Corn'e Janse van Rensburg, head of business enablement at WesBank.

Corn'e Janse van Rensburg, head of business enablement at WesBank.

For some time, banks have been looking to automation to deliver the next wave of productivity, cost savings and better customer experiences, and WesBank is no different.

Corn Janse van Rensburg, head of business enablement at WesBank, says there is always a need in the bank to explore alternative methods of driving efficiency, and robotics was one of the options selected for further investigation.

"We ultimately decided to do a proof of concept on robotic process automation (RPA) so that we could determine if it could work with our environment."

He stresses the importance of change management in the RPA journey: "RPA brings with it the normal elements of disruptive technology in that it speaks directly to people's fear of change, and in particular the fear of job losses. That is why I call it an HR challenge more than an IT challenge."

WesBank has been able to automate a number of processes and, at the same time, reskill its staff.

"We have been able to develop our staff members' level of competence in robotics though our own RPA academy, which has resulted in numerous people changing their prior fields of occupation to robotics," adds Janse van Rensburg.

Another point of possible failure is the relationship and level of partnering between business and IT. "Given that RPA is a business-driven initiative, the buy-in and guidance of IT in the process is critical," he points out.

Janse van Rensburg will present a case study entitled "Loving your robot: A short story about the introduction of RPA into WesBank", at ITWeb BPM and Automation Summit 2019, to be held on 9 April, at The Forum in Bryanston.

He will share some of the key lessons learnt regarding processes, people and tools, and will advise attendees how to have realistic expectations of the ROI that can be expected from an RPA exercise.