CIFI Holdings Group (CIFI) is a leading real estate firm in China. CIFI was founded in 2000 in Shanghai and listed in 2012 on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. The company operates through three segments: Property Development is engaged in the development and sales of high-quality properties in tier-1&2 and strong tier-3 cities across China; Property Investment is engaged in the leasing of investment properties developed or purchased by the company, and Property Management is engaged in property and project management.
The rapid expansion of CIFI's Centre of Excellence (CoE) brought a significant increase in the volume of transactional data handled by the company. This burdened staff with manually downloading, processing, and validating vast amounts of data as part of the standard reconciliation procedure.
Tasks included logging into 14 different online banking systems, downloading the financial data and comparing it for discrepancies, writing reports, and sending them to all relevant parties.
CIFI wanted to leverage intelligent automation to minimize the staffing resources needed to perform this routine yet critical process.
RPA and Finance: The Security Challenge
Adopting Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in these finance scenarios is not straightforward. A common obstacle firms encounter is security tokens. Most banks and financial institutions that CIFI dealt with required USB security keys to access their online systems. This hardware device is like a flash drive that plugs into a computer to access the online banking system.
How could an RPA bot identify and use the correct physical USB security key corresponding to the relevant bank to enter the online system?
Laiye’s Bespoke RPA Solution Proves Key
Laiye introduced a network hub, a physical device that could store multiple USB security keys for automation purposes to address this roadblock. The network hub incorporates hardware and software to transmit USB data to the operating virtual machine and the PC via a TCP/IP network.
This solution alone, however, was insufficient.
Laiye went further and developed a device named KeyBox which, besides having the ability to store up to 30 passwords, assists in the input of passwords during the RPA operation.
CIFI successfully deployed Laiye RPA to ease the reconciliation process, overcoming authentication hurdles using a combination of the network hub and KeyBox. The RPA robot entirely automates the procedure as follows:
1. Automatically logs in and downloads the necessary transactional data from all 14 online banking systems.
2. Automatically downloads the data from CIFI's system.
3. Automatically conducts cross-comparison while flagging any discrepancies.
4. Automatically generates a report to be sent to the relevant parties.
Automation enabled CIFI's employees to focus on tasks requiring human thought. Consequently, the company gained a reduction in labor hours and costs, plus a significant boost in employee productivity.
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