Embedding automation and artificial intelligence into culture
Gesturing to the mint colored typewriter on the table, BBVA US Director of Risk Technology and Productivity Amory Booher said, “Technology has a lifecycle with a start and end date. For instance, the computer changed how we interacted with typewriters. Similarly, artificial intelligence and cognitive capabilities are changing how we interact with computers. We don’t know if these technological advancements will be as significant as going from the typewriter to the computer, but it’s incumbent on us to understand how these technologies are being applied so we can use them to make our lives better.”
With that, Booher kicked off the first Risk Innovation Workshop for his colleagues across all areas of BBVA US Global Risk Management. The workshop was concepted by the Risk Technology and Productivity team as an avenue to discuss and understand artificial intelligence and automation, with an objective to begin thinking about these technologies as a path toward greater efficiency, deeper transformation and growth.
Booher: By better understanding automation, we can use it to gain momentum and capacity, which ultimately leads to growth.
“We have teams in Risk that focus on implementing better decisioning engines for customers,” he said. “At its core, that is exactly what automation is - a decisioning process that says ‘if this, then that.’ By better understanding automation, we can use it to gain momentum and capacity, which ultimately leads to growth.”
Booher said the workshop is a good first step to demonstrate the capabilities of automation to the Risk team and to encourage them to think about processes in their areas of oversight that might benefit from a robot. He believes, though, that embedding automation into the culture of the entire bank can drive deeper digital transformation.
“Automation is a tool to make certain processes more efficient, and as such, it gives people the opportunity to play a role in driving digital transformation, regardless of where they sit,” he said. “By driving exposure to the capabilities of automation, people begin to see easy ways to make some of their processes botable, which helps us drive change management adoption and bring cultural change.”
Beyond that, he says, previous experience with making processes botable provides good return on investment, but cautioned, ”It takes a willingness and ability to find processes that can be automated and then follow through on it.”
Lacerenza: Robotics will undoubtedly create efficiencies in our current workload, but what I find most exciting is the scalability it offers.
BBVA Compass Manager of Risk Capital & Portfolio Strategy Chris Lacerenza said, “Robotics will undoubtedly create efficiencies in our current workload, but what I find most exciting is the scalability it offers. I'm sure my team is not alone because we all have many things we'd like to accomplish, but may not have the resource capacity presently. Robotics might be the lever that enables us to achieve these goals.”
In terms of BBVA US’ experience with automation, Booher says that the bank is on par with, if not exceeding, its peers in terms of level of execution, with the bank’s Mortgage, Commercial Underwriting, Fraud, Compliance, Finance, Loan Operations and Engineering teams all using robots to automate certain processes.
“This is part of the lifecycle of technology, where initially only certain people with specialized skills can utilize the tool,” Booher said. ”But as the toolset evolves, no longer do you have to have specialized training to operate it. The same is happening with automation. New frameworks have allowed for it to be operationalized, increasing the value to the business and positively impacting culture and digital transformation.”