How Digital Workers Put AI to Work

The Great Resignation wave has rapidly rippled across the American labor force, exacerbating the pains of pandemic-affected companies (see Bank of America, as one example). Plus, as customers demand not just increasingly digital experiences but impeccable and instant ones, enterprises like banks and insurers struggle to keep up. An emerging technology, such as machine learning-powered artificial intelligence (AI), is commonly proposed as a solution — we’ve all seen technically and intellectually interesting headlines in recent years. But wanting to apply AI and achieving business value with it are different things.

So how can banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) companies successfully leverage AI to generate true impact?

WorkFusion has introduced Digital Workers to provide an efficient path for positive business outcomes, better customer experience (CX), and improved employee experience (EX). This simplified approach operationalizes AI for automation. These skilled, experienced virtual employees provide a consistent, always-on tech resource, and are also framed with relatable traits like competence, curiosity, and collegiality. Consider them reliable and helpful coworkers for all existing analysts and operators on a team.

Painful CX, disengaged EX can’t be solved with tech alone

Virtually every enterprise is investing in digital customer interfaces. Online portals, mobile apps, chatbots, etc. all simplify business tasks, yet the user interface (UI) alone is not the full CX. Although it’s straightforward to receive a document upload or email, understanding and actioning them can be more complex. When large operational teams fulfill electronically received requests manually (and slowly), this essentially means the company has created a digital façade. And every second that a customer waits for a request to be fulfilled cuts into their expectation of an instantaneous experience.

These operational teams are doing what they can to deliver on customer requests! But, unfortunately, the work itself is often mind-numbing and mundane — activities such as data collection, document handling, and false-positive clearing — which impedes engagement and lowers EX. This not only leads to an unproductive workplace but results in significant hidden costs and risk.

The technology is here to help, but tech needs help to help!

Technology is available to help, but access to tools alone doesn’t solve the problem. Yes, APIs solve connectivity of systems, but many crucial applications can’t leverage APIs. Yes, robotic process automation (RPA) helps solve for lack of APIs and manual use of systems, but often the data (especially documents and document-like data such as emails) needs more handling than a handful of definable rules can accomplish. Yes, optical character recognition (OCR) helps process documents, but with so many types of docs, especially outside of the Finance department and into the lines of business (LOBs), it’s not enough. Yes, machine learning (ML) — particularly natural language processing (NLP) and intelligent document processing (IDP) — works across layouts and templates, but ML-based tools need clean data to start, operate probabilistically, and need continual monitoring and control.

In short: The technology is here to help, but tech needs help to help! Conceptualizing tools as an intelligent digital workforce which can expand the capacity of a team helps simplify how and where these solutions help the organization.

AI and automation for impactful Digital Workers

The concept of “digital workers” has been around for years, promising 24/7/365 availability at perfect, consistent accuracy without fatigue. There is some level of truth to this, if the work is completely definable and codifiable into rules-based algorithms.

WorkFusion’s AI-enabled Digital Workforce exceeds this consistency trait. These Digital Workers have a higher level of competence, having been trained with data (securely) from multiple organizations and taught by subject matter experts in the tasks they automate. They’re curious, able to learn and improve over time, and collegial, successfully passing escalations to people on the team. They’re highly capable, by which we mean they leverage a full set of digital capabilities: machine learning including NLP, pre-built connectors, OCR, etc. work together to automate end-to-end operational processes. And they are cohesive, applicable across the line of business, such as anti–money laundering (AML) in banking and underwriting in insurance.

This comprehensive approach to a digital workforce creates significant impact, particularly when referencing CX and EX. Deutsche Bank has reduced half its handling time in KYC operations through the use of WorkFusion’s automation software. The bank was spending over 40 hours per account in screening and other AML efforts, leaving little time to perform deeper account analysis. With automation in place, not only did they cut the handling time to enhance CX, but gave hours back to the business to enhance growth.

TransUnion has leveraged automation for an EX focus, attempting to “make humans relevant again.” They obviously recognize the need to deliver on mission-critical tasks, but with the belief that happier employees lead to better products, TransUnion is leveraging automation to free up time so employees can focus on more valuable work.

So, what does this new Digital Workforce actually look like?

Meet WorkFusion’s Digital Workforce

WorkFusion is launching an inaugural six workers:

  • Evelyn, Entity Sanction Screening Analyst, analyzes and investigates sanctions alerts regarding entities, individuals and securities. She also searches and reviews databases and media sources to determine relevance of alerts and whether mentions are potentially adverse, compiling facts and records from investigations for compliance and internal audit trail.
  • Tara, Transaction Screening Analyst, analyzes and investigates payment alerts generated against sanctions screening lists originating from free-format SWIFT and FUF messages. She scans internal systems, commercial databases and the public internet; gathers data; and records evidence, compiling facts for compliance and internal audit to ensure adherence to regulatory policies for customers and transactions.
  • Casey, Customer Service Coordinator, engages with customers for required information on account opening and other key processes via email. This Worker evaluates and responds to service inquiries across different communications platforms; routes inquiries among internal departments to address customer requests and obtains internal approvals when needed; and enters orders, opens cases, or completes customer-related tasks in internal systems.
  • Darryl, Customer Due Diligence Program Analyst, captures and interprets ownership and legal structure information for customer onboarding or Know Your Customer (KYC) refresh initiatives. He also provides quality assurance reviews of documents against customer records.
  • Kendrick, Customer Identity Program Analyst, ensures that proof of identity is captured and entered into systems of record for customer onboarding or KYC refreshes. He also reviews customer identity documents for quality assurance.
  • Ilana, Insurance Underwriter, collects, reviews, and analyzes new business applications across commercial lines. She also qualifies accounts according to company guidelines; researches property locations for prior coverage and losses; obtains additional information to determine coverage needs; and enters quotes in quoting and rating system.

It’s a very powerful team, yet that’s just a starting point. These Workers will continue to improve with more skills and increased automation abilities, and will soon be joined by more digital colleagues. Four more Digital Workers are on the way: Carlos (Customer Outreach Analyst), Isaac (Investigations Analyst), Laticia (Lending Operations Analyst), and Shawn (Sales Operations Analyst).

We’re also happy to say, you have an opportunity to meet each of them! I’m co-hosting the WorkFusion Buzz series (live weekly sessions March–April) where we’ll discuss each Digital Worker with experts from WorkFusion.

Putting AI to Work

A suspected cause of the Great Resignation is that people leave jobs where they just don’t like the work itself, often because it is mundane, boring, and seems to offer no future personal or career benefit. Simultaneously, a common cause of customer churn is slow, ineffective service. AI-enabled automation can solve pains in both EX and CX — a rare opportunity for a major, multifaceted improvement. But access to technology only goes so far… it needs to be productively applied! Experienced, skilled Digital Workers put automation in motion, empowering organizations to achieve the business outcomes their customers and employees expect.

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Kyle Hoback
Kyle Hoback

Director, Intelligent Automation

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