Robotic process automation (RPA) in banking got off to an early start, but it isn’t the only type of process automation used in financial institutions (FIs) today. The other type is workload automation (WLA). As the event-driven automation (EDA) in WLA grows increasingly sophisticated, automation in banking is fast expanding from RPA into WLA for purposes like job scheduling, regulatory compliance, cloud migration, and even disaster recovery.
Both types of process automation in the banking sector can be very useful, but there are many differences between WLA and RPA for banks. Essentially, RPA performs front-end process automation on the desktops of business users, whereas WLA operates on servers and tends to carry out back-end process automation. Both types of automation banking can work well together in complementary ways.
RPA vs. WLA
RPA software uses bots programmed to do basic data entry tasks that would otherwise be done by business users, enabling them to spend their time on higher-value tasks instead. Electronic form-filling is just one example of a chore often automated through RPA. The scalability of RPA is low, though, in that it tends to work well in very siloed tasks, but doesn't handle a lot of conditionals or complexity very well. Also, RPA is often implemented at the departmental level, sometimes even without the initial knowledge or involvement of IT.
In contrast, WLA software is capable of monitoring, scheduling, and administering scripts and executables across multiple departments and even entire enterprises. Typically implemented by IT and Operations teams, this highly scalable technology can automate just about any process involving servers, data centers, and applications, including some mobile solutions.
WLA grows up
Mainly because it’s relatively simple to implement, RPA gained traction early on for routine but tedious banking tasks like credit application processing, payroll systems, and account closures. Results for RPA in banks have been mixed, however. Organizations have encountered obstacles around bot scalability as well as RPA product design, change management issues, and RPA project governance, for instance, according to CIO magazine.
For its part, WLA got some of its first uses in the finance sector among new entrants, primarily due to relatively easy implementation in those settings. Startups such as Funding Circle, Monza, and ING deployed WLA right from scratch for core banking functions and regulatory compliance purposes, notes DiscussingIT.com. Without legacy servers and data centers already in place, the startups faced no systems integration issues.
These days, WLA is also under adoption by some of the world’s major established banks. That’s because top-of-the-line WLA platforms like OpCon have perfected DevOps architectures that use either direct connectors, APIs, or REST interfaces to automate just about any business process running on any operating system used in the bank, legacy or not, whether in the cloud or on-premise.
Quick evolution of EDA
Much like system-wide connectivity, the EDA functionality in WLA platforms has shown dramatic improvements over the past two decades. EDA uses events and workflows to automate system activities. When an event happens, it triggers a workflow or a series of automated steps for responding to the event. A workflow can be as simple as sending out an alert or notification to employees, or as complicated as initiating fail-over operations.
Even as far back as 2006, with the release of OpCon 3.31, organizations using the OpCon workload automation platform could easily define and set alerts for email, text messages, the Windows Event Log, network messages, SNMP traps, SPO, and OpCon events, all from a single screen.
Today, highly complex workflows mapped into Opcon can be triggered by a practically limitless range of events, including emails, system messages, end user actions, or environmental sensors in IoT. In fact, just about any action can be automated as an event, whether it originates in the cloud, a mobile or wearable device, or a voice-activated source. OpCon, like many competing WLA platforms, is mostly agnostic about the input source. It can talk to almost anything.
The automated workflows in WLA platforms can control cross-departmental front-office activities and customer interactions along with back-office processes and infrastructure tasks like cloud servers and services, software updates, SLA management, and disaster recovery.
Support for more contingencies
Meanwhile, EDA controls have gotten increasingly granular, supporting “if/then” contingencies that are more and more complicated. Quite commonly, systems are scripted to issue alerts only if events can’t be remediated through automation but require human interventions instead.
With WLA in place, IT and business professionals at your bank don’t get inundated by barrages of unnecessary emails and texts. Employees can focus on those events most in need of their expert knowledge and skillsets.
Two complementary approaches
OpCon’s integration capabilities extend to RPA bank applications, too. So your bank can continue to leverage its existing investments in RPA while moving automation into the system-wide environment of WLA.