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Member of the Month: Ricky DeLandro, Head of Business Innovation, HSBC March 29, 2019

RPA, Innovation and Robotics Sidekicks: Interview with Ricky DeLandro, Head of Business Innovation at HSBC


What is the value of RPA to you as a business?

RPA allows our staff to perform better for our customers. It sounds a bit cheesy, but it is completely the case. If we can take away repetitive, rule-based tasks from colleagues, we give them more time to be with and think about customers, leading ultimately to happier customers.


Are you seeing any strategic benefits from RPA so far or is still early days?

We are seeing huge staff engagement upturns, but it is still early. We have conducted many ‘Build a Bot’ sessions, which exposes people within a few minutes to what is possible. We start Lego brick-sized, but then demonstrate that complexity can grow. People within HSBC aren’t shy about suggesting how you can improve their day jobs and now suggest several things “super macros” could help with.

"So far we have been bringing good news and offering people a way to get rid of the parts of their jobs that are 'robotic'."

You mentioned the ‘Build a Bot’ sessions- how else are you communicating and demonstrating the benefits of RPA to the people who will have to work with it?

We try to align any return with the individual who came up with the idea. Business benefit from business driven ideation. For instance, if I’m a relationship manager, and I’ve identified a process that gains an hour, we aim to highlight this to other relationship managers and name check the creator, flagging they are also from the frontline.

 

What are the key challenges in implementing RPA across HSBC?

The key challenges in RPA are common to lots of businesses that you’ll encounter at the Digital Leadership Forum. Your biggest friends are IT, and your biggest foes are also IT! They have a huge responsibility to keep us safe. There’s a very rigorous governance structure with any new software- and there is certainly the need to be as collaborative as possible. The single biggest difference between this change program and others- is that there has been no need to wins hearts and minds. Colleagues feel it is their change for their benefit.

So far we have been bringing good news and offering people a way to get rid of the parts of their jobs that are “robotic”. We aim to automate these “robotic” bits and allow people to maximising their talents on higher value tasks or simply go home earlier!

"If you have to do a certain task more than three times, then there’s a good reason to see if the task can be improved."

What’s your innovation philosophy?

I genuinely believe in the talent of our colleagues. There is a little inventor in everybody. Everybody knows the parts of their day that they don’t like doing. If you give people the time and the space to think and share, you hear great ideas, gain fantastic intel on the day to day and obtain a marketing division, as those people sing your praises. Instead of change being done to them, they advocate that it is being done for and with them.

 

What do you see as the practical role of innovation?

If you have to do a certain task more than three times, then there’s a good reason to see is the task can be improved. Small steps can lead to big improvements. We introduced a new chatbot made up of frequently and infrequently asked questions- then ensured all had at least two screens (one for task execution and one for procedure) and this resulted in an immediate reduction in error rates.

"Small steps can lead to big improvements."

What pieces of technology or digital software have been pivotal in your day to day success?

I have only been able to run simultaneous sprints and different projects because of the use of modern collaborative tools. Microsoft Teams and Slack have both been key aids to productivity.

 

What advice would you give to young people with high aspirations to pursue careers in innovation?

Keep those high aspirations and certainly have goals, but what they must recognize is that these won’t be achieved via a silver platter. Work hard and roll up your sleeves. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be polite whilst being slightly impatient.

 

If you could invent any robotic sidekick, what would it look like?

If my wife was never to see it- then it would look like Jessica Rabbit from ‘Who Shot Roger Rabbit?’!.  If my wife were to see it- then it would have to be a safe classic option like R2D2.


Written by Ajay Gnanam, Events & Customer Success Executive, Digital Leadership Forum