Robotic Process Automation (RPA) describes the automation of rules-based tasks on a digital platform. Robotic automation differs from physical robotic processing in that no physical robot is required to complete tasks. Firms and enterprises across the globe use robotic automation, and experts predict the user market will continue to increase substantially in the years ahead. Process automation was developed to take care of repetitive tasks and free up human capital. This resulted in higher returns across the board. RPA solutions help bridge gaps in productivity to help companies run more smoothly.
WHY ROBOTIC AUTOMATION?
Applying RPA solutions to business processes can help companies gain and maintain a competitive advantage in various industries. Robotics and automation replace humans in rules-based tasks to allow the skilled workforce to focus on more complex, meaningful, and productive tasks. Using automation in a firm’s processes has shown to increase productivity, quality, and cost savings over time. This has an average return on investment of less than 12 months. Some additional benefits of RPA within a firm include savings on training costs and the ability for robotic processes to work all day, every day. With such positive results, it’s easy to see why robotic automated solutions appeal to companies worldwide.
WHAT FUNCTIONS CAN RPA BENEFIT THE MOST?
Robotic automation can deliver benefits into nearly every sector of the business, both directly and indirectly and independent of company size. Because robotic automation aims to free up human capital, RPA allows humans to do what they do best while taking care of the tasks that take away from their skills. To clarify, RPA will be able to handle operations such as:
Finance and Human Resources (HR)
Whether a company has only its own finance department or operates in the finance industry, robotic automation can help manage financial statements with pin-point accuracy. This means RPA enables the reduction of data entry errors. Eradicating human error saves time and money stemming from mistakes. Likewise, robotic automation benefits Human Resources by saving on training costs and without having to account for vacation days. Automating tasks like payroll can free up HR to focus on more pressing issues to maintain internal stability.
Robotic automation allows for data collection and statistical analysis–two key factors needed in accurate decision making. While RPA does not solve problems or advise on which decision to make, it does give an unbiased look at the meta operations to aid managers in making informed decisions.
Consumer Relationship Management (CRM) software used for digital marketing campaigns especially benefit from robotic automation. Using RPA to clean up and sort lists based on demographic saves time and prevents unnecessary costs, especially when lists are extensive and have duplicate entries.
Information Technology (IT)
Many firms use multiple applications that lack adequate interfacing. Thus, to help bridge this gap, robotic automation applies needed APIs for seamless integration. Especially when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, RPA solutions migrate data from one company to another.
Supply Chain Management
Keeping more accurate records and taking advantage of Just-In-Time (JIT) ordering systems through robotic automation keep operations smooth within a firm. Robotic automation can help build a leaner structure for firms of all sizes. Because of that, they can take advantage of economies of scale while maintaining healthy relationships with suppliers and B2B partners.
Keeping accurate databases and funneling information from customers helps speed up task completion and increase quality of service. Robotic automation and data entry automation can save time on frustrating data collection. This allows a skilled workforce to quickly assess and treat customer issues and boost satisfaction.
PROCESSES THAT RPA CAN BENEFIT
Taking an honest look at each process within your departments gives insight into which ones may be a great candidate for robotic automation. Although Robotic Process Automation is designed to automate rules-based tasks, there are several other factors to consider in implementation. Essentially, process automation is not a good fit for every process. RPA is not suitable for processes that are:
- Rules-based tasks
- Repetitive tasks done in high volumes
- Tasks that experience human error
- Systems that lack adequate integration
Furthermore, some tasks do not benefit from robotic automation. These tasks require intuition to solve complex problems and adequate interpretation of the data it collects. The data collection capability of RPA offers an unbiased look at the numbers, giving managers valid information for informed decision making. So when left to its own, robotic automation does not solve complex problems outside of an if/then rule-based decision, augmenting the skill of employees.
CONDUCTING AN ANALYSIS THROUGH DIAGNOSTIC QUESTIONING
Looking at each of the departmental processes in a firm can almost always net many RPA candidates. Narrowing down the list into which processes to consider first based on priority requires a little bit more of an analysis. The following qualitative questions serve as a checklist diagnostic to help your firm assess priority levels of tasks eligible for robotic automation:
1) First, does the task involve frequent human interaction with a computer, using the same repetitive steps?
2) Next, do your programs lack adequate interfacing?
3) Also, is upgrading the current vendor application cost prohibitive?
4) In particular, is the collected data sensitive?
5) Additionally, is the task involved susceptible to human error?
6) Generally, are employee skills inhibited by cost/time of completing the task?
7) Consequently, does your company seek to lower turnover rates in positions where the task is performed?
8) Lastly, is the task urgent or time sensitive?
It may be helpful to assign one point for each “Yes” given to the answers above. Above all, tasks that score higher likely will have higher priority and stronger candidacy for robotic automation. So, once your firm has completed the analysis, take the next step and speak with an RPA vendor. They can help you determine which options are right for you. Providers can help with an ROI analysis tailor made for your company, so you can make an informed decision and take your business to the next level.