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TESTIMONY – Scaling up RPA to Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance

At Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance, RPA first came into being a few years ago. The first automations generated interest such that RPA is now a company-wide project. How can we successfully scale it? 5 points that contributed to this success…

Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance (CACF) is a major consumer credit player with operations in Europe, China and Morocco. CACF partners with major players such as Fnac-Darty, La Redoute, Le Printemps, Tesla, FIAT, Ikea, etc. It has 9 million customers and manages a €91 billion fund.

In order to meet new needs for process optimisation and digitisation, CACF has started several Robotic Process Automation (RPA) projects associated with Artificial Intelligence. “Within a company, digitisation and automation become essential, they produce more revenue”, says Pascal Piekos, Head of Cross-Functional Operations at the Digital Services Department, Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance.

CACF was seduced by the first results that RPA provided, and the business lines were quickly in need of more automation. The Group therefore wanted to move to another level, that of the company, with a major advantage: the experience acquired enabling it to avoid certain potential pitfalls.

 

Implement a special five-point RPA roadmap

 

In this context, a specific roadmap was drawn up by CACF with the assistance of the TALAN teams. It is divided into five key points.

  1. Forming a team as close as possible to the business lines

The business and technical problems encountered in an RPA project are diverse and varied, hence the need to have a team capable of adapting, analysing and resolving problems. Expertise will then come.

The first step was therefore to form a team as close as possible to the businesses in order to be able to automate their processes. Indeed, the involvement of the businesses is a key factor in the success of an RPA project, this proximity will not only enable the success of projects but also contribute to the development of the team's expertise.

A good team mindset and a pinch of good practices are essential, expertise is subsidiary

 

  1. Implement a steering system

Governance and steering are equally essential, as Pascal Piekos states: “We are constantly deploying three to five robots, and each one is a business project; our teams are guided by methodological frameworks. ”

Whether we are talking about RPA or Smart Automation, this is a project in itself, which must be well structured, agile and accompanied by a human system

 

  1. Choosing RPA tools that are easy to master

There are many RPA platforms. Choice in terms of functionality, scalability and security is essential. “This is particularly true for a bank, an area in which we handle sensitive data” emphasises Pascal Piekos. In terms of RPA, UiPath has proved to be the best tool for CACF. “A tool that is easy to master in a few days. However, the simpler the platform, the more you limit the need for costly expertise.” The teams must be able to analyse each problem to resolve it under the best conditions. Development platforms evolve rapidly and require that we remain up to date.

 

In addition, setting up a development framework well upstream guarantees the robustness of the robot. As each developer is forced to use it, it is also possible to save time: 20% of development time for CACF.

 

The choice of the RPA platform is essential to the success of the project, especially when scaling up. This choice must be made taking into account the company's ambitions.

 

  1. Ensure high responsiveness while maintaining quality

“Zero maintenance does not exist” recalls Elias Daher, Director of Smart Automation & Platforms at Talan, whose teams support CACF. Indeed, many upgrades can fail simply because of costly maintenance that quickly discourages the business lines.

 

Responsiveness is another point to consider. “We carry out ‘cold’ assessments to check that the robots deployed do indeed provide the expected ROI, which is very valuable in a regulatory framework such as that of the bank” says Pascal Piekos.

Controlling the production of an RPA project is synonymous with its success

  1. Being pragmatic, transparent and communicating with IT

Lastly, the implementation of RPA projects requires establishing and maintaining an open relationship with IT services. “IT managers are generally ‘frightened’ by the arrival of robots: it is important to have demos to show them” explains Pascal Piekos.

And according to Elias Daher, who led the project with CACF, the key lies in two precise terms communication and transparency.

 

RPA does not compete with traditional IT but enhances it

 

RPA mania at CACF?

In practice, CACF went from project to project, until RPA became a global corporate project. “RPA quickly generated an ROI and generated a form of RPA-mania in our business lines. We set up a whole organisation of a shared platform so that each department could communicate its feedback to us. We had started off in a somewhat experimental way. After six months, the management asked us for 12 robots per year, then 24 …” concluded Pascal Piekos.

“At a more global level, this is a model that can be applied to very many companies. Those that survive are not the strongest or the smartest, but those that adapt best (and fastest) to changes” summarises Elias Daher.

 

To find out more about this mission, click here for Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance's video testimonial at the Automation Week webinar!