What is Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic Process Automation is a technology that allows individuals to configure robots or computer software to mimic and incorporate the gestures of human interaction within digital systems to execute a business process.
Software robots can understand content displayed on a screen, navigate through systems, analyze and extract data, and perform a wide range of defined actions as well as repetitive tasks. These bots can perform such tasks substantially faster yielding better consistency than humans with error-free results.
Top RPA trends to look forward to in 2021
Here is a detailed look at the trends in RPA and intelligent automation in 2021 -
1. Inclusion of AI in RPA
The consolidation of artificial intelligence with traditional automation tools has led to cognitive or intelligent automation. It facilitates the automation of immensely complex processes and helps extend the scope of automatable activities.
Both RPA and intelligent automation emulate human actions, where the former executes this via user interfaces, the latter implements machine vision, speech recognition, and several other pattern detection capabilities.
Tasks such as foreclosure audit review and resolution, personalized offers and promotions, personalized financial advice, internal communication monitoring, customer queries, risk exposure monitoring, and more that might appear too complex for traditional automation have gotten streamlined to cognitive automation.
2. Modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Companies associated with global system integrators or audit-based counseling have leveraged the opportunity provided by RPA to market business systems and enhance services to better cater to the customers’ needs.
RPA adoption in the enterprise is flourishing, and organizations have begun investing in RPA to target processes associated with ERP systems.
Combining RPA and ERP can render a substantial return on investment by yielding enhanced speed, efficiency and mitigate errors.
3. Enhanced adoption to remote work
The transition to working remotely has been in vogue as companies hire remote teams to alleviate operational challenges and curb office spaces.
Software bots equipped with AI capabilities are ideal for the front-office as well as back-office tasks on-site. Bots can deal with automatic status updates, reminders, meeting links, and other tasks thus, streamlining remote work operations.
RPA leaves the staff better equipped in managing their work time from home efficiently that helps businesses flourish without any hassle or miscommunication within remote teams.
4. Extension of RPA adoption beyond IT-related domains
Another trend in RPA for 2021 is that the myth which associates robotic process automation with “the influence of IT in the business world” will lose ground.
RPA is not playing the ‘newcomer's role' anymore but is manifesting into a well-known process for enhancing business productivity.
As its adoption rate increases and more organizations witness its benefits across several business processes and divisions, business leaders have realized that RPA is not only limited to IT firms.
The entire range of C-suite executives that spans across business and IT units (CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, CHROs, COOs, or CIOs) will emphasize meeting the strategic business objectives, and implementing RPA will be perceived as a primary contributor.
The Gartner report mentioned above predicts that until 2024, about 50% of RPA adoption will occur outside IT departments.
Adopting RPA in your business - Benefits and Augmentations
By automating mundane tasks that need minimal to no human intervention, businesses can -
- Direct their workforce toward vital core functions that require decision-making and the involvement of human intelligence.
- Save expenditures by swapping out human potential with a machine.
- Boost productivity as robots get more tasks done in less time with minimal errors.
- Augment the overall efficiency of an organization.
Here are some reasons that can answer why RPA must get incorporated in your business tasks:-
1. Optimize resource utilization
To bring about high efficiency in business operations, you must eradicate the risk of errors, a factor that is immensely prevalent when humans are performing laborious tasks.
These tasks get undertaken with minimal interest and, thus, suboptimal vigilance. RPA is beneficial where you can swap humans and delegate those tasks that emphasize core activities. This gesture can help raise the company's standards.
By optimizing the utilization of human resources, businesses have tedious tasks performed with minimal resistance from employees worn out by mundane ones.
2. Enhanced adaptability and flexibility
Robotic Process Automation introduces flexibility to business activities. Since RPA systems can accommodate varying conditions and situations, it makes them useful where sections of a constant process vary in specific RPA systems.
Studies revealed that when people got asked to make minor changes in mundane tasks, they typically forgot to make the modifications.
RPA programs are installed on servers to counter this challenge, boosting process flexibility and scalability if the demand skyrockets or the scope of a process expands.
3. Efficient communication
Replacing document creation tools with RPA can augment businesses as they are better equipped to execute critical communication tasks by employing its intelligence.
RPA can conduct alterations in single documents with triggers alongside processes and enforce these changes across other documents. This gesture alleviates the pressure on your staff to update files manually and make minute edits.
Such processes can ensure the end-users, representatives, and on-field workers receive the updated information with no delays.
4. Automated responses and triggers
Typically, each RPA system harbors scheduling capabilities, and although it operates beyond the scope of a scheduler, it aids managers with fully automated and semi-automated scheduling.
