Why good governance is key to successful automation

in Advisory, Technology, 05.02.2020

What’s at the heart of the integration of innovative technologies and AI to improve company processes? Answer: Having the right governance model in place. That’s right, it is one of the crucial ingredients enabling companies to develop smoothly, guarantee use cases, gain to manage technology over time, and ensure optimal security in the implementation of these technologies.

In increasingly competitive times, organizations are resorting to new heights to improve performance. Every level of a company is striving to do more with the same number of staff. All players are forced to adapt in an ever more complex world. This is particularly apparent in the finance sector where we see new regulations that require different parties to implement new measures, adapt procedures and transform information systems faster than ever before. With this regulatory pressure comes extra costs and squeezed margins. To stay afloat in the long term, everyone must find a way to reduce their “cost-to-serve” (the cost of delivering products and services to customers).

Automation cuts costs

Today, robotic process automation (RPA) using robots with limited capabilities can make a difference by streamlining processes without overburdening information systems or dramatically increasing costs.

RPA automates multiple repetitive manual processes including reporting, data reconciliation and account blockage management. The bot imitates human activity (minus any decision-making) by following pre-programmed rules based on several variables. Free from repetitive and time-consuming tasks, employees can focus on work that generates greater added value for their company.

Intelligent solutions

Machine learning, on the other hand, goes one step further. Based on mathematics and statistics, a human gives the robot training data so it can “learn”. The robot can then immediately apply this knowledge to a second data set to achieve the desired result. This technology is primarily used to extract data from unstructured documents to facilitate data classification and processing.

Take data extraction from invoices, for instance. It’s possible to redirect incoming emails to the right teams more efficiently based on the information they contain. Virtual assistants (or chatbots) which understand natural language can even respond immediately to various requests (FAQs, for example) without the need for human intervention.

More advanced cognitive models can solve even more complex issues. The machine learns by itself, taking into account numerous variables and fulfil the task required.

This is of particular interest to insurers. In what way? Well, to give one example, with just a photo of a car accident, such tools can calculate the cost of damages.

Governance rules!

Even if these technologies considerably increase efficiency for specific, isolated tasks, one of the major challenges to reap long-term benefits on an organizational level lies in governance.

So, where to start? Set up a Center of Excellence (CoE) to manage all intelligent automation initiatives. A CoE ensures that the organization will also have the necessary skills to drive its digital transformation as well as be the sole point of contact for various digital solutions providers. In addition to development standards, it is also responsible for identifying which processes should be digitalized, prioritizing projects based on added value and risk management as a whole.

Risk Analysis and change management

Every transformation project that includes automation – whether with simple bots or more advanced solutions – involves a prior in-depth analysis of requirements and processes.

Organizational change management must also be a top priority. The main root cause of failure when it comes to projects involving new technologies is this: IT teams need to be reassured that the purpose of these tools is to help in their day-to-day tasks and not take away their jobs! It’s time to focus on better integrating these technologies taking into account the various stages of execution of the project as well as exceptions which employees will know better than anyone.

What’s more, involving staff will enable them to project themselves, help employees see their roles in a new light and not feel threatened by technology which, first and foremost, is there to help them add value in a different way.

KPMG knows innovation

Want to know more? Get in touch with an expert. Reach out to Julien Baudouin, KPMG’s Lighthouse Intelligent Automation Leader.