Building a Digital Workforce with Société Générale

Written by Shail Khiyara in Software robots in the workplace on March 28, 2017

Our March 2017 BotVisions webinar featured Veronique Sani, CEO of Société Générale's (SG) Global Solutions Center, who treated participants to an insider's look at RPA usage in the banking industry, and insights into her financial institution's automation and innovation journey.

To set the stage, SG is one of the biggest banks in France, with 146,000 employees representing 122 nationalities in 66 countries across three divisions: French retail banking, international retail banking and financial services, and global banking and investor solutions. The Global Solutions Center, based in Bangalore, India, is responsible for technology, operations, and infrastructure management services.

Banks' shared services and global in-house center challenges
The discussion began with a focus on the challenges that banks' shared services and global in-house centers are facing today. The first Veronique cited was that with their global responsibility comes higher expectations of expertise, level of ownership, and ability to transform processes. While they previously could have followed the lead of their global partners, they are now expected to deliver even more value, which requires transformation of the global processes, managerial practices, staff, and delivery platform.

The second challenge she cited was regulatory pressures. This is a two-pronged issue as it involves not only compliance with constantly changing regulatory requirements, but also acceleration of the digital transformation necessary to deliver a better customer experience.

How RPA can solve those challenges
Veronique was quick to provide the context that people should not underestimate banks' transformation mindset. Indeed, banking leaders are increasingly realizing that they have to learn technology, and understand how it can help redesign the client experience and bring more value to clients. Thus, she's seeing a big banking push not only for RPA, but also for the incorporation of machine learning and artificial intelligence into RPA. She believes RPA will take the lead over the other more complex technologies for two reasons: it's relatively easy for delivery managers and employees who are not technology specialists to adopt, and the benefits are also very quickly visible.

SG's own RPA journey started last year, with two big, Automation Anywhere-based RPA projects. One is for the investment banking division, and the other is for corporate functions: HR, finance, and compliance processes. Within just a few months they had already identified a wide range of use cases. One in particular that she demonstrates not only within her organization but to others in the industry, is around Know Your Customer (KYC.) She explained that the bot takes all the documents on the websites and puts them in a folder, properly named and sorted. That's all done at night, so the analyst first thing in the morning can fully concentrate on the judgmental part of the work, rather than the more administrative tasks.

The Key Takeaways
Veronique cited three key success takeaways for people beginning, or considering, an RPA journey.

  • Establish conviction for the RPA program among your leadership team and key stakeholders. Take the time necessary to evangelize and explain.
  • Place immense focus on the people impact by running a people program in parallel with your RPA program.
  • Carefully evaluate and select your tool and consulting/implementation partners.

To learn more about Veronique's view on how shared services organizations can take the lead to implement RPA to solve financial institutions' challenges, other RPA use cases within SG, the importance of the people impact and re-skilling your employees, and more, please access our Building a Digital Workforce with Société Générale webinar.