In the former situation, it merely triggers and responds when a particular event occurs, typically human activities such as a click. With unattended automation, the trigger does not have to be a human activity but can be anything, like an email or a document.
Businesses can pinpoint specific domains in their operations that can be entirely or partly automated using triggers and responses.
5. Workforce empowerment
When robots perform tedious tasks, employees receive recreational time and thus are more productive at work. Studies have proven that employee satisfaction increases as they perform relevant and worthy jobs.
As employees perform significant duties, they expect appreciation, which then becomes a leading driver in their efforts and helps build a company with motivated people.
Another benefit of employee satisfaction is when employees are brimming with morale and elevated spirits; they rarely feel the urge to switch between companies and jobs.
6. Insights and analytics
With robotic tools executing tasks on data and analytics, there is a lesser risk of data breaches, obsolete information piled up, or erroneous analytics.
RPA enables companies to see right through their data and receive actionable insights with minimum error rate. Robots can also gather data from domains where it was not feasible for humans.
Therefore, a broader scope of data assemblage and analysis leads to more extensive insights. In the meantime, employees can concentrate on more sophisticated analytics, which leads to efficient decision-making.
Use Cases of RPA in Several Business Domains
Here are certain robotic process automation use cases that have streamlined the mode of operation of different business domains:-
1. Sales and Purchase Order
Traditional sales order entry systems only process structured data that comprises order requests as paper, electronic spreadsheets, or any other standardized formats.
However, as organizations have started getting order requests as text messages, handwritten documents, emails, and any other format with distinct layouts, data extraction is becoming tedious. This situation has created the need for sales order processing automation.
On the other hand, for purchase orders, the procurement team of a product selling company has to process the procurement request and generate a purchase order manually. This scenario leads to a delay in registering a Purchase Order and increases the scope for errors.
Perks of Automation
Automation can significantly aid the sales and purchase order industry by -
- Reducing labor costs
- Increasing cycle times
- Uplifting customer experience
- Swift order approval from the appropriate department head
- Processing the request efficiently and swiftly to initiate a PO.
2. Retail automation
With the rising complexity in each industry, retail has encountered several hurdles because of varying customer demands and increasing requirements of high user satisfaction, calling for the need for retail automation.
Retail business models require the reduction of costs to manage e-commerce supply chains, manage increasing demands from suppliers to pass on raw-material cost inflation, alleviate investments to compete successfully, and eliminate labor costs.
Perks of Automation
RPA in retail can automate and streamline the workflow of most repetitive tasks by-
- Streamlining inventory management and automated bill generation
- Automating loyalty scheme processes
- Rendering greater efficiency in onboarding, staff selection, and training
- Eliminating labor costs entirely
It is imperative to be aware of your inventory levels to ensure that you have an adequate amount of products and spares to satisfy the business demands. It is also equally crucial to track logistics and ensure the streamlined operation of logistics to enhance customer experience.
As consumer and client bases are growing at rapid rates, supply chains must adapt to extensive and complex means of information and product transportation.
However, with so many time-consuming processes that tag along with managing a successful supply chain, manually tracking supply chain and logistics has become troublesome.
Perks of Automation
RPA helps supply chain automation and logistics industry by -
- Notifying you when you are low on stock levels
- Reordering the products that fall below a threshold level
- Predicting the optimal inventory levels
- Providing access to your address book
- Notifying about fuel charges
- Real-time tracking of goods in transit
4. Finance & Accounting
Incorporating RPA in accounting and the financial sector enables optimum efficiency by automating mundane tasks. Investing in robotics in finance and accounting can provide competitive leverage to companies in the race to transform themselves digitally by reducing costs, boosting excellence in business processes, and rendering an enhanced customer service.
Perks of Automation
Incorporating robotic process automation in finance benefits the following domains in the business -
- Accounts Receivable
- Accounts Payable
- Travel and Expense Processing
- Operational Finance and Accounting
- Investment Management
- Financial Planning and Forecasting
- Financial Statement Preparation
- Tax Reporting
If you are a healthcare provider, you are handling endless paperwork and administrative tasks that drain your energies and divert your attention from patient care. Such obstacles make people wonder what is RPA in the medical field and how it can get implemented in their mundane tasks.
RPA robots can emulate almost any predictable human action, enabling them to log into applications, transfer files, fill in healthcare forms, and more. Leveraging this technology in healthcare can help free up clinicians’ time and strengthen care delivery.
Perks of Automation
Robotics Process Automation can streamline many of the troublesome tasks that clutter up your healthcare system, that include -
- Managing inventory
- Scheduling appointments
- Digitizing patient files
- Entering repetitive data
- Billing patients and processing claims
If you run a business and use the traditional means to monitor and process cash flow, you are losing the benefits of automation in this sector.
