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The Challenge

As a customer-owned bank, P&N provides its customers with a genuine alternative to traditional banking institutions. Jill Marks, General Manager of Business Transformation at P&N Bank, confirmed, “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. We aim to provide an experience that sets us apart from competitors—that includes offering friendly, responsive service, as well as products designed to put customers' interests first.”
 
To lift service levels and operational efficiency even higher, P&N wanted to gain deeper insight into key business processes, covering everything from day-to-day account maintenance to deposits and loan processing. The newfound visibility would enable the bank to make targeted improvements, helping teams manage transactions and customer requests faster and more accurately.

“In the past, we were effectively running the business on spreadsheets, so when a customer submitted an enquiry or transaction request, it was very difficult for us to track how that work item moved through our system,” said Marks. “We lacked a clear view of the volumes of work we were processing, how long it took to process and what levels of service we were offering to customers. We wanted to improve our visibility and control of these back-office processes, so that our teams could get through their work faster and more efficiently which in turn, would enable us to deliver a better service.”

The Solution

P&N turned to Kofax partner Process Automation Group to help optimize the bank’s back-office operations. As a first step, P&N introduced a work management system called OmniFlow, which harnesses Kofax TotalAgility software to digitize, structure and streamline processes.

“As a small bank, we need to make every investment dollar count, and we rely on a good relationship with our partners and vendors to do so,” noted Marks. “Process Automation Group did an excellent job using Kofax software to develop a tailored work management system for us.”
 
Currently, P&N is orchestrating some 90 different processes with Kofax TotalAgility, including information-intensive activities such as loan applications and account management. The new system provides teams with unprecedented visibility and control of workload, and has delivered significant efficiency gains and service level improvements.

Marks stated, “After we introduced OmniFlow and Kofax TotalAgility, our productivity improved by over 20 percent, so our staff now get through more work in less time. Our teams in the back office have absolute clarity over what work items are in the system, what stage they are in the process and how long they’ve been there. Plus, there are now defined workflows for moving items through our system, making end-to-end processes more consistent and straightforward.”

She added, “We are now in complete control of what’s happening across the back office, and that’s allowed us to hit our service-level agreements [SLAs] consistently. In fact, we’re meeting back-office SLAs almost 100% of the time. Most importantly, these improvements behind the scenes translate into better service to our customers—we can turn around customer requests and enquiries much more quickly, making their interactions with us fast and friction-free.”

Turning to robotic process automation
Having shaped a smarter approach to process management, P&N looked to lift efficiency even higher by automating repetitive tasks. After evaluating several leading robotic process automation (RPA) solutions, the bank chose Kofax Kapow as its strategic RPA tool because of its rich set of capabilities and ease of use.  

Working together with Process Automation Group, P&N established a robotics center of excellence, creating a new digital workforce that works alongside employees to automate manual data-driven activity and drive greater efficiency across the business.

“In the rapidly changing world of banking, we want RPA to become an intrinsic tool within our overall business – and Kofax Kapow is the ideal solution to enable this goal,” said Marks. “Kapow makes it easy to design and deploy robots, where you don’t have to be a developer to use the solution effectively. With training and guidance from Process Automation Group, we’ve taken users from the business and turned them into robot builders. I don’t think that we would have been able to engage users so successfully with another RPA solution because they demand a much higher level of technical experience.”

With its robotics center of excellence, underpinned by Kofax Kapow technology, P&N is driving a collaborative approach to RPA, bringing together business and IT teams to shape an automation strategy that delivers real value.

Marks continued, “We’ve taken a slightly different approach than other banks who have gone into RPA. We only automate the parts of our processes that give us maximum benefit and instead of hiring a team of developers to build and manage robots, we have worked with Process Automation Group and Kofax to train business users with Kapow. Our team design and build the robots, working closely with IT who then ultimately deploy the robots. We’ve found this approach to be very successful, as it's allowed the business to really take ownership of Kapow and put RPA to work in a way that best fits our needs.”

Putting bots to work
To date, P&N has configured 11 Kapow robots to automate data extraction and integration work across a range of processes, from land title searches to property valuation reports. The bank has deployed several desktop automation robots, which are integrated with Citrix environments and can perform attended tasks side-by-side with business users.

For example, when a customer applies for a home loan, the bank will assess the property to determine its value. This involves obtaining and assessing customer and lending data, as well as valuation reports from different external sources.

P&N has configured two Kapow robots to automatically extract required lending data and order valuation reports, and another two bots to assess the information and upload it to the bank’s core lending platform and progress the deal.

Marks commented, “While this is only the start of our RPA journey, by using Kapow to automate valuation ordering and assessment processes, we can now process our annual lending volumes with 11% less human effort. The bots effectively handle all of the heavy lifting, stepping in to complete repetitive functions and then handing over to our staff if decision-making and more complex tasks are required.”

The Results

Smarter work management and RPA have come together at P&N to power more productive and accurate ways of working than ever before—helping the bank to drive down processing times and minimize risk of error.

“Kofax TotalAgility and OmniFlow brought a big boost to back-office efficiency, and with Kofax Kapow we have taken it to a whole new level,” stated Marks. “We now have a virtual workforce working alongside our teams, handling repetitive tasks far faster than a human ever could. This has helped us to save thousands of hours of work annually across the back office and sped up process times significantly.  Our colleagues also are very positive about working with our new virtual workforce.

“Equally, we are improving the quality and accuracy of our processes. Whereas with manual work, there is always a risk of human error, we can trust the Kapow robots to follow our business rules 100% of the time and complete tasks flawlessly every time.”

Today, enhanced efficiency empowers teams at P&N to handle higher volumes of work in less time and helps the bank drive profitable growth.
Marks confirmed, “We’re still meeting our SLA targets, and we’re doing it with fewer people thanks to Kapow. The productivity improvements have allowed us to avoid hiring new staff in certain areas, and invest those resources into more RPA and other value-added customer facing activities instead. This is incredibly valuable for a small mutual bank like ourselves - Kofax solutions are definitely helping to make us become more scalable, so we can grow our business without driving up costs. As a customer-owned bank, all the profits we make are reinvested in the business, so savings like these add up to even greater value for our customers.”

"This is a very exciting development for P&N as we have only just started on this journey and look forward to applying RPA solutions across all areas of our organisation in the future."

She concludes: “When you combine good technology with good people, you unlock the opportunity to run a better business. Our partnership with Kofax and Process Automation Group is helping us improve both our customer experience and operational efficiency, while making our colleagues' lives easier.”

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