Interview: Tips on RPA Deployment from Allied Irish Banks [Part One]

Lorraine Duffy gives her top tips for businesses at the start of RPA deployment

Katie Sadler
Posted: 11/01/2017

Lorraine Duffy, Head of Process Improvement at Allied Irish Banks and key speaker at Robotic Process Automation & AI Week in London November 27-29 explains how “robotics helps connect the customer journey” and why RPA has a “very strong role to play in activities deemed non-value”. Duffy provides her top tips for businesses at the start of RPA deployment…

Lorraine, could you tell me a little about your role at Allied Irish Banks and your area of expertise? 

I work in Allied Irish Bank’s customer services, which is the banking operations side. I’ve been working in customer services for about four years. My role is Head of Process Improvement, and my accountabilities over the last number of years have been in the lean re-engineering space. We ran a transformation program which centered on technology, people and capability around demand capacity planning, BPM solutions and new work flow solutions. Now, we’re on a digital strategic journey.  I’m specifically leading the ‘robotics hub’ within customer services robotics. We hire in our developers and our infrastructure support while I define the requirements and   design the solutions.    

Why did Allied Irish Banks decide to deploy robotics to enhance customer service?  

We have ambitions for being a digital bank. We’ve had those ambitions for a number of years.  So as part of that ambition, we always look to new technologies and solutions that are out there in the market. Chatbots, robotics, AI, and all those other wonderful things, would be standard parts of our research, innovation and investment. Over the last three years we’ve received  $998m+ (€850m) investment in our infrastructure, and robotics was deemed a suitable for part of that.  

Fundamentally, the reason we’re using robotics in my part of the business is because we have a lot of processes built around products and technology. Some of our IT footprint comprises of legacy systems, which would be typical in much of the financial services industry. When we try to re-engineer this end-to-end it can have a very high cost. In some instances – with regulation and quality control interacting across various systems while executing a process – we’ve found robotics have a very strong role to play in activities which were deemed non-value.  

The first robotics journey we went on was within our fraud process.  When a customer identifies fraud on their account, we go through the process to identify that fraud, investigate, refund the customer and claim back any fees that are due. Robotics helped us connect this customer journey through a low cost model.  

We’re using automation for all the usual industry marks. We have controls and checks, reporting, reconciliation, repetitive tasks, high amount of re-keying from one system to the other, so we’re using robotics in that space to allow our people to focus on customer value add activities rather than doing repetitive tasks that take away from their ability to focus on that. 

How does the bank’s RPA solution improve the customer journey? 

Connecting the customer journey is the way we would see it.  My work this morning was to set out our strategy for 2018, looking at all of the different solutions that we have available to us and how they’re working together. I really see robotics as one tool to connect the journey.   

When service journeys or chains get broken as you move between different systems, functions and processes, BPM workflow and robotics help rebuild that journey and fix those broken chains.  

We also find robotics a very powerful tool in handling paper based processing.  When customers don’t want to communicate with us online, or we don’t have the ability for them to fully communicate with us online, we use data extract scanning technologies and robotics to help rejoin the customer and the digital journey.

To find out how the Allied Irish Bank decided on the 'right' RPA solution and their process on finding vendors check out part TWO 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: 11/01/2017


Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Nashville Airport Marriott, Nashville, TN