The Bottom Line:
When people hear the word “automation,” it sometimes brings visions of robots and flying cars. But at a bank like Regions and other organizations, business leaders are turning to automation to bring more accuracy, consistency and security to the business that ultimately supports the customer experience.
Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty
Bloomberg is hosting a series of panel discussions across the country to highlight automation and its impact on businesses, employees and operations. In Atlanta recently, Neal Shah, head of Enterprise Operations and Technology Strategy and Administration for Regions Bank, joined other technology leaders for a panel, titled “Automation that Packs a Punch,” to discuss how businesses can create high-value projects that work and how to avoid ones that don’t.
Shah shared how Regions has enhanced its strategic planning and prioritization over the years, going through thoughtful processes before allocating capital.
“Narrowing it down starts with what our customers need, what they want and where our associates benefit,” Shah shared with attendees. “There’s a tendency to just get started, to say ‘Here’s something we want to go solve.’ That’s not always the best thing, because there are dependencies, up, down, left and right.”
Where to Start
Shah shared three goals to consider when developing automation projects. These goals align with Regions’ own strategic plan.
- Automating processes can help reduce risks because it provides opportunities for companies to implement more controls that provide greater transparency into operations. Things like time stamping materials and real-time analytics support sound business practices that shape a company for long-term success.
- There is no question, the upfront costs to automate can be significant in employee time and capital. Planning is critical to achieve the best return on investment, because it provides the needed focus to create the building blocks for the operation and momentum for the project. Long-term automation efficiencies provide savings, and the development of new products and services can increase business revenue.
- It isn’t just about cost savings, but also an opportunity to grow a business. Businesses can utilize automation to identify opportunities for growth within an existing customer base and expand to new customers.
Technology is important to workplace culture, and Shah said good communication is the key connection between developers and business leaders.
“So often, a developer walks into a room proud of what has been built and all the capabilities, nonfunctional requirements and scalability it provides, but the business leader has no clue what the developer is talking about,” Shah said. “The key is understanding the business and speaking the language of the business leaders. Our Data and Analytics team has done a great job developing capabilities and marketing them internally as Data Products. Companies should continue to lean into that product development mentality as it really helps connect technology to the business needs.”
Read more about Regions’ approach to technology, innovation and automation below.