Robotic Process Automation: Charting a Path to Successful Digital Transformation
More and more companies are now turning to the emerging technology, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), to embark upon their journey towords digital revolution.
Many enterprises are now in the process of evaluating tools and platforms to adopt RPA. Further, there are some enterprises that have commenced the implementation but either couldn’t reap the full benefits of RPA or have to defer the implementation phase due to several reasons. With RPA enterprises can bring operational and strategic excellence by automating mundane and non-creative tasks so that business users can allocate more time to the strategic initiatives and serves their customers better.
So what is RPA?
According to Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA), Robotic process automation (RPA) is the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems. In simple words, RPA is a form of robotics, comprises of software bots that can easily be integrated into day to day operations of an organization of any size to enhance process efficiencies. These software bots are capable of handling various everyday tasks related to customer services, complaints management, and customer onboarding, invoices handling, service requests, and several other operational tasks. Guy Kirkwood, Chief Evangelist at UiPath says, "it is not marketing fluff when we declare that robots are relieving employees of dull tasks and freeing their time for more valuable, meaningful, and creative deliverables...”Employees really do like to work alongside robots, which they even name such as George, NASA’s new hire that is a robot deployed to perform digital labor, Guy says.
For a deeper look at what is RPA, see “Understanding Robotic Process Automation”.
What are the benefits of RPA?
RPA provides enterprises with an ability to adapt to characteristics that are crucial for organizations pursuing growth through digital transformation. Bots are easy to implement, requiring no custom software development or hardcore coding. In space of a few minutes only, RPA can complete a process, that otherwise takes several hours. With RPA, enterprises are placed at the vantage point to roll-out wise staffing strategy to optimize costs and operations. According to Deloitte, an RPA software robot is capable of performing a list of more than 600 actions in a given sequence. By integrating advanced cognitive capabilities such as Machine Learning and NLP (Natural Language Processing), enterprises can beef-up their RPA implementations. A software bot costs about one-fifth the price of an onshore worker. One of the largest banks in Japan and the customer of UiPath expects more than three million hours of capacity to be generated through RPA implementation in 2019.
Many believe that RPA is a threat to the human workforce; however, AI doesn’t eliminate jobs, it creates them. It is just that in every industrial revolution a set of skills has always being replaced (read: upgraded) by a new one.
Getting started with RPA: What processes should I automate?
When our RPA experts meet the business leaders and users around the globe, there is a common set of questions including what should be the starting point of RPA and what processes should be automated? Here are a few guidelines while getting started with RPA strategy and the selection of the right processes.
Highly manual and repetitive processes: These are the processes that are very frequent and prone to human error. These processes are manual and don’t require any creative input for decision-making.
Rule-based Processes: These processes follow specific instructions for completion. The standardized rules make the basis for decision-making.
Low exception rate: Processes comprising of low variations.
Readable electronic input: The software bots can perform the processes which have standard, readable electronic inputs such as Excel, Word, and PDFs etc.
Mature and stable processes: Processes that don’t require fundamental changes in the underlying architecture of the current systems are good candidates for RPA. Processes for which changes are expected in the medium or short term are not recommended to be automated.
In conclusion, enterprises now understand the significance of RPA to remain relevant in the digital era. However, the right implementation strategy and selection of the right processes are critical success factor for an RPA adoption. In our next post, we’ll deep dive into some more specific processes that every company should automate.