IPsoft Digital Workforce SummitBNP Paribas Securities Services implemented Amelia in 2017 to add cognitive and automation skills to its internal and client-facing tools. This process, which began as a small part of the company’s reinvention of its digital operations, is set to partially go live in June 2019. Philippe Ruault, Head of Digital Transformation at BNP Paribas, provided specifics about the project’s history and outlook during a breakout session at this year’s Digital Workforce Summit in New York City.

One of the world’s largest banks by total assets, BNP Paribas spans 72 countries. Ruault is responsible for the Securities Services subsidiary, which is a multi-asset servicing specialist supporting the complete investment cycle on behalf of institutional clients.

“Our role is really to support financial institutions, asset owners, asset managers, banks [and] workers accessing the various markets, the web custodies and assets, and settling their transactions,” said Ruault. “In terms of products and types of customers, we are facing a diversity of products: Asset and front services is what we do for asset managers, we do front accounting, performance measurement, investment compounds…We do reporting, performance reporting, all sets of analytics. We do core banking businesses, custodies, settlements and clearance of trades.”

The Securities Services subsidiary manages operating hubs in China, India, Lisbon and Warsaw, among other locations. The company deals with cross-border interactions between customers, many of which occur in multiple languages. Ruault wanted to find a way to improve the overall customer experience, improve speed, and stay ahead of the competition with emerging technologies.

In 2016, BNP Paribas began researching virtual agents and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions to help accomplish these goals. The following year, the company decided to make an initial investment in Amelia for a proof-of-concept for its NeoLink web portal, which provides access to subscribed services for all client segments. Rather than call her Amelia, BNP Paribas changed her name to “NOA” or “NextGen Online Assistant.”

BNP also tested Amelia on its PlanetShares client portal, which allows companies to manage employees’ global compensation and benefit plans, as well as employee-facing benefit self-management tools. An initial pilot was developed to provide secure personalized information access regarding clients’ fully registered shares. NOA guides shareholders through exercise options and provides up-to-date information regarding funds from sales.

“Amelia is really at a crossroad for everything that we do. Supporting customer experience obviously, helping industrialize processes, and potentially helping us generate future revenues as well.”

— Philippe Ruault,
Head of Digital Transformation, BNP Paribas

In both instances, NOA will enhance the client experience with 24/7 on-demand access to information and services. The implementations also offer secondary benefits by automating high-volume – but not necessarily high business value — client needs, which frees experienced support staff to focus on complex or higher-value tasks. The PlanetShares project is due to be operational in June 2019, while NOA is expected to be deployed on NeoLink in 2020.

“Amelia is really at a crossroad for everything that we do,” said Ruault. “Supporting customer experience obviously, helping industrialize processes, and potentially helping us generate future revenues as well.”

“What the team is doing currently is showing the MVP [minimum viable product] to the various businesses and we are gathering additional use cases, cost-values of the various businesses,” he said. The NeoLink project, meanwhile, is expected to be completed in 2020.

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