If you're considering investing in an RPA solution for your credit union, there are many factors to look at before making the final cut. This blog will take you through all of them.
Let's face it, manual processes and repetitive tasks not only cost you time… they cost you money. RPA solutions can eliminate such costs while increasing the efficiency of your employees.
And that is why today's credit unions are turning to robotic process automation to help them reduce operational costs, increase efficiency and accuracy in processing, report generation, and regulatory compliance, and provide consistent member experience, among other RPA use cases for credit unions.
According to a Gartner CIO study conducted in 2021, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) continues its rapid growth trajectory, growing over 20% per year. From quickly changing legacy processes to helping your credit union manage processes remotely, RPA can securely assist you 24/7 from anywhere.
But as a credit union leader, it can be overwhelming to sort through the technology and terminology to figure out what are the main considerations you should have in mind before deciding on your automation solution that could fit into your institution?
Once you have answers to all the questions above, you can move on to the next step—selecting an RPA solution.
10 Things to consider when choosing the right RPA solution for your credit union
While the adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is on the rise, many credit union leaders are still struggling to know what solution to implement for their institution. There are many solutions out there, and almost all of them claim to be a "game-changer" or a "revolutionary" technology, but few deliver.
And most solutions are costly (run into tens of thousands of dollars) and require considerable time for implementation. This can easily lead credit unions to get stuck in analysis paralysis - with too many options and not enough direction.
That's why we have come up with a proven framework to run through your selected list of RPA tools and come to a conclusion on your final RPA solution.
1. Ease of implementation
The ease of implementation is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an RPA solution. If the solution you choose is not easy to implement, then it will be difficult for you to reap any benefits from it. You should look for a RPA solution with a user-friendly interface and one that has been tried and tested by other credit unions.
Remember, you may find a lot of information available on the RPA vendor websites, but there are some questions you should ask them to understand the ease of implementation.
Here are some of the questions that you can ask the RPA vendor to understand the ease of implementation:
- Does it have an open architecture? If your vendor isn't willing to share its code with you or other third parties, this might be a red flag. The ability to share code is essential for interoperability and collaboration between vendors.
- Does it support all major operating systems? Some vendors only support Windows, while others only support Linux or Unix. This could prevent you from using their solution if your network is based on another operating system.
- What language does it use? Some vendors only use Java, while others use C++ or Python. Make sure your team knows how to program in this language before committing to an RPA solution.
Ask these questions, and make sure you do your own research when evaluating an RPA vendor.
2. Ease of use
When it comes to finding the right RPA solution for your credit union, you want to make sure that it is easy to use. If you have employees who are not familiar with technology, the last thing you want is for them to feel intimidated by their new software.
A good RPA solution will be easy for users to learn and use so that employees don't have to invest in additional training.
Here are some of the questions that you can ask the RPA vendor to help you finalize your ideal RPA solution:
- Is there a learning curve?
- What is your solution's user interface like? Is it intuitive, easy to navigate, and understand?
- Can I train my staff on how to use the platform in-house, or does the vendor provide training?
- Is there a built-in knowledge base for common tasks that staff can leverage when they run into problems?
- Does your solution have workflow rules or approval steps built in so that anyone can make changes without going through proper channels?
Always remember that if a tool is too complicated, it can lead to errors that may be hard to find and fix at a later stage. If you want to avoid making mistakes, then you need automation tools that are easy to use and should provide enough hand holding before your credit union can take off.
Speed is an important factor to consider in your RPA solution for your credit union. It helps with the quick mapping of processes, which is essential when automating a manual process that someone has done by hand for years or even decades. If you do not have the ease for speed, it could take months or even years to automate a process because you will need to first identify each step before creating it as an RPA task in your system, which takes time and money.
The right RPA solution should be able to map your manual processes quickly. You can check whether the tool provides a quick mapping of processes by asking the RPA vendor a few questions:
- How long will it take you to map my existing process?
- How long will it take you to automate the manual process?
- Can I see a demo of how fast you can automate my process?
After you get the answers, write down what you expect from them in terms of speed. This will help you narrow your choices and pick the ideal RPA solution for your credit union.
4. Technical features
It's important to understand the technical features of your chosen RPA solution. These can range from the number of users and concurrent sessions to the types of use cases that are supported.
For example, some solutions may be better suited for low-volume, high-frequency tasks such as data entry, while others are designed for high-volume, low-frequency tasks like batch processing. Some offer only basic scripting capabilities, while others have a much more sophisticated scripting language.
The following is a list of features that should be included in any RPA solution you evaluate for your credit union:
Real-time data capture and transfer: Real-time processing ensures the accuracy of transactions, which is especially important when automating manual processes.
Multiple integration points: An RPA solution should have multiple integration points so that you can connect it with other systems in your credit union. This allows you to automate processes across departments, improving efficiency and reducing redundancies in your operations.
Process automation: The ability to automate processes means that you can reduce costs associated with performing repetitive tasks manually. This helps improve employee productivity while also reducing errors and speeding up the processing time.
Security: While RPA is incredibly secure by itself, it's crucial to ensure that any solution you choose has been checked over by security experts and meets all of your security requirements.
The technical features of an RPA solution can be critical to determining whether or not it's a good fit for your institution. Understanding the level of technical features will help you choose a solution that's right for your credit union.
Cost is a deciding factor in choosing the right RPA solution for your credit union. As a credit union, you're looking for a solution that will bring more efficiency to your business processes and save money along the way. You also want something to help you drive profitability and make employees happier.
The cost of the software will depend on two factors:
- The number of users you plan to have on your system.
- How many bots do you need to create and deploy?
There are two ways to pay for automation: monthly or annual subscription fees and per-bot costs. The first category includes SaaS models that charge a flat rate for as many users as you want but no bots at all.
