Governance key to ROI for robotic process automation at NAB

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Governance key to ROI for robotic process automation at NAB

Governance has been critical to achieving an ROI for National Australia Bank’s (NAB) five-year robotic process automation (RPA) journey according to Pamela Stooke, head of technology workflow automation at the bank.

Stooke spoke at Blue Prism’s live and virtual event Blue Prism World this week about the bank’s investment in automation. “This hasn't been a happy journey,” Stooke told audiences.

“What we delivered was not fit for purpose and the ROI wasn't what we wanted. We said ‘hang on, it's not the technology, it's how we've implemented it. Let's have a look at what the governance is lacking, what is missing.’ And that's all the way from quality assessments, finding the right opportunities, and also the tech governance.”

Vikram Thapar, manager, engineer (robotics) at NAB was also at the virtual event and told attendees that the organisation introduced a number of actions that have added value, including live proofing.

“We came up with a live proof of concept where I personally call it a probation period of production where you handle all the bots, making sure that you're getting through all the test cases, all the scenarios,” he said.

NAB also invested in tech change governance, Thapar said which helped to determine how to retrain and adapt the bots.

“The key thing which was quite important in this governance model is the respective business units, internal audits, risk partners, M&A partners to be aware of what the changes we were doing, how confident they should be about bots performing sensitive transactions as well.”

Since tightening the governance structures around the implementation, Thapar highlighted key areas where the bank has seen clear benefits from RPA.

“We use bots to fulfil debit cards within an hour. So, a debit card will be available virtually on your internet banking app within an hour.”

He also names the drawdown letters for loans as an example of RPA efficiency.

“It's 100 percent accurate. No fat fingers. No misspellings.”

According to Stooke, the biggest outcomes for the bank were cost savings and improved customer service.

“The business was very quick to see after Covid, the basics that RPA gives us, that Blue Prism provides. We are talking about trusted, consistent quality that converts into dollar savings, with no breaches, and no fines to be paid. It also provides speed for operational productivity,” she said.

“It's surprising how many points, how many systems a customer's request needs to go through and the more we are able to be aware of where that transformation is happening and where we can help with those pain points, the faster the return on investment and on customer service will be.”

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