Time. It’s the most important commodity we have, yet it’s often the first sacrificed. From back-to-back meetings and endless Zoom calls to manual data entry, it’s nearly impossible to get everything accomplished in one day.
But if you could have someone or something else complete these tasks in order to gain an hour back in your day, would you do it?
If you said, “yes,” we’d like you to meet RPA.
The concept of automating business processes is far from novel. However, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an innovation designed to eliminate repetitious, mundane and time-consuming manual tasks that – while necessary – generate little business value or revenue.
RPA lets businesses automate tasks such as data or time entry, giving employees an extra half hour or more in their day, and this adds up week over week. The result is more time dedicated to strategic work, driving business innovation while helping employees achieve peak performance; this is what we call the ABCs of RPA.
The ABC’s of RPA
The global pandemic and the increase in remote work shed light into all the hundreds, if not thousands, of digital interactions employees and customers can have in a day. This helped business leaders and IT departments uncover where they can automate routine tasks in order to improve customer and employee service while optimizing their workforce. Now a major IT trend for 2021 and beyond, it’s important to note that while RPA can mimic a number of human actions, it’s not a replacement for complex human thought.
RPA is best served for repeatable, consistent processes with steady inputs and outputs, such as time entry in HR or data entry for loan applications in the financial sector or straight-through claims processing in the insurance industry. These forms may have slight variations, but overall, the inputs from users and the outputs into data systems are more or less the same, making them strong candidates for RPA.
Automation also removes the risk of human error. RPA systems never get tired; they are designed to work 24/7 and always follow their programmed jobs, making them much more accurate and effective with data entry while brining efficiency to the business.
RPA brings productivity to your workforce and to your business, helping businesses achieve scale. Humans have limited time in the day, and other priorities or projects can impact one’s ability to complete tasks.
When businesses automate repeatable, simple tasks, you’re not only giving your workforce more time in their day to focus on strategic initiatives, but you’re also increasing the speed at which these tasks can get completed.
For example, if a bank wants to test the processing of 20,000 loans through their system, it could take days, if not weeks, for a department to key in the data and submit the forms for approval. With RPA, though, the time to process one loan can happen in minutes, if not seconds, and now the bank can process at least double the amount of loans in a month than previously.
In fact, RPA reduced employee requirements in business shared-service centers by 65 percent last year (CIO.com). This means RPA works like a digital assistant. It’s not about replacing your workforce, but rather making employees more efficient and optimizing back-office processes while saving money, bringing us to the “C” in our ABCs of RPA.
Gartner predicts this market will reach nearly $2 billion this year as more businesses look to automate certain tasks so that their employees can focus on more revenue-driving activities. As mentioned above, RPA is a complement to, not a replacement for, your workforce—and it’s incredibly cost-effective.
RPA solutions are budget-friendly: they are designed to take on repeatable, simple, mundane tasks making it a less costly solution than AI-driven software or enterprise solutions that require investments in data migration or data warehouses. RPA is also more tech-agnostic, meaning it can work with legacy systems and applications versus other more progressive solutions.
And of course, the expense in hiring and training new employees is greater than a one-time investment in RPA. Plus, RPA is not designed for one job or one process; it’s a system that can be programmed to learn multiple jobs and tasks across multiple departments ranging from HR to finance.
While RPA brings more benefits than risk, there are a few pitfalls of RPA. Often, when people hear the term or phrase, “robotic process automation” they think human replacement. It’s not designed to automate nor learn highly dynamic, complex tasks that require intellectual property and strategic thinking.
So, when starting down the path of RPA, ensure you identify a few of the tasks that are best fit for its capabilities or else you may bite off more than you can chew. Our next blog, “How to Swim in RPA without Drowning” will cover this specific topic so that your business and your teams are set up for success when implementing RPA.
About Scott Thompson
Scott Thompson is our director of solution architecture, senior management consultant, leading Veracity’s hyperautomation and data strategy efforts. In this role, he works with business leaders and technical teams in the industries of banking and financial service, insurance and risk management, healthcare, engineering, utilities, and manufacturing to advance their internal data infrastructure and bring business intelligence to the forefront of strategy. With over 25 years of experience in technology and IT leadership, Scott has a wealth of knowledge in system migrations, integrations, data management and custom application development. He’s received several awards from major industry outlets like Information Week and NetworkWorld.