Manual operations are expensive and time-consuming. It can also cause you to misplace and lose money because of their error-prone nature. Such scenarios call for automation cash flow processes.
Perks of Automation
RPA can aid in the cash flow sector by -
- Downloading files from bank portals and emails automatically
- Updating files in the master file
- Effectively mitigating risk and fraud
- Eliminating human error
- Enhancing expense control and redundant purchases
Choosing an appropriate RPA solution for your business needs - Tips to follow
Your business needs an intelligent Digital Workforce solution that can keep up with your existing requirements today and provide support for modern digital transformation steps tomorrow.
To ensure that you invest in the right technology and technology partner, here are five must-haves an RPA vendor must provide to ensure a productive and successful automation journey -
1. Deployment flexibility
Pick a vendor that offers the broadest choice of deployment options, such as on-premise, cloud, as well as hybrid. Conflict of interests between your business and the RPA vendor when picking a deployment option can lead to you beginning your RPA journey all over again.
You must also ensure that the vendor provides a solution that is operable on an extensive variety of interfaces and all your legacy systems and applications. You must ensure that it is code-free, non-invasive, non-disruptive, and easy to deploy.
2. High-Grade Protection
You must ensure that your organization meets regulatory compliance regulations and gets shielded from threat factors. Compliance fines can be steep, and businesses get hacked every day, costing valuable data alongside revenue and reputation.
For compliance, at a minimum, pick a solution that saves automated workflow information in an activity log. Where solutions contrast is in the degree of their protection against cyberattacks.
Pick an RPA platform that provides built-in enterprise-grade security and governance, for instance, having SOC 2 Type 1 certification, with multi-layer identification and authentication.
3. Consolidation with AI
Robotic Process Automation encounters certain limitations and thus needs intelligence in the form of AI to broaden its scope and breadth. For instance, 80% of data today is unstructured. This data includes emails, website content, social media, text messages, word processing, media content, and more.
RPA and even some intelligent automation types fail to read or evaluate that information, rendering it essentially redundant for such processes.
Therefore, it is imperative to look for an RPA vendor that emphasizes delivering innovative products and services and offers AI incorporated with the RPA solution to cater to all data types.
A built-in capability provides several potential advantages over a platform that gets added in from a third party. Such assets include optimum performance, compatibility, as well as scalability as you advance with digital transformation.
You might be considering RPA for one process or a specific department. If your business is like the most, you will soon realize the benefits of RPA and wish to scale your bots throughout your enterprise.
To ensure successful deployment, choose a vendor with a diverse, extensive portfolio, for instance, with solutions for back office and front office, for myriad divisions such as finance and accounting and human resources.
Your preferred vendor must provide expertise in a variety of industries such as life sciences, financial services, manufacturing, public sector, contact center, healthcare, insurance, and telecom.
The right approach and Tools
Several automation programs fail to scale beyond the launch phase, primarily because of the human element -
- There exists a lack of focus on business users who portray as being the finest resource for accelerating and facilitating automation.
- The program relies on specialist developers who have a specified time and limited resources to drive scaling.
- The people who manage the enterprise structure, the RPA program managers or the IT administrators, lack the tools required to perform their job efficiently.
Pick an RPA vendor that emphasizes the business user, RPA manager, and specialist developer with solutions crafted for each.
Empowering process owners to identify automation opportunities and automate their processes can help you scale efficiently and receive a quicker ROI on your investment.
Customer support provided as product assistance, community sharing, and training is pivotal for a successful RPA deployment. Your preferred RPA vendor must be a traveling companion throughout your entire journey, and not merely once when the proof of concept gets completed, and you have begun its implementation.
That vendor must have professionally trained Customer Success Managers (CSMs) and 24-hour global support for global customers at all stages in the process.
The vendor must maintain an active community of users who communicate regarding their real-world experiences and implementation practices.
Customers must be able to draw advantage from RPA training opportunities via an extensive, ongoing program that provides courses and learning trails for all levels. Intelligent customer support can aid everyone in your business to get the most out of an RPA investment.
Robotic process automation is a software technology platform that streamlines building, deploying, and managing software robots that imitate human gestures interacting with digital systems or software.
RPA streamlines workflows, making organizations more valuable, flexible, and responsive. It also promotes employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity by eliminating mundane tasks from their workdays.
With several options available in the market, it is imperative to assess your business needs first and then evaluate the available RPA solutions by keeping the parameters mentioned above in mind. Not only should the software be flexible and adaptive, but also be future-proof and never be behind on updates.
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