By: Katie Johns
The CIOs want their workforce to be free from mundane tasks and think innovatively so that they can contribute more towards high value work.
Enter Robotic Process Automation or RPA (which is often confused with Simple Workflow Automation). Wikipedia defines RPA as Robotic process automation (or RPA or RPAAI) as an emerging form of business process automation technology based on the notion of software robots or artificial intelligence (AI) workers. Unlike what many believe, RPA will not replace the human workforce but allow them time to focus on tasks that require creativity and ingenuity.
Gartner has predicted that by 2020, the RPA market will grow to $1 billion. There are many biggies using bots like Walmart, American Express Global Business Travel, Ernst and Young, Walgreens and the likes. Walmart is using more than 500 bots to perform various tasks such as answering customer concerns to fetching useful information/ documents required for audits.
Image Source: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2015/12/09/14/13/robot-1084776_960_720.jpg
How does RPA help?
RPA aims to streamline operations in an enterprise and reduce costs. Enterprises can automate repetitive business processes or tasks that are rule-based. There are many CIOs who believe that RPA is indeed intelligent automation or IA enabled with the help of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence tools.
In the simplest of sense, RPA can enable an enterprise to apply technology that can be governed by business logic and structured inputs. RPA tools can make a robot to capture data, give desired responses and communicate with other digital systems, as the need might be. RPA can manage tasks that are as simple as sending emails, migrating data, perform invoicing, and bots can even manage something as complex as an automating ERP system.
RPA, with a growing popularity, offers a world of possibilities. However, it is not the same as AI, ML and cognitive computing, and therefore in its capability in that sense.
What are the benefits of RPA?
- Reduce staffing cost drastically. Instead of hiring staff members, bots can process many requests
- Obviously, bots can work without a break and can prove to be highly efficient
- Bots happen to be more accurate compared to humans as they can do every task the same way every time
- Bots come at a low-cost and are easy to implement. These require no custom software or integration of deep system
- Large enterprises, where the adoption of RPA is higher, will drastically reduce their manpower for business shared service centers
- There can be better analytics and better compliance with robots providing detailed audit logs
- There are many enterprises for whom the gap between legacy systems and emerging technologies is vast. RPA can be that bridge to the next gen technologies like AI and ML
It’s not necessary that bot implementation always succeed. If you’re aware of the factors that may lead to RPA implementation, you can at least keep a close check on them.
How can you ensure a successful RPA implementation?
Set your expectations right
There are times when we have high expectations from RPA implementations while the reality is that RPA is just the first step to a bigger plan that involves Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. For example, machine learning can help digitize data after automating tasks with the help of RPA.
Get a RPA roadmap
At times the focus is so much on getting the bots up and running that the critical step that involves getting a RPA roadmap is ignored. Roadmap is required to determine the goals from automation, establish the end-to-end process, and resolve the sub sets of the process that need to be automated with RPA. The impact of the automation needs to be determined beforehand.
Determine governance of bots
Technology doesn’t run on its own but that what CIOs believe. Once the bots are deployed, things will be managed on their own. However, bots need to be managed and maintained. They must realize that software updates and security patches are a must for bots to work consistently and efficiently. For example, every time a password is updated, the bot will not be able to log in if the password is not updated elsewhere. Automation will come to a rude halt. With a governance model, issues can be discovered quickly and everything can run as expected.
If you’re seeking help with RPA implementation, we can help you gain visibility into how it can help you gain efficiency and effectiveness in your enterprise business processes.