RPA – Compliance Engine in Information Governance

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is in the news as an unavoidable trend in manufacturing and it’s showing up in the service industry, construction and retail.  A relatively unexplored area is compliance management. A robot can be created to ensure that documents held in email, on a shared drive and even on local machines are objectively managed according to the organization’s business rules.  

Scenario:  An email with an invoice attachment is sent to an employee, not to accounts payable, because the vendor has a relationship with the employee and believes that the invoice will be paid more quickly with that personal touch.  Not in my experience!  With RPA, a robot can sweep the Exchange server every 6 – 8 hours, looking for variations of “Invoice” or “Inv” or “Please pay” or “Remit to” in either the subject line or in an attachment and send it to Accounts Payable with a date/time stamp when it was sent to the individual mailbox and when it was sent to AP. It can even look for an early pay discount and flag those invoices.  No more missed opportunities!  A daily report can be sent to the controller of invoices received for enhanced cashflow management. 

Scenario:  Under the GDPR or CCPA, a customer enacts their rights and calls in to request their information be removed from a company’s systems.  The call desk confirms the information to be removed and initiates a robot from their desktop that creates a request ticket, searches through databases, shared drives, Exchange and local drives to locate any instances of that customer’s data, remove it from the databases, drives, email, send a letter to the customer confirming the data has been removed, and then, remove the data from the system used to create the letter, leaving only the initial time of the request and the time of the removal in the ticketing system.

Scenario: A research scientist’s log book is an excel spreadsheet on a shared drive.  The robot sweeps the shared drive on a scheduled basis (hourly, daily, monthly) and updates an enterprise database with the findings and the intellectual property is preserved and made available to a wider researcher base.  

Scenario: A genetics testing lab receives swab kits from physicians and clinics through USPS and UPS. Some of the kits will be reimbursed by insurance and the lab would like to know which before they process the kit. Setting up a shipping account for the physicians and clinics to use allowed the lab to start the insurance claim process at the time of shipment rather than at the time of delivery.  The robot was used to check the shipment activity on an hourly basis, reconcile the shipment number against the kit number used and look up the insurance information.  The robot then sent out the claim to the insurance company to determine payment.  If the claim was denied, then a notice was sent to the physician to ask the patient if they would be willing to pay for the kit to be processed.  When the kit arrived at the lab, the lab knew which kits were revenue-generating and which they could destroy without processing.   

Scenario:  The Customer Support Experience.  Most large service organizations subcontract support and customer education.  They often have multiple levels to theses services.  These organization’s systems are often not well integrated due to the time and labor of maintaining APIs.  Their customers feel the disconnection through answering the same questions over and over and over.  Now, they utilize a series of Robots to make sure systems are up to date.  In every communication transaction they have a sender and receiver - human or system.  We created a button that copied new specific information from one system and populates the company’s next level of support system in real time, reformatting as necessary.   When the next level of support solves the problem, information is then sent back to the first level of support system with the solution and updates.  The contracting organization is updated so their business intelligence team can track problems in real time.  Most importantly, customers feel like they are dealing with one organization and everyone is in the loop.

Scenario:  Applying for Bank Loan:  More goes into qualifying for a loan that you may expect.  Banks and Lenders have to review all current loans and accounts to determine your loan risk.  Many organizations still do this by reviewing accounts and working through your information.  We created an RPA solution to be able to receive a loan application and automatically review specific data within your accounts within the organization. Through predetermined variables and in accordance with information governance business rules, the application and information was made available to the loan officer for validation and final approval.  Now the loan officer is informed and ready to assist the customer within seconds rather than hours or days. 

Scenario: Construction invoice creation:  Most all construction companies are utilizing construction management software of some type.  These tools manage the projects and hours by classification and workers. In many cases they also manage equipment rental and other construction expenses.  At the end of each month, the construction manager on the job has to submit hours and expenses to billing so the client is billed - frequently hours of “personal time” during the evening and weekends.  We created a series of robots that pull specific fields from one system and/or spreadsheets and place this data into the ERP for billing.  The Robot does this work on specific days of each week and notifies the managers of record so they can validate the work going into creating the invoice.  AR is notified and their information is validated.  Once the information is billed a copy of the invoice is then attached to the project.  

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A/R with Check 21 Made Easy!

Making A/R Easier

Accounts Receivable (A/R) capture is a tough job that requires top notch tools. Deposit21 is great at capturing check data and depositing the checks electronically. Kofax Capture is great at capturing information from documents and forms of all kinds, and also provides a very flexible workflow model. These two software products bring their capabilities together to cover all the bases for your A/R requirements.

Capturing Accurate Check Data

Deposit21’s check data capture ensures efficient, accurate determination of check amounts and MICR line data. Both the A/R process and modern electronic deposit rely on accurate check data, so Deposit21 goes to great lengths to get the data right and does it with a minimum of manual labor. Any check data entry required is accomplished using distributed image data entry, using the least number of keystrokes possible.

