It’s always been foreseen and it pretty much seems an obvious that as technology advances businesses processes will continue to become easier and machines will take up some roles traditionally handled by humans. For lower level employees especially, the fear is losing your job to a machine, but what if these machines could now be seen as your coworkers?
This is the idea behind Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is an emerging form of business process automation technology based on the notion of software robots or artificial intelligence (AI) workers.
RPA seeks not to cause layoff of workers from their jobs but to create more time for them to do more creative and value-adding tasks leaving their “robot colleagues” to handle the more routine tasks.
RPA is an emerging concept and it may surprise many that a Nigerian brand has adopted it already. However, the fact that it’s a brand that has planned to take a technological approach to operations and has adopted a couple this year already with recorded success, makes it not much of a surprise.
Diamond Bank, Nigeria’s fastest growing retail bank has adopted the RPA technology to massively cut the length of time required to resolve customer disputes, and improve overall customer experience.
Most of such problems usually are ATM/POS related issues which the bank says takes an average of 3-5 days to resolve. With the RPA such disputes are resolved in less than 24 hours. Diamond Bank has partnered with Deloitte to create this service.
“When my team advised that they were looking into Robotic Process Automation with Deloitte, I was excited to see what results we could derive from that partnership. In under 2 months, we have been able to develop a robotic solution that successfully engages over six (6) different system platforms within and outside the bank to solve a pressing customer need – ATM and POS dispute resolution. We have achieved a proven reduction of over 400% in the resolution time for a single dispute, and more than 300% reduction in backlog resolution turn-around time. I am now even more excited for what is in store for the Bank and its customers through RPA solutions,” Uzoma Dozie, Chief Executive Officer said.
As already said, quicker dispute resolution was the problem to be solved. Diamond Bank and Deloitte approached the problem by assessing the viability of assisted intelligence for efficiency improvement to accuracy of process outcomes (a combination of Robotics Process Automation, Data and Business Logic) to help automate the tedious dispute resolution process.
Diamond Bank used Robotics Process Automation (RPA) to prove this concept over a 6-week period working with the team of RPA developers from Deloitte in Nigeria.
The team utilized an agile approach executed in a series of three (3) agile sprints, working closely with the bank’s business and technical specialists to converge with speed on the optimum solution iteratively.
The solution was developed on the UiPath™ Enterprise RPA Platform. The RPA platform engaged multiple systems through this process, which included Diamond Bank’s core banking system, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, Dispute Management System (DMS), BankOne, Extraswitch and Base II – all platforms of the bank.
On execution, the robot was able to perform the following tasks without human intervention and at orders of magnitude faster than a human operator could, without error, slowing down or getting fatigued:
- The bot logged into the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to view open cases assigned to it.
- The bot read all the cases, iterated through the list to investigate root cause of the cases using a set of rules and a suite of logic to determine valid, invalid cases and cases requiring further investigation.
- Using the set of rules and logic, the bot had developed capabilities to access the switching dispute platforms and dynamically integrate with the bank’s banking application to investigate dispute transactions ensuring that there was no duplication of resolution.
- Once the investigation proved a dispute was a valid case, the bot proceeded to the respective switch and logged a charge back.
- Finally, the bot went back to the case on CRM and closed the case with a resolution message communicated to the customer.
- The bot was also able to check for invalid cases, return these to the initiator or escalate on the CRM platform for proper checks to avoid unnecessary re-work.
- In scenarios where the Robot was unable to resolve the dispute automatically, the solution escalated to a Diamond Bank Supervisor for further action.
Results and Impact
In the course of the study, the solution was subjected to over a thousand cases which it treated automatically and resolved. It was notably fast and efficient and ultimately reduced the cost to serve customers. Other significant milestones observed include:
- a 300% reduction in turn-around-time (3-5 days’ backlog of cases handled in less than 24hours)
- a 400% reduction in average handling time of a single dispute resolution (the Bot processes cases in average time of 1-2mins which is on the average five (5) times faster than a human (i.e. 6-10mins).
- an immediate increase in the capacity of the team to handle more value adding tasks with productivity gains of up to 60%
No surprise, Diamond Bank is thrilled about their new digital ammunition for a number of reasons and duly so – its benefits speak for itself and the idea of a new workplace with a “new breed of colleagues” is quite exciting.
It’s a new dawn of smarter banking and a smarter workplace and Alex Alozie, Head, Operations at Diamond Bank was upbeat, he said: “The complexity of the RPA solution developed is first of its kind in the Nigerian banking industry.
The system not only manages the operational interface between the platforms involved in the ATM/POS dispute and settlement, it also goes as far as posting the required charge backs/transaction into our core banking application so the customer automatically receives value – this is revolutionary!”
The RPA is truly revolutionary and it’s expected that other players in the industry and indeed other large enterprises in the country will follow suit towards creating the future workplace that gives employees more time to create value, better customer experiences, and of course saving cost on serving customers.
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