When asked what an intelligent automation strategy is, Franck Niatel, automation team manager at BIL, refers to “the gradual deployment of automation processes by adding additional technological layers as the teams need them, including artificial intelligence to improve processes”.
At the moment, BIL’s 17-strong team is working on understanding human text and transforming this information so that it can be processed by robots. With the combination of Blue Prism’s optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities and virtual agents, information and data can be accessed in different document formats. Data comparison between incoming information and that stored in the core systems is fast, enabling many BIL operators to make more informed decisions.
For the bank, the interest is twofold: to increase productivity, of course, but also to manage risk and quality better for its customers.
The intention is to be transparent. If the customer is at the centre of it, then they aren’t aware of it. “The bank's objective is to reduce the time it takes to process customer requests and to improve the customer experience. This is essential in the face of changing customer demand for the widest possible accessibility and competition from online banks,” says Dominique Duquennoy, customer success director at Blue Prism. “At BIL, we have always tried to be at the forefront of digital strategy, to have digital technologies that allow our customers to have easy access and interaction with the bank,” adds Niatel.
When we talk about robots, we are afraid that they will steal our work.
Customer experience is one thing, employee experience is another. This is an essential part of the acceptance of automation. “When we talk about robots, we are afraid that they will steal our jobs. At the end of the day, we are there to help the employee with repetitive and worthless tasks that are of no interest to them,” says Duquennoy.
“What we are trying to do at BIL is to make sure that the users of these technologies are comfortable with them and that they can take control at any time. We always try to keep this automated intelligence--which is an assistance--under human control, because it should not be something totally unknown to them,” Niatel explains. “The idea is not to put robots everywhere to replace people, but to enable additional tasks or controls that may not have existed before.”
It’s really important to demystify what automation and robotics are.
“The strength of robotics is that it can offer control and quality in a much greater way than we could before with human labour. The best proof of our acceptance of the deployment of these new technologies is that the people we work with always come back to ask us if we can’t do more and automate other processes for them. We have never forced teams within BIL to implement robotics. It is always based on a request from the teams: we come to help. This is not a question of revolutionising working methods. It’s the teams that come to us with a request that we analyse. It’s not the same thing as imposing this on someone,” says Niatel.
Niatel insists that automation at BIL takes place in a permanent dialogue. “It is really important to demystify what automation and robotics are. For us, it is not a question of putting robots in place of humans. The aim is really to find subjects where we can help. Typically these are all regulatory topics with a lot of checks to be done where the robot compiles and the human analyses.”
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.