregate and create batches that are manageable
- Step 3 - Sweep system to obtain key financial account information on these customers and produce personalised, calculated letters highlighting their account status, eligibility for the switch, old interest rates and impact of the new product on the account
- Step 4 - Send out the letters with new contract in batch
- Step 5 - Now, over the coming three months, as the customers respond with their signed contracts, all the frontline staff have to do is retrieve the account information on the automation and process the actual product change. The process that would manually take 30 minutes if done manually can be processed in 30 seconds with automation
- Step 6 - Produce several reports for auditing purposes and send out confirmation letters, emails or text alerts to each customer based on their contact preferences
We love the way the automation handles multiple decision paths using the externally stored 'decision parameters'. We can easily change the logic of the automation by simply changing 'if this than that' scenarios in the list provided. We are always excited when we add a new scenario in the list and automation picks it up. A truly future-proof solution!!
Head of Operations
18 Full Time Equivalent per annum
Use of Agile Automations helped business save on resourcing cost, allowing to allocate the valued resource in more customer facing areas.
GBP 1.2 million per annum
Business managed to avoid systems implementation and other IT costs. This was also aided by cost savings due to the actual product change.
100% error reduction over manual process
Our tried and tested Agile Development approach ensured rigorous testing and perfect implementation. This ensured that all risks are mitigated within regulatory compliant SLA.
Scalable, system agnostic, future-proof solution
Business has a reliable future-proof automation that evolves based on decision parameters lists and can be upscaled or implemented in other areas, with no dependencies on systems.
Scrum development methodology combined with extensive experience in developing custom coded RPA solutions, we at Agile Automations are changing the desktop RPA scene towards a more sustainable and reliable adaptation to RPA in businesses. Can your business benefit from such relentless commitment to perfection? Contact us to find out more!