Robotic Process Automation at a Glance
The way businesses operate and deliver value to customers is continuously changing. More than ever, digital transformation, the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, is a disruptor that takes a leading role in changing companies’ strategic landscape.
Today’s era of digital transformation is seeing more organizations turn to cognitive automation to optimize their business operations.
The history of robotics technology
Always looking to improve productivity and cost-effectiveness, many organizations implemented advanced robotics technology, or robots, as well as computer systems for their control. These technologies are used to develop machines that can substitute for humans and replicate human actions.
In several industries, physical robots are doing many of the repetitive and often dangerous physical jobs that humans previously performed. Industrial welding, deep-sea exploration, and disaster response are examples of areas where physical robots are increasingly useful.
What is RPA?
The equivalent in the digital world is called Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is a way of automating high-volume, low-complexity, routine processes so that recurring and manual digital work is done by software robots, or bots. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone.
Examples of these processes include updating employee contact and payroll data or transferring data from one software program to another, such as from a spreadsheet to a customer relationship management (CRM) system. RPA can improve the speed and accuracy of these processes.
RPA has been growing exponentially over the last few years. Today, it’s the fastest-growing segment of the enterprise software market, according to Gartner.
Applications of RPA
Despite that growth, the reality is a vast amount of business processes are still manual. Having said this, there’s a very good opportunity for the entire culture of an organization to get familiar with bots.
For example, those who create reports as part of their job have to tediously copy data from different systems, paste it into the correct fields in a Word-based report template (or something similar), convert it to a PDF, and then email it to their boss — tasks that could eat hours of valuable time every day.
RPA can completely automate those tasks, freeing employees to do higher-value work — such as providing better, more personal assistance to customers.
Benefits of RPA
The beauty of RPA is that once bots are programmed correctly, they never make mistakes. They’re 100% accurate 100% of the time, and they can work around the clock.
Virtually any repetitive, technology-based task or process can be automated, from simple copy-and-paste commands to complex tasks — such as sensing when a customer is upset and escalating the issue to a human worker.
Automation opportunities abound, particularly for accounting, human resources, life sciences, healthcare, call centers, banking and finance, and insurance. Especially useful for compliance, RPA ensures compliance reporting is done correctly all the time.
The return on investment of RPA is derived from multiple areas of impact. Immediate quantifiable benefits include dramatic error reduction, compliance, and audit savings. RPA unlocks even greater return in facilitating digital transformation, enabling incremental revenue opportunities and freeing resources to focus on process improvements and value-added work.