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Digital transformation is changing business models and influencing newer revenue opportunities for firms. Gartner, the leading research and advisory company, predicts that digital transformation will aid 36% of overall revenue for firms adopting disruptive technologies. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of the key disruptive technologies that is transforming the way investment and asset management operations are carried out daily. According to Gartner estimates, 70% of financial companies are already using or piloting RPA in their day-to-day operations.

What is RPA?

RPA refers to a set of software tools called robots or ‘bots’ that perform routine or repetitive business processes that are typically carried out by humans. To put it in another way, RPA is the governance and use of technology to run processes or sections of processes on core business applications. RPA technology hovers over existing process; it enacts the similar steps and authentications that a human would be performing with the systems.

RPA robots are designed to recreate and some of the user interactions done by human beings . They can sign in to business applications, copy data and enter data into forms , place files in folder and given locations derive meaningful insights from structured and semi-structured data in documents and web pages.

RPA compared to others tools used for automation

In traditional automation, a software developer lists down a sequence of actions for automation and by using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) integrates several systems on one platform. On the other hand, RPA understands the sequence of actions by noting the actions the user performs in the applications graphical user interface (GUI) and then performs the automation by repeating those tasks n the GUI. This method clears the hurdle to use automation in products that may not otherwise feature APIs for this purpose.

Characteristics of RPA in motion (Know-how)

RPA applies Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities combined with the ability to handle a high volume of repeatable tasks which can replace human intervention. RPA is also non-intrusive and can be deployed on top to the existing IT infrastructure and enhances and automates the ecosystem without delaying or throwing the running systems and applications in jeopardy and also provides cost effective solutions for modifications to the existing application landscape. Below are a few characteristics of RPA in motion.

  • Forms a virtual 24/7 workforce for the firms
  • Programs imitating human interaction with applications
  • Computer-coded software
  • Cross-functional and cross-application software
  • Interacts non-invasively with existing IT architecture and governance
  • Managed by business users
  • Developed, implemented and active in a matter of weeks, and is easily adaptable

Major RPA players

Below is the compiled list of top Robotic Process Automation companies by Gartner June 2019 report.

2018 Rank Company 2018 Market Share (%)
(based on revenue)
1 UiPath 13.6
2 Automation Anywhere 12.8
3 Blue Prism 8.4
4 NICE 7.3
5 Pegasystems 4.8
6 Kofax 4.4
7 NTT-AT 3.4
8 EdgeVerve Systems 2.4
9 OpenConnect 1.9
10 HelpSystems 1.6
- Others 39.4
Total 100

Source: Gartner (June 2019) report

Why RPA in investment and asset management?

Firms are still facing challenges with multiple technology partners, integrations of the legacy systems and manually activities around the processes. Investment and Asset services still receive tons of manual emails, onboarding forms, daily MTM ledgers statements, trade confirmations, clearing and settlement instructions and payments. There has been increased compliance and focus on regulatory reporting in the last two decades in the hindsight of the 2008 financial crisis and collapse of a few major institutions. Most financial firms in the last two decades have had to invest heavily on regulatory and compliance initiatives. Investment and asset management organizations employ large number of people and face two major challenges - operational efficiency and rising costs.

New opportunities have emerged with technologies like RPA, which can be handy in the investment and asset management domain in terms of addressing the operational efficiency and cost inefficiencies. Below are some of the examples where RPA could apply across the investment and asset management space.

Investment Management Use Cases

Corporate Market Use Cases

Managed Funds Use Cases

Benefits of RPA in investment and asset management

  • Ensures that business operations and processes comply with regulations and standards
  • Provides improved efficiency over humans
  • Creates cost savings for manual and repetitive tasks
  • Enables employees to be more productive by focusing on the key business activities
  • Better accuracy
  • Enables better customer service
  • Highly scalable

Myths of RPA

Although RPA is gaining momentum across the world, there still exist many myths about it. Some of the myths about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) include

  • RPA will replace humans
  • RPA will not work in all domains and is only meant for finance and insurance
  • RPA is not an affordable solution
  • RPA is always and fully accurate
  • RPA will automate any process
  • RPA will automate processes 100%
  • RPA will provide cost savings in the early phase of implementation

Conclusion

Firms are finding it difficult to remain focused on the best means to remain relevant in conjunction with available disruptive technologies like IoT, AI, ML, BlockChain and Cloud to gain a competitive advantage over their peers and add the value to their clients. RPA is well entrenched in the investment & asset management space, and can offer significant benefits by automating tasks when implemented rightly. RPA can perform tasks with 100% productivity that are simple and repetitive, when compared to human productivity of 60%. In summary, RPA technology is fast evolving to becoming frontier technology disruptors and enablers. Achieving the first lap of success depends on the organization’s preparedness, planning, development, execution and support & maintenance.

Mindtree adopts a strategic approach for automation through transformative and explorative methodologies. Our automation, being platform and technology-agnostic, ranges from simple scripts to niche technologies like autonomic computing, AI and RPA.

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About the Author

Preetham Shivalingappa
Business Consultant

Preetham is a subject matter expert and Business Consultant with Mindtree's BFSI vertical. He is responsible for leading domain consulting and domain competence building.

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