The Huge Challenges Facing APAC FSIs in Digital Workforce Building

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While 60% of tier-1 Asia/Pacific banks and insurance companies will deploy intelligent digital workforce solutions by 2021, these early emerging tech adopters are facing different challenges, said IDC.

The advisory firm defines an intelligent digital workforce as one that comprises of intelligent digital workers— essentially software robots that can perform both deterministic and non-deterministic tasks by continuously understanding and analyzing structured and unstructured data.

“They represent rules and judgement-based automation, and, like their human counterparts, they are both self-learning and self-healing workers that can discover patterns to predict decisions and even offer recommendations to improve them,” said Sneha Kapoor, Research Manager at IDC Financial Insights Asia/Pacific.

According to the firm, that’s different from RPA (robotic process management), which is often seen as the essential first step towards automation.

“We think RPA can be more accurately described as part of a continuum of technology-enabled initiatives that will bring intelligence into the automation of business processes,” Kapoor said.

 Challenges facing emerging tech adopters

IDC pointed out that many financial services institutions (FSIs) in Asia/Pacific excluding Japan that embraced RPA have not been able to scale their automation deployments.

In addition, many early adopters that tried to imbue intelligence with Cognitive/AI technologies and innovative tools in the automation of their business processes haven’t realized the value they expected from their intelligent automation initiatives, IDC added.

In the region, while Australia and Singapore are steadily progressing toward adopting intelligent digital workforce solutions, many FSIs in India, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are eager to make the leap towards a digital workforce, IDC observed.

The next two to three years will be crucial as more and more institutions reap significant benefits from implementation, and more successful functional- and vertical-specific use cases are presented in the market, with vendor solutions also becoming more advanced, Kapoor said.

How to select your tech provider

The advisory firm also pointed out that companies that plan to deploy intelligent digital workforce solutions need to consider six core characteristics that typically help deliver more favorable results.

They include simplicity, usability, re-usability by business users, ability to deliver enterprise-wide scale, security and governance as the foundational tenets, according to IDC.

It should also include availability of “real-time” operations analytics, an intelligence powered by cognitive/AI technologies and innovative tools, and a strong support extended by the ecosystem, the firm added.