Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is more pervasive in our lives than we may realize. Robots are fulfilling ever more tasks from grocery-bagging, to vacuum-cleaning, shark-tracking, cleaning up the ocean, spying for the military, to assisting astronauts.
As technology advances, automatic bots are being developed to tackle increasingly specific problems in real-world settings and all industries. It’s time for business owners to consider the ROI of harnessing RPA seriously.
RPA in a Nutshell
Today robotic research concentrates on tackling a specific problem, be it creating better hardware, performing a precise task, or executing new algorithms. However, when building autonomous robots, all these components must be merged into a single system so that the outcome is a machine that can perform useful tasks in a practical setting.
RPA tools follow specific commands to fulfill a workflow of tasks. Contingent on the way the software is programmed, the nature of the functions will change. Generally, they aim to complete repetitive, routine, unpopular, yet necessary tasks by imitating what a human employee would do in the same situation.
RPA aims to create a virtual workforce across company systems and applications. This reallocation lets employees use their human strengths, such as reasoning and emotional intelligence, while a bot handles routine, less popular yet necessary operations. Bots become an essential part of the workforce.
They are supervised like other team members and interact with fellow workers. The difference is that they accomplish tasks far quicker and more accurately – no human error.
They are also far more cost-effective – Capgemini research shows that RPA tools are up to 65% less expensive than offshore-based fulltime employees. For these reasons, RPA tech has grown in popularity as companies realize the improvement in business outcomes, the competitive advantage it provides, and the overall impact on ROI.
While not all business processes are good candidates for automation, if they include even some of the following, then RPA is an excellent solution:
- Rules-based, extremely structured
- Laborious, high-volume
- Disposed to human error
Repetitive tasks that RPA bots can complete by interacting with applications include:
- Data input, extraction, loading, and changing
- Logging in and out of applications and operating systems
- Managing people and business requests
- Form filling
- Streamlining information across various systems
- Opening emails and attachments
- Screening online application forms and documents
RPA is used in almost all industries – healthcare, finance, legal, insurance, banking, manufacturing, utilities, and more. A virtual workforce automates business-critical processes, resulting in:
- Improved productivity – the workflow is never slowed since the RPA bot performs required tasks 24/7 with no breaks.
- Superior accuracy – bots work consistently and virtually error-free.
- Enhanced regulatory compliance – software robots can be configured to follow the rules, regulations, and standards. They also keep an audit trail history for every step.
- Smooth and straightforward integration – as with human workers, the robots work across the presentation layer of standard applications. They can be set up by any non-technical employee.
- Scalable abilities – RPA is exceptionally elastic. The digital workforce can be increased/decreased in real-time, and growth can be maximized by having it work together with employees.
- Better employee morale – by relieving workers of manual, repetitive processes, workers can add value to the company by working on more creative, complex, and strategic tasks. This gives them opportunities to learn new skills and improve their position.
There are many different types of RPA solutions from programmable bots to knowbots to chatbots, all designed to fulfill specific tasks. Whatever the industry or company, there are almost always mundane tasks that have to be done, but nobody wants to do them.
According to Capgemini Consulting, back-office staff spends nearly 80 percent of their time on repetitive manual tasks, lowering motivation and performance. The opportunities and benefits of using machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve business outcomes will only increase as RPA is fast-evolving in terms of credibility, applicability, clarity, and sophistication!