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Intelligent process automation: pushing beyond the limits of robotic process automation

By Mike Kearney | Thu 20 August, 2020

“As a RegTech with a reputation for partnering to deliver successful transformation projects, Encompass harnesses our unrivalled knowledge of the external data systems relied on in KYC with IPA to automate beyond the reach of RPA alone.”

In this blog, our Senior Product Marketing Manager, Mike Kearney, looks at the role of robotic process automation (RPA) in powering digital transformation, and explains how intelligent process automation (IPA) moves beyond the limitations of RPA for the benefit of processes and customers.

RPA: powering a wave of digital transformation

Companies intent on digital transformation are embracing software to automate business processes. The foundational technology powering this wave is RPA, which the IEEE Standards Association define as:

…preconfigured software instance that uses business rules and predefined activity choreography to complete the autonomous execution of a combination of processes, activities, transactions, and tasks in one or more unrelated software systems to deliver a result or service with human exception management.

RPA’s success is founded on several factors. The first is that RPA is applicable to routine tasks. Relatively straightforward work is analyzed, documented as a series of business rules and codified as software which, when run by a machine, substitutes for human effort.

A second factor powering the success of RPA is that it is primarily used to orchestrate activity spanning two or more internal systems. In these processes, a human is acting as an integration point – giving rise to the term ‘swivel chair integration’ – to undertake the mundane work of reading data in one screen and rekeying the same data into a different system.

Technology teams’ familiarity with internal systems and the structured data under management primes these RPA projects for success. Because of the relative simplicity of automating routine tasks involving structured data within internal systems, many RPA projects deliver fast return on investment, with repayment periods measured in months and not years, as can be the case with more ambitious transformation projects. This speed allows a company to build momentum and quickly roll from one RPA project to another, with each project accelerating process cycle times while reducing operational costs and error rates.


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Turning the focus of RPA

To date, RPA has been focussed within the enterprise at integration between internal systems. An Encompass innovation is to apply RPA to external systems, specifically those trusted and independent sources of information that banks, legal companies and many corporations rely on in due diligence necessary in Know Your Customer (KYC).

The work of KYC involves routine activities, such as navigating to a web portal, signing-in with authorised credentials, searching for information about a prospective customer, downloading reports and taking screenshots. Prospects of success decline when those undertaking RPA have little or no familiarity with the information systems underpinning their target business process.

The product teams and engineers at Encompass are very familiar with these external systems and our RPA provides KYC due diligence on demand, founded on multi-source validation of information trusted and chosen by our customers.

Reaching RPA limitations

KYC involves more than just the routine work of searching and collecting information. Because their work involves accessing structured, semi-structured and unstructured information from multiple sources, analysts must apply their knowledge and insight to integrate this information to form an intelligible and cohesive understanding of a customer. This abstract task can involve tracing complex networks of subsidiaries and parent companies that span multiple national boundaries to identify beneficial owners, who may also be Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).

To automate this abstract work of entity resolution and analysis requires technology beyond business rules codified as software that forms the foundation of RPA. From a process automation perspective, this means either that those responsible for digital transformation settle for automation up to the point where the process requires an abstract task, such as entity resolution and analysis, and at that point hand-over to a human expert, or they must seek technology beyond RPA alone.

Intelligent process automation

A second of Encompass’ innovations is our construction of an inference system that studies entities and their attributes, applies advanced statistical techniques to assess the probability and reason whether these data are the same or are different, and concludes by making an intelligent decision.

With IPA, Encompass undertakes the difficult and demanding work of entity resolution and analysis. This deep digital transformation negates the need for analyst’ intervention so our customers create opportunities for straight-through processes in their KYC operations.

Banks, large legal companies and corporates are embracing RPA as one plank of their digital transformation. With unmatched knowledge of their internal systems, their technical teams are quickly moving to automate routine work.

As a RegTech with a reputation for partnering to deliver successful transformation projects, Encompass harnesses our unrivalled knowledge of the external data systems relied on in KYC with IPA to automate beyond the reach of RPA alone. This approach allows our customers to maintain their momentum for change, achieve fast return on investment while accelerating process cycle times and reducing operational costs and error rates in KYC.



Why it is time to overhaul manual processes

Author: Mike Kearney

As a product marketing professional, Mike specialises in technologies that deliver business innovation by managing, analysing and presenting information. Mike’s career spans working in Australia, Europe and USA with experience in financial services, telecommunications, energy, pharmaceuticals, electronics and public sector, and with vendors including Netezza, Oracle, Vignette, BMC Software, and IBM.

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