Robots are coming – prepare to be empowered

17-03-16 16:00 | Digital banking | The Digital Hub

There’s a lot of information around right now about how robots and AI are gaining traction in several industries, including our own. In the past year or so, the noise about this new technology has grown as exponentially as the technology itself. The reason is simple – the technology works. And, it will empower us as employees in many ways. 

Things have only just begun, but here at Nordea, robots are already helping our employees to perform repetitive tasks. This gives employees more time to focus on delivering great customer experience and performing more creative and complex tasks. We’re also introducing a new virtual colleague in the second quarter of this year  but more about this in my next blog post. And yes, this is what we call a cliff hanger.

There’s a fundamental difference between training virtual colleagues to perform human-like tasks in the space of weeks, and implementing enterprise systems in major multi-year transformations. In a way, the individual is instantly empowered. We are already working with rule-based robotics initiatives, and we will introduce cognitive robots with artificial intelligence at a later stage.  

The key to embracing all the opportunities presented by robotics is simple – people. We are trained to conduct development and operations based on certain policies, procedures and processes. And, changing this is challenging and takes guts. It’s mainly about a change of mindset. We’re on this journey now, and we need to have our people on board, otherwise we won’t be successful.

Also, to get it right at a large bank like ours, while realising business value, we need to resolve challenges regarding security, compliance, resilience, governance, business/IT collaboration, etc. 

What makes me proud is that, at Nordea, we are at the forefront in this respect. There are a lot of activities in progress right now to get the new technology on board and use it optimally. Our ambition, and goal, is to be market leader. I’m happy and excited to be part of Nordea as it embraces the new technology. If we mobilise the right people around the challenges I see a bright and exciting future. In these times of greater accessibility to new technology, it’s never been more about the people. So, prepare to be empowered in 2017. 

Meanwhile, meet one of our newly hired virtual employees Liv at Life & Pension. She is one of a couple of recently hired virtual employees at Nordea (we have also Sirius in Finland, Erna in Denmark and Roberta in Norway, among others). 

/Mattias Fras, Group Head of Robotics Strategy & Innovation

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