Financial services firms today face more than just a few challenges. Against the backdrop of competition and increased customer expectations, they see new threats including scaled theft/fraud, cyberattacks, malicious corruption of data and more. Meanwhile, the regulatory environment is growing in complexity and severity. And there’s no recourse for organisations that can’t keep up with new regulations, or fall out of line with an old one: noncompliance carries fiscal and – in the case of severe breaches – criminal penalties for the institution as well as any individuals involved.
It’s not surprising, then, that many financial services firms are looking to automation to help ease some of these burdens. Robotic process automation (RPA) has emerged as a way to more efficiently keep up with new regulations, while reducing the human errors that can cause noncompliance in the first place.
A digital workforce created by RPA can be deployed alongside human workers to create new capacity. Activities that require accuracy, consistency and repeatability can be handed off between the two workforces. This way organisations can respond more quickly and be more agile. It delivers the foundation for true digital transformation by leveraging best-of-breed artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, analytics and cloud capabilities while safeguarding existing IT investments.
Because the digital workforce can only be truly effective if it is housed in the data centre and has access to the sensitive information that the regulations are meant to protect, it requires oversight, just as a human workforce does. Financial services organisations are tasked with ensuring that the automation solution they choose meets enterprise-grade standards for security, auditability and governance. Centrally managed user access control, multi-factor security and infrastructural security are all necessary elements – but a digital workforce is more effective at protecting against misuse and provides an audit trail for every transaction executed.
Ask a human to complete a process exactly the same way a hundred times over, and you’ve set them up for failure; humans are, after all, fallible. But a member of a digital workforce can meet that standard, and leave a clear audit trail for each action, ensuring easy compliance checks and a traceable record if something does go wrong, whether by accident or by employee interference.
The regulations that govern financial services are only going to grow more complex – and it’s critical that organisations find solutions that allow them to meet the high service expectations of their customers and efficiency expectations of their business, while also safeguarding their most important asset: their customers’ trust that their information will be kept safe.
David Moss is co-founder and CTO of Blue Prism
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