Electronic Deposit Done Right

Deposit21’s electronic deposit capabilities are unmatched. Every possible aspect of the process is automated, such as deposit file creation, encryption, transmission and bank confirmation. Your cash flow is safe, secure and closely monitored through each step in the process. A rich web portal provides dashboard views, reports and much more.

Full Software Compatibility

Deposit21 is fully compatible with Kofax Capture. A set of custom modules with simple batch class and document level properties are provided, to make integration as straightforward as possible. A sample application and testing tools are also available.

Deposit21 is a Proven Product

Deposit21 has proven itself since 2006 in a wide range of demanding applications, including a number of state and local tax operations. The software has processed billions of dollars of deposits and earned a great reputation with both its users and their banks.

Tangent Systems is a Proven Vendor

Tangent Systems has been providing leading edge imaging and document processing software technologies for almost 30 years. Tangent’s software products have been used around the world, processing tens of billions of items in a wide variety of different applications. Tangent’s domestic customers have included some of the country’s largest insurance companies, banks, utilities, publishers and government agencies.

 Comprehensive Data Capture Features

·   Check ID & Orientation. Deposit21 determines whether or not a document’s images contain a check, including pages with perforated checks. Each check’s orientation is also detected (front-to-back and/or rotated.)

·   Check Extraction from Page Images. The check portion of a full page or oversize check document can automatically be extracted, identifying and isolating the check “tear off” area for keying and deposit purposes. This eliminates the need to tear off the checks before scanning, greatly improving transaction integrity.

·   MICR Line Data Perfection. An ICR engine reads the E13B code line from each check image, to read, verify, correct and/or locate each character in the image. This is especially critical for scanners that lack a magnetic E13B reader, to ensure the most accurate MICR line data possible. The image data entry client provides a very efficient, purpose-built dialog for correcting MICR line errors.

·   Amount Determination. Check courtesy and legal amounts are read with a CAR/LAR engine, which cross­checks and merges the results for the best combination of read rate and accuracy. A configurable decision engine implements site policy preferences in how CAR/LAR results and image data entry are utilized. The process integrates nominal payment amounts available from the non-check documents or other sources, to minimize data entry. The image data entry client’s optimized check amount entry mode satisfies even the highest speed keyers.

·   Image Privacy. Adaptive image redaction is built in, sending only non-sensitive portions of the check to the image data entry operators. The Image Privacy rules are easily configurable via the product’s web portal.

·   Alternate Image Support. If the application also provides enhanced image formats for each check beyond the bitonal images required for deposit, such as gray or color formats, Deposit21 makes good use of them. Keying can be configured to use the best image format initially, or to display the bitonal image by default and allow the operator to display the gray or color format with a single keystroke. This yields high accuracy with less labor.

·   Citrix Compatible. Deposit21’s image data entry client is designed so it can be packaged as a Citrix application, simplifying deployment and expanding the pool of available keyers, especially for peak periods.

·   Outsourcing-Ready. Image data entry can be performed remotely, as the client has a firewall-friendly design. The client software is fully buffered for operation over a WAN, so operator throughput is maintained even in a remote environment. Browser-based web amount entry that closely mimics the standard client is also provided.

Comprehensive Electronic Deposit Features

·   Fully Automated Deposit Workflow. Every step of the deposit process is automated, including file creation, encryption, transmission, and confirmation file download and processing. It is important to note that the entire process is tightly integrated within the product. There are no “batch files” or command-line transmission client programs. Everything is built into Deposit21, improving reliability, security, support and process visibility.

·   Bank-Specific File Processing. Each bank mandates its own variations to the Check 21 file formats, such as custom records, check validations, file naming, transmission and confirmation file formats. Deposit21 handles all of these differences automatically for every supported bank. This greatly simplifies adding or switching banks.

·   Prioritized Deposit Routing. Multiple deposit options are automatically considered, as requested for each check, optimizing the deposit process to save time and money. Complex multi-bank deposit schemes can be configured easily, utilizing decision tables that are managed conveniently from the Deposit21 web portal.

·   Check Image Quality Analysis. Check images are analyzed to ensure that they meet bank-mandated quality measures and technical characteristics. This minimizes costly, time consuming bank-rejected items.

·   Easy To Use. Deposit21’s rich web portal provides dashboard views for full work-in-progress visibility, as well as extensive supervisory, reporting, and administration features. Numerous operational and Treasury reports are provided, including a number to assist with reconciliation. On-line help and tutorial videos are just a click away.

·   Research Portal. The web portal’s Research section supports ad hoc queries to locate individual deposits and checks, with full image, data and detailed processing and decision history information.

·   Transparent. Deposit21 monitors its processes, pro-actively alerting supervisors of any delays or issues. Alert subscribers can elect to receive alerts via email, a systray client, web portal popups or a combination of methods.

