AT A GLANCE
- In today’s world of digital transformation, more organizations are turning to automation and artificial intelligence to optimize their business operations.
- The way organizations and businesses operate and deliver value to their clients is continuously changing, and open-minded business managers must show flexibility to benefit from new innovative solutions.
- Deciding whether RPA is the right solution for your organization to reach operational excellence depends on nine key questions.
To boost productivity, reduce operating costs, and reach their desired targets, organizations have been implementing robotics technology in addition to computer systems. Machines have long been deployed to act as a substitute for humans and can replicate specific actions.
In many industries, robots are being integrated to replicate the repetitive and sometimes dangerous activities such as sea explorations, disaster response, welding that previously humans performed.
WHAT IS ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION (RPA)?
As 2020 progresses, more and more business leaders are hearing about Robotic Process Automation and how all types of industries are leveraging this innovative technology. As it happens, according to Gartner, RPA is the fastest-growing segment of the enterprise software market.
RPA uses software robots or ‘bots’ to automate repetitive, high-volume, low complexity processes. Bots can perform tasks that are recurring yet simple at a much higher rate than a human could. Organizations also use bots for anything from automating workflows to performing time-consuming tasks such as updating payroll data and employee contact to transferring data from spreadsheets to a customer relationship management (CRM) system. RPA can work tirelessly, error-free, and with incredible speed.
WHAT CAN RPA DO FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION?
One of the essential benefits of RPA is that once the bot is set up with the correct rules, it never goes wrong! The bot can guarantee 100% consistency every time it is triggered and does not need breaks since it can operate 24/7.
Other RPA benefits include a reduction in operational cost as well as in the cycle time of processes as it performs tasks more efficiently than humans.
Contrary to what most people think, RPA will not replace the roles of humans in organizations. On the contrary, bots can play a vital role in freeing up thousands of man-hours, while encouraging resources to focus on value-added tasks such as data analysis, insights generation, and strategic planning.
IS YOUR ORGANIZATION READY FOR RPA?
After thoroughly researching the different solutions and hearing about the latest available technologies, you make a good business case that automation is the way to go to achieve operational excellence within your organization. But where do you start from exactly?
The key to successful RPA deployment lies in predetermining if your organization’s needs, goals, infrastructure, and business culture are suited to benefit from Intelligent Automation. Below are key questions to ask yourself before considering if RPA is right for your processes:
1. Are your processes rule-based?
Bots are better suited to follow rule-based rather than judgment-based decisions. When looking at your internal processes, one must ensure that decision making is based on standardized and identified rules. Bots are designed to replicate tasks that allow a clear formulation in conditional format, i.e., if event X takes places, trigger the bot to extract the information from Y and store it Z.
2. Is the process manual and repetitive?
Highly-repetitive processes requiring a high volume of manual input are particularly prone to human error.
3. Are the processes high volume and low complexity?
Typically, processes with high volume transactions are those that run at the end of the day or the month. They can also run continuously during the day requiring constant data entry. It is recommended to start automating these types of processes before moving on to more complex cases.
4. Are there measurable savings?
The benefits gained can typically be noticed in terms of greater accuracy, reduction in cycle time to execute the processes, reduction in labor cost, and higher productivity.
5. What is the return on investment (ROI)?
The return on investment of RPA is derived from multiple areas of impact. Quick wins include a reduction in errors, compliance and saved hours. The most significant identified ROI is freeing time to your resources, enabling them to focus on process improvements and value-added work.
6. What processes should I avoid?
It is recommended to avoid processes that continuously get updated over the short to medium term to avoid having your automated processes regularly revised.
Other questions to consider:
7. Who will be trained to manage the new RPA system?
8. Have security and security breaches been considered?
9. Is your current IT infrastructure suitable for RPA deployment?
APPLICATIONS OF RPA
RPA is commonly used in many industrial sectors to accomplish day-to-day tasks such as:
- HR — Hiring candidates and maintaining payroll
- Healthcare — Patient registration
- Insurance — Processing and clearing claims
- Manufacturing — Calculating sales and bills of material
- Banking — Activating cards
- Travel and logistics — Booking tickets and accounting
To conclude, Robotic Process Automation enables businesses and organizations to seamlessly automate tasks across different systems and applications requiring minimal upfront investment. With the rapid evolution in the digital world, innovations are always coming to the forefront to make our work easier. It is becoming crucial for business leaders to quickly decide whether RPA is suitable for their organization to reach operational excellence.