Robotic Process Automation: what changes with the automation process
Robotic Process Automation is the use of software with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities to handle repetitive and high-volume tasks that previously required humans to perform.
These activities can include queries, calculations, record-keeping and transactions.
But this quick explanation is too little to understand the revolutionary power of this concept. So keep reading. You will see examples of how Robotic Process Automation works, what benefits companies can get from it and more!
Robotic Process Automation: the concept
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology application governed by business logic and structured inputs, which aims to automate business processes. We could freely translate this concept to “automation of robotic processes”.
Using RPA tools, a company can set up software, or a “robot”, to capture and interpret applications to process a transaction, manipulate data, trigger responses, and communicate with other digital systems.
RPA scenarios range from something as simple as generating an automatic response to an email to deploying thousands of bots, each programmed to automate jobs in an integrated business management system (ERP), for example.
Therefore, it is not incorrect to say that RPA technology – sometimes called a software robot or bot – mimics a human worker, registering with applications, entering data, calculating and completing tasks and logging out.
Financial service organizations are at the forefront of the Robotic Process Automation movement, discovering ways to use software to facilitate business processes without increasing the number of employees or costs.
By 2020, automation and artificial intelligence will reduce the needs of employees in shared service centers by up to 65%, according to Gartner, who also says that the RPA market will exceed $ 1 billion worldwide by 2020.
Robotic Process Automation: how it works in practice
A very practical way to understand how Robotic Process Automation works is to differentiate it from regular IT automation.
What distinguishes RPA from traditional IT automation is the ability of RPA platforms to be aware of and adapt to new circumstances, exceptions, and new situations.
Once the RPA software has been “trained” to capture and interpret the actions of specific processes in existing software applications, it can manipulate data, trigger responses, initiate new actions and communicate with other systems autonomously.
RPA software is particularly useful for organizations that have many different and complicated systems that need to interact fluidly.
For example, if an electronic form in an HR system does not have a postal code, traditional automation software would flag the form as having an exception and an employee would handle the exception by searching for the correct zip code and typing it into the form. After the form is completed, the employee can submit it to payroll so that the information can be entered into the organization’s payroll system.
With RPA technology, however, software that has the ability to adapt, learn and self-correct deals with the exception and interacts with the payroll system without human assistance.
Robotic Process Automation: giants that already have this strategy, and application possibilities
Walmart, Deutsche Bank, AT&T, Walgreens and American Express Global Business Travel are among the many companies that already have Robotic Process Automation strategies.
Walmart recently deployed about 500 bots to automate anything from answering employee questions to retrieving useful information from audit documents.
American Express Global Business Travel uses RPA to automate the process of canceling an airline ticket and issuing refunds.
Thompson also uses RPA to facilitate automatic redial recommendations in the event of an airport shutdown and to automate certain expense management tasks.
Check out some of the many possibilities for applying the RPA below:
- in customer service: RPA can help companies deliver better customer service by automating contact center tasks, including verifying electronic signatures, uploading scanned documents, and verifying information for automatic approvals or rejections.
- in accounting: organizations can use RPA for general accounting, operational accounting, transactional reporting and budgeting.
- in financial services: companies in the financial service industry can use RPA for payments in foreign currency, automating account openings and closings, managing audit requests and processing insurance requests.
- in healthcare: medical organizations can use RPA to handle patient records, complaints, customer support, account management, billing, reporting and analytics.
- in the area of human resources: RPA can automate HR tasks, including integration and deletion, updating employee information, and timesheet submission processes.
- in supply chain management: RPA can be used for procurement, automating order
and payment processing, monitoring inventory levels and tracking shipments.
Robotic Process Automation: business benefits
RPA offers organizations the ability to reduce personnel costs and human error. A bank that implements an RPA strategy (software and methods) is able to redesign its complaints process by deploying bots to execute processes, handling millions of requests. It adds capacity equivalent to hundreds of full-time employees, reducing the need for new hires and training, among other expenses.
Bots are usually low cost and easy to implement, requiring no custom software or deep systems integration. Such characteristics are crucial, since organizations seek growth without adding significant expenses or friction among workers.
Companies can also step up their automation efforts by injecting RPA with cognitive technologies, such as Machine Learning, speech recognition, and natural language processing. It automates high-order tasks that, in the past, required perceptual and communication skills. The judgment of human beings.
In summary, robotic process automation technology can help organizations on their digital transformation journey in the following ways:
- allowing better customer service;
- ensuring that operations and business processes are in compliance with regulations and standards;
- allowing processes to be completed much more quickly;
- providing greater efficiency by digitizing and auditing process data;
- creating cost savings for manual and repetitive tasks;
- allowing employees to be less operational and be more productive and innovative.
Robotic Process Automation: how companies should prepare
Here are some tips that Robotic Process Automation experts recommend for companies that want to implement this strategy in their business
Quick gains are possible with RPA, but it is not recommended to start implementing it at scale. Many problems with RPA stem from poor management of expectations. Bold declarations about RPA from vendors and implementation consultants do not help.
Therefore, what is recommended is a cautiously optimistic mentality – especially in medium-sized businesses. Starting with a project and learning from the process is the best choice.
Think to RPA for improving your customer experience
RPA is often supported as a mechanism to increase return on investment or reduce costs. However, it’s best use is in improving the customer experience.
For example, companies like airlines employ thousands of customer service agents, but customers are still waiting in line. A chatbot, could help to relieve some of that wait.
Seek expert help
The most successful implementations of RPA include a center of excellence made up of people responsible for making efficiency programs a success within the organization.
However, not every enterprise has a budget for this. The best choice is to seek help from a specialized consultancy, which develops business cases, calculates the possible cost and ROI optimization, and measures the progress in relation to these goals, among other duties.
Engage IT early and often
As miraculous as Robotic Process Automation platforms and services may be, it is essential to involve the technology team from the beginning of the project. This is often overlooked by companies that hire outside help to run the project – and it can turn out to be a serious mistake.
From choosing the supplier to implementing the tools, among other processes, it is recommended that everything be closely monitored by IT.
Don’t forget the impact on people
Courted by brilliant new solutions, some organizations are so focused on implementation that they neglect the HR loop, which can create some nightmare scenarios for employees who find their daily processes and workflows disrupted.
Therefore, as with other technology projects, it is very important to manage the change well. This includes preparing users for the transformation.
As you saw, Robotic Process Automation is a technological movement that can already be considered a phenomenon. It is part of the innovations that drive the so-called “digital transformation era” and offers countless business benefits.
Ultimately, there is no magic solution for implementing RPA, it requires an intelligent automation system that should be part of the long-term journey for companies. Automation at this level needs to come up with an answer to complete business processes more quickly, with better quality and scale.
How about it, is your company prepared for a Robotic Process Automation strategy? Download our e-book now!