Robotic Process Automation (RPA) — the automation of complex processes that replaces humans through the implementation of advanced software — is transforming the future of back-office processes.
Businesses across the board realize that RPA is the next significant digital transformation, capable of enabling employees to stop working on repetitive tasks. Robotic Process Automation allows employees to concentrate on more value-adding initiatives, which are imperative for the firm’s bottom line.
Unlike previous technologies, a massive advantage of RPA is that it is a technological transformation without the headache of switching systems and processes. RPA offers new options for businesses to close the gaps of missing system interfaces if any are left open by IT. It can work with and between the systems already in place, finding all the necessary information. Moreover, robotic automation can learn from users, copying their processes and steps. On the other hand, it is a collaborative task for both businesses to ensure that RPA is not only working to relieve symptoms. Therefore, check for other options, such as a stable system interface, because this could be a better option for fixing the source of issues.
Benefits of RPA in the back office
When discussing the substantial benefits of Robotic Process Automation, the typical areas affected are effectiveness, quality, compliance, scalability, risk optimization, and workforce performance. Therefore, companies choose to implement RPA for several reasons, including cost savings, quality improvements, reductions in headcount, assurances that regulatory requirements will be followed, and increasing the speed of processes. The statistics indicate that robots make fewer mistakes and work significantly faster than humans. Robotic automation can cost as little as 1/3rd of the price of a full-time offshore employee (FTE) and as little as 1/5th of the price of an onshore FTE. This results in anywhere between 20%-50% cost savings.
Robotic Process Automation also frees employees from tedious tasks, enabling employees to focus instead on value-adding initiatives that involve creativity and decision-making. Unlike the creation of an invoice, only humans can complete it.
Benefits – Why companies are increasingly interested in RPA
- RPA can significantly reduce costs
- RPA can reduce risk and increase compliance
- RPA improves process effectiveness and efficiency
- RPA can improve the quality of work produced
- RPA can save companies time on repetitive tasks
- It is an emerging technology with a growing list of use cases
- Faster and targeted bene¬ts realization
- It does not require a heavy upfront investment
- Minimal impact on existing IT landscape
- Possibility of developing internal capacity
- Flexible to adapt to changing business environments.
RPA vs. ERP
A key advantage of Robotic Process Automation is that unlike previous IT transformations such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERPs), RPA does not require a massive upfront investment or a significant change to the current IT systems and processes. RPA can be implemented relatively quickly compared to previous digital transformations, as it requires minimal capital or infrastructure. RPA can act as an additional employee who can work between the IT systems and the back office processes in various functions. Similarly to humans, RPA can learn from people and copy their processes, eventually taking over the processes that humans once completed at a much faster pace. Robotic Process Automation will continue to develop and work with increasingly complex processes and tasks.
RPA vs. BPM
Although Robotic Process Automation and Business Process Management have similarities, they are, in fact, fundamentally different. BPM works from the top down, standardizing all processes throughout its implementation. In comparison, Robotic Process Automation works from the bottom up, integrating itself with processes. While RPA automates processes, it does not standardize them, nor does it help to standardize processes. BPM standardizes processes but does not automate them. Even though RPA does not standardize processes, having standardized processes are hugely beneficial for RPA, as can be seen by the fact that the majority of processes that will see an increase in RPA usage shortly are also the processes that are currently the most standardized.
Criteria for candidate processes and tasks for RPA
If back-office processes meet the following criteria, then it is worth thinking about introducing RPA. It is important to note that even if processes within an organization are strong candidates for RPA, companies must consider their overall IT strategy and ensure that implementing RPA fits.
- Processes that require access to multiple systems
- Processes prone to human error
- Processes that can be broken down into unambiguous rules
- Process, once started, needs limited human intervention
- Processes that require limited exception handling
- Processes executed frequently, in large numbers, or with significant peaks in workload
- The process has no strategic fit.
Robotic Process Automation is already transforming back-office processes in Customer Service, Finance & Accounting, and Human Resource Management for rules-based tasks. As the graph above demonstrates, RPA can currently work with tasks that follow a complex yet specific and repetitive pattern. As RPA continually improves and develops, the software can move into the outer peripheries and work with knowledge-based and, eventually, all cognitive tasks. All in all, robotic Process Automation is not only advantageous for employees but also for companies.