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IDC: Need for RPA growing among APAC financial institutions

28 Feb 2019

IDC’s new report shows that "By 2021,… 60% of tier-1 Asia/Pacific banks and insurance companies will deploy intelligent digital workforce solutions for increased automation, intelligent decision making, and improved operational efficiencies to achieve exceptional business value and deliver a more real-time and contextual customer experience," says IDC Asia/Pacific financial insight research manager Sneha Kapoor.

The report, ‘Perspective: Robotic Process Automation Game Changers Advance Financial Services Institutions Toward Intelligent Digital Workforce’ is the second in a series of reports on intelligent automation in financial services and looks at how the proposition around Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has steadily moved towards intelligent automation as well as leveraging on an intelligent digital workforce.

In the first report in the series, ‘Robotic Process Automation in Asia/Pacific Financial Services: Key Learnings from 10 Early Adopters’, IDC emphasised that RPA has often been cited as the essential first step towards automation but could more accurately be described as part of a continuum of technology-enabled initiatives that will bring intelligence into the automation of business processes. 

IDC defines this continuum of technology-based initiatives as the Intelligent Automation Value Chain. 

This value chain underscores a notable evolution of demand toward an intelligent digital workforce from the rules-based digital workforce.

According to IDC, the Intelligent Digital Workforce comprises of intelligent digital workers - essentially software robots that can perform both deterministic and non-deterministic tasks by continuously understanding and analysing structured and unstructured data. 

They represent rules and judgement-based automation, and, like their human counterparts, they are both self-learning and self-healing workers that can discover patterns to predict decisions and even offer recommendations to improve them.

Many financial services institutions (FSIs) in Asia/Pacific excluding Japan that embraced RPA have not been able to scale their automation deployments. 

Moreover, many early adopters that tried to imbue intelligence with Cognitive/AI technologies and innovative tools in the automation of their business processes have not realised the value they expected from their intelligent automation initiatives.

This IDC Perspective report aims to support Asia/Pacific financial services institutions (FSIs) in their automation journey by addressing these challenges and assisting them, especially in their vendor selection search for a good intelligent digital workforce solution. 

IDC expects that these intelligent digital workforce offerings will accelerate how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is consumed within financial services.

When it comes to vendor selection for automation needs, IDC recommends selecting an intelligent digital workforce solution based on six core characteristics typically delivers more favourable results. 

These characteristics include simplicity, usability, reusability by business users, ability to deliver enterprise-wide scale, security and governance as the foundational tenets. 

It should also include the availability of “real-time” operations analytics, an intelligence powered by cognitive/AI technologies and innovative tools, and strong support extended by the ecosystem.

This report also presents the profiles of eight vendors who provide automation offerings in the region specific to financial services - AntWorks, Automation Anywhere, Jiffy, Kofax, Kryon, NICE, UiPath, and WorkFusion.

Aside from monitoring the automation implementation of over 30 early adopters, IDC notes there are several more at Proof-of-Concept (POC) and pilot stages in 2019. 

While Australia and Singapore are steadily progressing toward adopting intelligent digital workforce solutions many FSIs in India, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines fervently hoping to make the leap towards digital workforce.

The next two to three years will be crucial as more and more institutions reap significant benefits from implementation, and more successful functional- and vertical-specific use cases are presented in the market, with vendor solutions also becoming more advanced.

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