Interview: Tips on RPA deployment from Allied Irish Banks [Part two]

Katie Sadler
Posted: 11/07/2017

Lorraine Duffy, Head of Process Improvement at Allied Irish Banks and key speaker at Robotic Process Automation & AI Week in London November 27-29. Duffy gives an insight into how to find suitable Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software vendors….

SEE ALSO: Interview: Tips on RPA deployment from Allied Irish Banks [Part One]

How did you decide the on ‘right’ RPA solution for Allied Irish Banks [AIB] and was this developed in house or externally?

We issued request for proposals (RFPs) to find the right RPA solution. Our innovation center team looks to the market to run proof of concept type scenarios.  We provide the vendors with test cases and access to test systems. They then build automations for us using Gartner recommended tools.

Following this, we create a shortlist of three and based on our experience of working with those tools – seeing how they worked within our infrastructure, how they worked within our environment, the skills required etc. – we make a decision.

Did you set a deployment timeline?

Yes, I believe we were up and running within six weeks. Following signing of contracts and setup, we were running fairly quickly.

What challenges have you faced during the process?

I found the request for proposals (RFPs)  process quite smooth.  The vendors we spoke to were very knowledgeable, very open.  Compared to other RFPs I’ve been involved in, all where quite honest with what their tool did and didn’t do and how it compared to their competitors. 

I think having the chance to use tooling before buying helped greatly and enabled us to finalize the proof of concept quickly. It also gave us a real feel for what we were getting into.

What results have you witnessed so far and when do you think you will see a return on investment?

We were seeing a return on investment almost immediately. It’s hard to put exact numbers on it just yet. I currently have three automations underway and we expect to have payback within about six months.

Have you measured customer satisfaction? What has the response been following interaction with robots?

The implemented automations haven’t been front customer facing. As part of a wider program, which is going to be the focus of my talk in November, we’re going to look at the need to connect the customer to back office operations through data.

We know back office operations can continue to reduce costs and make things go faster. However, understanding what processes you should automate versus the ones that you should keep manual can pose a dilemma. Robotics will be one tool that might help us in that space.

I’m not in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space just yet but I’m starting to look at where this might help us. We’re still in the design phase.  We have some plans for AI in 2018 but I have seen its use in one of our home mortgage automations. Where the service may have taken about five days, it’s now same day.  So you will see less delays and greater improvements in that space.

To find out how the Allied Irish Bank is ensuring that  RPA data is compliant with new EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that are coming into force next year check out part THREE of the interview with Lorraine Duffy next week.

If you’re currently using RPA or if you're considering it for your organization download a copy of RPA and Enterprise Automation for more insight on how RPA can be deployed effectively.


Katie Sadler
Posted: 11/07/2017