·   Secure. Every check image Deposit21 stores, even temporarily, is encrypted first. Deposit files are always created in encrypted form, using either bank-mandated or industry standard cryptography, so they are never stored in clear-text. All bank login/password/key info is kept in a secure, encrypted credentials store. Fine grained user permissions and Active Directory integration simplify managing users, groups and authentication. Extensive Audit logging maintains a detailed record of all administrative, supervisory and security-related actions.

Compliance and Archiving

Information is at the center of everything an organization does and how the organization manages that information and its corporate records can directly affect its ability to compete, service its employees and customers, comply with regulations, and recover from disaster. 

Regardless of how technology, organizations will always require a records management system. In fact, the success of an organization may rest on the ability to locate a critical record in a timely manner. 

Any incoming or outgoing information has the potential to be a record, and must therefore, be managed. 

A record is any documented information made or received by an organization regardless of its medium or characteristics that supports business decisions, transactions or is mandated to be maintained. In other words, it is the information itself that determines if it is a record; the media in which that information is made and stored makes no difference. 

Records management is the systematic control of records through their lifecycle. 

Archiving is the preservation of those records identified as having a lifecycle of permanent or indefinite retention, or, historic value to the organization. 

The same controls need to be created and implemented for paper and electronic records to satisfy compliance requirements, to eradicate duplicate copies, and to direct the users to where and how the official record is maintained.

Information Governance Best Practices

A compliant information governance program is necessary for organizations to proactively and progressively manage all data, media and information. As the number of regulations governing information governance continues to increase as well as the number of potential information sources it is mandatory that businesses create, implement and execute best practices in records and information management. The best practices must include the entire lifecycle of a document, regardless of media or format, and should address:

·       Creation/Receipt

o   Taxonomy

o   Standard classification

o   Application of a functional, enterprise-wide retention schedule – auto-classification based on business rules

·       Management

o   What is a record in the enterprise?

o   What are the vital records for the enterprise?

o   How are vital records protected?  How are they made available?

o   What is included in each record as data is gathered or created?

o   What is not included? 

o   What is the migration plan for records  as technology evolves?

o   Where are they expected to reside? 

·       Ultimate Disposition

o   When to apply the retention schedule?  Is it based on fiscal year or an event?

o   What happens to each record as is no longer useful?  Is it archived for historical purposes or destroyed? 

o   Are the permanent/historical records saved in a manner in which they are protected and preserved for retrieval 10, 20, 50, 100 years from now?

 

 

Best practices must be consistent and be applied regardless if there is only one employee or an international business.  A solid information governance program will include:

·       Establishment of an Information Governance Program

·       Establishment of a Records Program

·       Records Liaisons for functional business units

·       Publication of easy to use procedures for the creation, indexing, access, retention, storage, holds, destruction and possible migration

·       Frequent and regular communication with end users about records and information creation and protection

·       Software to track the lifecycle and ultimate disposition of records and information

·       A retention schedule and program to guide how to identify a record, what is kept and how long the retention is

o   All media and formats

o   Legal and operational research to backup the periods and why they were selected

o   Legal and audit hold requirements

·       Establish audit and audit reporting to ensure compliance

·       Yearly purging and archiving

·       Scheduled reviews of and revisions to ensure compliance with new laws, regulations and precedent

Records and Information Governance Program

A company’s Records and Information Governance Program directly impacts relationships with constituents, employees, suppliers, national and other local governments, and touches on other stakeholders in a global environment. Constituents and outside agencies expect fast response times in problem resolution which requires an employee to find the right record at the right time. Information needs to be accessible and complete with the goal of improving services over time. Building on the concept, best in class information governance provides the framework to also report to stakeholders, government regulatory agencies and to the public in an accurate and expeditious manner. 

Records and Information Governance Program maintenance is tedious and more often than not, is on the back burner in most organizations. 

Western recognizes that each organization has a unique set of records and information management challenges. The first challenge is to define a Program and its business rules and processes. The second is to convey to employees that each is obligated to manage the organization’s business records in accordance with national, state and local regulations while protecting confidential and trade-secret information. The second is to make it easy for employees to comply. . Since the records and information belong to the organization, and not the employee, a systematic process to capture the records and information, index and manage appropriately needs to be put in place. 

The answer: Robotic Process Automation 

Records management as it is currently practiced essentially starts when an employee creates or receives a document. Management of business records is left to the individual without much business oversight; there is no records management, which is not a best practice as described in ARMA’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (The Principles). It is also not in keeping with the ANSI/AIIM Standard 25:2012 for Trusted Systems or the International Organization of Standardization’s (ISO) standards 15489, 30300 or 13007. This leaves the organization at risk of not being able to provide requested electronic records held by an employee on a C-drive or in an email inbox without extensive and expensive IT effort. These rules, along with a retention schedule which defines what should be done with a particular record type, mean that a robot can be created to ensure the rules are met, and, can be proven to have been met. 

The technology, like all technology after the early adopters have proven its usefulness, has come down in price. The ROI is the equivalent of less than one responsive document search in an unmanaged environment of shared drives and email archives.