Put simply, RPA or Robotic Process Automation refers to a technology that empowers software robots to replicate actions of humans for structured, digital processes like data entry. Though a relatively new technology, it has the potential to drastically improve the way businesses approach different fundamental business processes. Some examples of enterprise software that can be replicated by RPA technology include FSM software, ERP systems, service management tools etc. In particular, RPA can be hugely advantageous when it comes to eliminating repetitive and most time-consuming manual processes that make up an employee’s day-to-day work. In addition, its ability to learn numerous skills without human intervention while carrying out specified activities and scaling up or down to deal with the demand is expected to heavily boost the market demand for RPA.
While the RPA technology doesn’t completely eliminate the need for enterprise application or business management integration, it certainly offers a way to automate costly and complex processes and different office tasks. It also promotes a faster transformation of central management processes to leverage growth and agility in business services. Here, we’ve rounded up three major factors that are fueling rapid adoption of RPA.
RPA is a relatively simple gateway strategy into digital automation of office processes. It’s easy to configure and implement, and some small implementations may not even require the involvement of an expert consultant. When it comes to duplicating tasks, RPA technologies are great in performing that with zero to little distinguishable variability. It ensures that similar tasks are performed in the same way such as underwriting for insurance policies remains consistent across similar risk groups. In addition, automation ensures that work is done 24/7/365 without quality variance or employee fatigue. By deploying RPA, businesses can ensure freeing up of high-value and expensive resources from repetitive and more menial tasks and put them on the business frontline for assisting consumers. Quality output involves eliminating common consumer pain-points and enhancing customer experience. For instance, in the traditional processing of a loan, the applicant has to fill out different forms and submit the required documents. The entire process can take several weeks with multiple human touch-points, after which the applicant gets a feedback on the loan application status. With RPA implemented, the complete process can be taken over by robot software, reducing the turnaround time significantly.
Businesses that operate in heavily-regulated environments get affected the most by the adoption of high-end technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence. Many businesses have already started integrating these technologies into their different digital transformation platforms. Quick adoption of RPA can bring significant benefits in terms of enhanced compliance. It helps to apply pre-defined steps and record transactions, providing complete transparency to auditors and preventing manual errors. Daily tasks related to compliance like automation of routine controls and execution of reconciliations can be performed by RPA as well, thus reducing the workload significantly for employees. Also, adoption of RPA helps businesses hide sensitive data from people as those get processed entirely by machines.
The third catalyst behind the quick adoption of RPA is that an RPA workforce typically uses the same systems used by the FTEs of a business. In the past, businesses had to integrate workflow management tools and Business Process Management solutions with each application they interacted with. RPA uses the existing system in the same way the FTEs would, thus significantly reducing the overhead cost. Another cost-effective factor is that RPA is capable of scaling up or down the operations as required, which ensures businesses can make modifications based on seasonality. For instance, in the insurance sector, an RPA workforce can be ramped up in order to process flooding claims in the rainy season, winter claims in winter, etc. In addition, fast adoption of RPA technology can be easily attributed to fast ROI. Apart from being more productive, an RPA workforce can yield a faster ROI compared to conventional IT projects. Results can be attained within a couple of weeks without impacting the present IT infrastructure, and final roll-out can be performed within months instead of years, which leads to a substantial reduction in operational costs.
As traditional business approaches have started becoming expensive and time-consuming, it has become crucial for businesses to harness emerging technologies like RPA to promote higher business values, which include the above factors. Automation efforts of businesses can also be boosted by injecting RPA with cognitive technologies like natural language processing, speech recognition, machine learning etc, automating higher-order processes that in the past needed the judgment and perceptual capabilities of humans. However, keeping all business values in mind, businesses should also consider that there’s no magic trick for successful adoption of RPA. Instead, it needs an intelligent automation ethos that has to be part of the long-term journey for them to attain better business processes faster.