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As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, financial institutions all across the world are under intense pressure to improve efficiency, reduce costs and boost productivity. Indeed, there is now a considerable global need for the financial-services industry to evolve comprehensively from traditional, age-old business models. In response, automation has come to represent a hefty chunk of that evolution, with robotic process automation (RPA) in particular set to play a pivotal role in task execution within financial institutions during the next few years. Combining robotic automation and artificial intelligence, RPA is the process of automating across applications and systems to perform repetitive tasks that were once performed by humans. It is sometimes also known as “smart automation” or “intelligent automation” and thus refers to any software system that can be programmed to perform tasks that previously required the input of human intelligence to be successfully completed. “RPA is at the forefront of human-computer technology and provides players in the financial services industry with a virtual workforce that is rule[s] based and is set up to connect with your company’s systems in the same way as your existing users,” Accenture stated. “With robotics, automate and build an automation platform for your front office, back office and support functions.” And with several repetitive, often mundane tasks currently being completed by employees now set to be carried out by this automation platform, RPA clearly has profound implications for the financial-services industry in terms of transforming the nature of work within banks, delivering significant gains in customer experience as well as reducing costs and allocating scarce productive resources more efficiently. Some of the key benefits of handing over such tasks to robotics include cost savings; time savings, with RPA freeing up time for employees to work on more complex tasks; a reduction, or perhaps even elimination, of human error; and scalability, with robots capable of performing tasks at speeds unmatched by any human.
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