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Keep control with RPAs – the new macros

IT departments have a really difficult job and are pulled in all sorts of directions: do this, use this new technology, understand the business of each department, digitise our business right now. There are just too many demands so specialist departments like corporate treasury are very wary of letting IT or SAP getting control because they just don’t understand the business, e.g. corporate treasury departments that have SAP imposed on them often find that they have to accept that some of the corporate treasury functionality that they used to have, is no longer available to them. This is why so many departments have fought to have their own dedicated specialist corporate treasury management system because it is such a different area, and also used Excel to develop additional dedicated models for particular areas.

Excel is used primarily for specific calculations and modelling, but there has always been the need for routines to carry out specific functions, e.g. converting the file format of a bank’s cash management reports to central accounts SAP format. This is where new technology, Robotics Process Automation, comes in and is taking over in a growing number of corporate treasury departments.

RPA processes – the advantages and the problems

For example, Blue Prism, a leading supplier of Robotic Process Automation Platforms, is “being used by accredited operational business teams to rapidly and cost-effectively build their own process automation to support ever-changing business initiatives and operational demands, within an IT governed framework.” This shows the problems and the advantage of RPA processes and platforms:

  • Advantages:
    • RPA can be used by operational teams, e.g. the corporate treasury department, to quickly and cost-effectively their own process automation to support ever-changing business initiatives and operational demands without having to wait for IT to “get round to it”
  • Disadvantages:
    • IT loses control, there is no longer “an IT governed framework”
    • Just like with Excel macros there can be, no backup and rigorous documentation, etc.

What is happening in corporate treasury departments today

Corporate treasurers are not waiting for the central IT department to ‘get round to our problems’. There are different experiences:

  • Some are recruiting or training their staff to write RPAs direct, NOT waiting for the IT department as they don’t understand the problem and they never deliver
  • Others use RPAs to retain control  of their systems development
  • Many re finding that the biggest problem is to get permission for their IT department to actually develop an RPA process
  • Others have tried writing the RPAs themselves but found it better/faster to use small RPA team in India
  • Some RPAs work better with particular applications, e.g. Omnify on ION TMS, and Imacros for cash management
  • Citrix doesn’t work well with some RPA systems
  • Some central IT departments have standardised on one RPA system and are insisting that the corporate treasury departments use this one only.

CTMfile take: Developing and writing RPA is already an essential part of the corporate treasury department’s development and efficiency. Waiting for the central IT department mostly doesn’t work. The question remains as to how to manage their development.

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This item appears in the following sections:
Best Practices & Benchmarking
Control & Compliance in Operations
Operational Risk Management
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