Robotics: ICICI Bank gets the new denomination

|September 8, 2016 0
Over 200 software robots are performing over 10 lakh banking transactions every working day. No, it won't affect employees negatively, it explains

MUMBAI, INDIA: Software robotics led business processes could hit a number of 500 by end of this fiscal, ensuring that software robots undertake 20 per cent of the business processes at a place where more than 10 lakh transactions a day are presenting using Software Robotics. Or about 10 per cent of its processing volume.

Where? It’s not an industrial set-up, a factory floor or a spaceship-garage. But a bank! ICICI Bank.

It appears to have grabbed the pioneer-seat in India with the use of software robotics in banking.

Citing a seven-step process of ATM query resolution which RBI mandates to be resolved within seven days, and which the bank used to solve in 12 hours, but is now being tackled in four hours; the bank has announced that robotics is here to stay, and grow.

Here’s what happens: The bank has deployed Robotics to perform end-to-end steps involved in the processing of Form 15G / 15H and ATM query resolution. These are high customer-impact and complex processes which involve multiple steps cutting across multiple systems, thereby requiring a large turnaround time for closure.

The software robots undertake the entire activity of checking the various applications to understand the query and even sends a final SMS to the customers mentioning the resolution and closure of the Service Request. With Software Robotics, the bank can significantly reduce the processing time by more than 60 per cent, thus resulting in a faster service turnaround time to our customers. Similarly, there are significant time efficiencies that have taken place for many business processes like, mobile number updation for internet banking alerts, ECS presentation for loan repayments, Aadhar details validation, importer-exporter code validations and debit card re-issuance among many others.

That explains why the bank wants to double the number to 500 processes by end of fiscal year.

And why it claims to be the first bank in the country and among few, globally, to roll-out ‘Software Robotics’.

Responding to a CIOL query on the choice of some processes for this innovation, it was explained that the bank has essentially chosen to introduce software robotics across processes that are manual, repetitive, have high volume and need inputs from multiple applications. So far, this has been done for specific operations across retail banking operations, agri-business, trade & forex, treasury and human resources among others and going forward, the bank will continue to deploy this across the organisation.

Earlier at a press meet, its chieftain termed this a milestone in innovation in the Indian banking industry and lauded how software robotics allows the bank to use software robots to avoid routine and automate regular transactions.

It was also hinted that the technology was mostly developed in-house leveraging latest tools including AI, NLP etc that have gone into its development.

So far over 200 processes have been powered that are processing over 10 lakh transcations daily, bringing in massive reduction of processing time for customer services and efficiency improvements, a press update points out.

Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank, also said, “ICICI Bank has a legacy of pioneering innovations in technology to create propositions that provide increased convenience to customers. We have created new paradigms in the financial services industry by taking the lead in introducing path-breaking innovations including internet banking, mobile banking, Tab banking, Touch Banking branches and banking on social media.

We have re-engineered over 200 business processes which are powered by software robots across various functions of the Bank. This initiative marks a milestone in the banking innovation in the Indian banking industry as it joins a select group of overseas organisations which have deployed this unique state-of-the-art robotic technology in such a large way.”

She told that as the software robots are processing over 10 lakh transactions daily, they are bringing in unparalleled operational efficiency, higher accuracy and a massive reduction in processing time for customer services.

“Further, with our retail banking growing at over 25 per cent every year, we will be ready to handle larger volumes with the same resources.” she informed.

However, some obvious displacement worries for people have been dismissed by bank’s initial responses. It feels that Software Technology will also enable its employees to focus on more value-added services while having a better work-life balance.

So far, software robots have reduced the response time to customers by up to 60 per cent and increased accuracy to 100 per cent thereby sharply improving the bank’s productivity and efficiency, as per what the bank shares where it adds that it has also enabled the bank’s employees to focus more on value-added and customer-related functions.

“I believe that the implementation of ‘Software Robotics’ will herald a transformational change in the Indian banking industry. We plan to more than double the software robots to over 500 by end of this fiscal.” The CEO mentioned.

The software robots at ICICI Bank are configured to capture and interpret information from systems, recognize patterns and run business processes across multiple applications to execute activities including data entry and validation, automated formatting, multi-format message creation, text mining, workflow acceleration, reconciliations and currency exchange rate processing among others.

ICICI Bank has deployed these software robots in over 200 business process functions across the organisation including retail banking operations, agri-business, trade & forex, treasury and human resources management among others. The bank leveraged advancements in artificial intelligence such as facial and voice recognition, natural language processing, machine learning and bots among others for this initiative.

ICICI Bank entails a network of 4,451 branches, 14,073 ATMs, call center, internet banking, mobile banking, banking on Facebook & Twitter and ‘Pockets by ICICIBank’ – what it calls – the country’s first digital wallet.

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