Automation is no more a buzzword, thanks to the recent innovations of automation disruptors that are forcing companies to put on their tech hats. But before adopting an automation strategy what one must know is that, automation is not only about automating simple tasks but also involves automating high-volume, repetitive tasks that typically require humans to perform. And this we call robotic process automation (RPA). 

To define RPA, it is the use of software bots to automate monotonous tasks emulating human actions. Just like people, these software bots can navigate systems, extract information, copy and move data, file forms, analyze reports, and so. Unlike humans, RPA cannot think and lacks judgemental and decision-making skills. 

According to Grand View Research, the RPA market valued at $1.4 billion in 2019 is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 40.6% between 2020 and 2027. RPA is gaining momentum across all industries, including healthcare, insurance, finance, logistics, retail, etc. in administering business processes, IT support processes, remote infrastructure and back-office work. According to Deloitte, “RPA will achieve ‘near-universal adoption’ in the next 5 years. 

Before beginning with evaluating the processes, make sure to answer the following questions to assess whether you need an RPA system. 

  • Does your business involve high-volume, repetitive tasks?
  • Are the processes mostly rule-based?
  • Do your business processes contain sensitive information that are prone to human errors? 
  • How many times do your employees rework on a particular task?
  • Do you think your highly paid knowledge workers can contribute to much more critical projects, instead of just collating, keying data and making data analysis reports? 
  • Have you considered making detailed process flows to avoid chaos in the workflow? 
  • What processes need to be done 24×7, without breaks? 
  • Have you identified such processes?
  • Are there processes that use any core system like enterprise content management systems? 

If you have instant affirmative answers to most of these questions, it’s time to revolutionize your business with RPA. 

How to identify the right process candidate? 

 Generally RPA is deemed to be fit for monotonous tasks. Now that you have got an idea of your processes, here are some factors to consider before beginning the groundwork and taking up RPA consultation.

High in volume

If administrative responsibilities and menial tasks are eating up a majority of the workday for most of your employees, with creative things going for a toss, it would be ideal to automate such processes. Did you know that six out of ten employees  in the US spend up to 50% of their regular day on scheduling meetings and calls and catching up on emails. (Source: Time Etc.). According to the study in which 1000 individuals participated, nearly 90% of the respondents spent less than 25% of their time on creative work. 

Rule-based 

Imagine how mind-numbing it is to pull out data from one place, transfer it, make entries in multiple fields, copy & paste, sort and cross-verify. Also, the entries might have to be updated from time to time. These types of processes do not necessarily need any human intervention or decision-making, and are simply based on predefined rules. Such back-office tasks approximately could take anywhere from 50-80% of the time. 

Complexity

Complex spreadsheets, legacy systems and sensitive information – A best example would be a bank statement reconciliation task. It is a tedious, lengthy and slow process in which representatives compare the internal records with the bank statements to ensure there are no discrepancies. The manual work of extracting data from bank statements and uploading them into the ERP system is prone to error, plus it’s more susceptible to fraud if some employees are scrupulous to hide any malicious transactions within the company. 

ROI potential

Investing in an RPA solution is worth every penny. RPA promises better ROI.According to the Institute of RPA, RPA solutions can deliver an immediate savings of 25% to 40% in labour costs alone. A study by McKinsey concluded that RPA automation of business processes could bring in an ROI of between 30 and 200% in the first year. That being said, seeing RPA only for monetary gains alone might not be a wise decision. Instead one should also assess the efficiency. A good rule of thumb would be to start with simple and small processes. 

For example, storing customer information. RPA can automatically categorize data like date of purchase, purchase history, personal information like contact details and birthdays. This process might look simpler but is one of the most labour-intensive jobs for a customer care department. 

This simple formula for calculating ROI for RPA: ROI = (Net ROI/Cost of investment) * 100 will be more helpful

Tasks with unstructured data

Unstructured data – As the name indicates, these data are not arranged in any fixed model. These could be anything from email messages, media files, webpages, text files like spreadsheets, presentations and documents, and so on. Unstructured data when analyzed can help you in guiding important business decisions. Analyzing them is not an easy task with conventional ways. RPA can be the best bet here to convert them into structured formats. 

Business documents like invoices, purchase orders may come in a variety of formats like emails, paper messages, etc. RPA when deployed with optical character recognition capabilities can extract relevant fields invoice number, customer name, prices, and other details based on predefined templates. Further, RPA bots can also cross-verify the invoices against purchase orders and alert the representatives when there are discrepancies. More than 50% of human tasks are spent on unstructured data. With the help of RPA, if organizations can reduce or eliminate this, companies can become more agile, efficient and competitive. 

Related Reading: 30X reduction in overall processing time by implementing BluePrism RPA

Examples of RPA processes 

Following are some examples of processes where RPA can be utilized to its maximum for reducing human intervention:

  • Sales & Marketing

Right from nurturing the leads, building relations with customers, updating client interactions on CRM, generating invoices, updating scorecards, both sales and marketing departments involve many operational activities. RPA bots can help automate the task of nurturing leads, prepare invoices, update accounting records, generate mass emails, and more. 

  • Customer onboarding

Customer onboarding across industries is very important to reduce churn rates and enhance customer experience. According to Deloitte, banks take nearly 20-90 days for onboarding new clients.  With legacy systems and manual processes, the onboarding process poses challenges and could increase the duration further. RPA can automate the steps like gathering of data, verifying customer records, performing KYC and AML checks, developing client reports, and validating data. RPA bots can eliminate human errors and streamline the workflow without bottlenecks. 

  • IT support

IT support desk may always be inundated with time-consuming, high-priority and repetitive tasks. RPA bots are capable of automating simple tasks like setting up new user accounts, triggering reminder notifications to users (for example, changing passwords, rebooting applications or updating any software  for renewal of license), generating reports on the number of incidents reported and solved monthly or annually, the time taken to resolve one incident, triaging tickets to the respective representative based on their priority, and more. 

Connect with us at ask@vuram.com to embark on your RPA journey. 

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