The second category comprises on-premises solutions that require you to purchase a license for each bot you wish to deploy, which can get expensive fast if you have dozens or hundreds of bots in use at any given time.
Here are some of the questions that you can ask the RPA vendor:
- How much does it cost per seat?
- What kind of software development resources do I need?
- What is the total cost of ownership (TCO)?
- How long is the contract? Can I cancel it at any time?
- How many modules does your solution include out of the box, and how many more can we add at an additional cost?
As a credit union leader, you must consider the total cost of ownership, including hardware and software, as well as ongoing maintenance costs before you finalize your RPA vendor.
When choosing the right RPA solution for your credit union, scalability is a deciding factor.
As regulations evolve and compliance requirements become more complex, you must choose a scalable solution that can grow with you as your needs change over time.
Many credit unions want to get started with RPA quickly, but they also want to make sure they can grow their implementation as needed. Some vendors offer solutions that can be scaled up or down based on your needs. Others require more upfront investment in automation tools.
Check what kind of integration does the RPA vendor offer with other systems? Are there any limits on what types of connections you can make with other systems (e.g., if it's just FTP, email, etc.), or do they have access to more robust connection APIs (Application Programming Interface)?
Look for a vendor with a track record of innovation and technology leadership so they can help you adapt to changing regulatory requirements.
Selecting an RPA solution based on architecture is extremely important as it decides how easy or difficult it will be for you to integrate with other systems in your organization.
For example, suppose your systems are built using different core banking systems, programming languages, or technologies, there may be compatibility issues between them, which could lead to delays in deploying new features or adding new functionalities.
As you begin considering robotic process automation (RPA) solutions, it's essential to understand the different types of architectures available. The type you choose depends on your organization's needs and the amount of investment you can make.
Each architecture has its advantages and disadvantages, so selecting the right one for your organization is essential.
Here's an overview of the three main RPA architecture types:
Cloud-based RPA: Cloud-based RPA solutions are hosted in the cloud, which means they don't require any hardware investment on your part. The downside is that you'll have limited control over the software's architecture or performance. You may also need to pay extra for storage if you're storing large amounts of data or working with a large number of users.
On-premise RPA: On-premise RPA solutions are installed on your own servers and managed by IT staff. This gives you more control over how the software operates, but it can be expensive and time-consuming to install and maintain new versions as they become available.
Hybrid RPA: Hybrid RPA combines the best features of both cloud-based and on-premise options by hosting some components of the solution in the cloud while keeping others local to your business.
You can choose from cloud or on-premise solutions based on the requirements of your organization. If you are looking for a cost-effective option, then cloud-based solutions are best suited for you. On the other hand, if security is a concern, then on-premise solutions will be ideal.
8. Exception handling
Exception handling is crucial in choosing the right RPA solution for your credit union.
Handling exception is an integral part of the process because it ensures that the system doesn't miss any exceptions or errors during its operation.
Exception handling is the process of detecting and resolving errors in a transaction before it gets completed. This process is also known as exception management or exception processing. Exception management involves identifying and addressing mistakes made by an automated process before the result of that mistake reaches the end-user. It also involves automatically correcting errors that have already reached the end-user.
This is important because you don't want your employees focusing on fixing all kinds of mistakes instead of doing what they are paid for – serving members!
Some RPA solutions allow you to define exceptions and conditions that stop the process execution when they occur. Other solutions don't provide this feature, which means that if there's an exception, the entire process fails and stops.
In both cases, it will take longer for you to fix the problem than if you had a proper exception handling mechanism built into your system from the start. So, watch for it!
9. Vendor support
One of the most important factors in choosing the right RPA solution is vendor support. It's hard enough to get new technology up and running without worrying whether or not you can get help when you need it.
You should be able to get the answers you need when you need them from the vendor's support team. They should be able to offer advice on how best to implement their solution within your organization and any potential issues that might arise during implementation. The vendor should also provide training sessions so that employees can learn how to use the software effectively and efficiently.
Here are some of the questions that you can ask the RPA vendor:
- What kind of support does the vendor offer?
- Do you offer 24/7 support?
- What is your SLA (Service Level Agreement)?
- Is it through email or phone?
- How quickly will they respond to your queries?
- What kind of training do I get? Is it included in my package, or do I need to pay extra money?
You also want to ensure that there are no hidden costs associated with using this type of solution. Some vendors may charge a monthly fee just for having access to their software. Or charge extra if you want additional features or functionality added on top of what is already included in their base product offering (so check all terms carefully).
Governance should not be confused with the overall architecture or design of an RPA platform. It is more about how well the platform performs, how easy it is to use, and how much visibility you get on the entire operations.
Governance is nothing but dashboards and monitoring mechanisms of your RPA solution.
Governance provides you with the ability to monitor all your processes from a single dashboard. It helps you report the status of each process at any point in time with minimal effort. If there are any bottlenecks or problems in any process, it will alert you immediately to take appropriate actions quickly and efficiently.
A good governance dashboard would be able to show the following:
- The solution's performance measures specific metrics like transaction volume, average response time, error rates, etc.
- The performance of individual processes or tasks executed by the software robots can be measured using KPIs like throughput, accuracy, etc.
- The status of the current state of execution (in progress or completed) and any errors or exceptions that may have occurred during the process execution.
Choosing a vendor is a critical decision that will directly impact your credit union's future. You must take the time to research your options before making a final decision. This will help ensure that you select the right vendor and avoid any potential problems down the road.
Are you wondering how you can use RPA to increase your team's productivity while reducing overheads and threats? Zuci is here to help, with experienced experts to guide you through all stages of implementing intelligent automation.
Book a demo to ask your questions and discuss how Zuci Systems enables credit unions with robotic automation solutions.