Automation holds immense potential for companies that are seeking to improvise their business functions to achieve greater efficiency, provide a pleasant customer experience, and reduce operations costs.
RPA is the primary step towards automation. It can be best described as a software robot that is capable of automating repetitive human tasks.
RPA often acts as a middle path between manual interaction and complete automation.
RPA works well where the back-end applications are obsolete and it would make significant changes and efforts to enable automation.
Intelligent Automation combines Robotic Process Automation with Artificial Intelligence-including Machine Learning, analytics, Natural Language processing, and machine vision to provide an end-to-end solution.
While RPA, in general, executes repetitive and manual tasks, Intelligent Automation Software thinks, learns, and assimilate on its own and performs tasks in a much quicker and efficient manner.
Benefits of RPA:
Significant Cost Savings: Since RPA can automate certain manual tasks, organizations can assign human resources to execute more challenging tasks, thereby helping in increasing efficiency and driving down costs at the organizations.
Reduced Customer Attrition: Since Chatbots work 24/7, it helps in a drastic reduction in customer wait times, thereby leading to quicker response and increased customer satisfaction.
Happier Employees: Since employees no longer need to spend time on manual repetitive tasks, they can focus their energies towards more strategic work, thereby increasing their morale and productivity.
Increased Accuracy: Humans tend to commit mistakes and errors, but RPA software, which follows specific workflows and rules, can reduce errors This could be a game-changer in certain industries where compliance is a primary goal.
Minimal Coding: RPA with a low code platform requires very little technical expertise to set up. Simple drag and drop functionality makes it popular among non-developers to install and operate.
Challenges of RPA:
Despite all the benefits, RPA comes with some serious challenges that need to be addressed for ensuring super success.
Work Culture Integration: While RPA will make certain jobs obsolete, it will also create new employment avenues for the employees. Organizations need to foster innovation and encourage employees to learn new technology to enable them to maximize productivity. The involvement of resources is critical for ensuring successful outcomes.
Scalability: Scalability, by far, remains the biggest challenge for companies that are adopting RPA. Installing many bots has led to significant delays, cost overruns than anticipated.
Frequent regulation changes also have proved to be a pitfall where it could take several months to make the whole system compliant and throw the RPA software off gear.
Sub Par Returns: There is no guarantee that investments in RPA will lead to significant gains. While it might be possible to automate around 50% of the tasks, but that may not translate into 50% or more cost reductions.
How to Get the Best out of RPA:
In the case of RPA, there is no one size fits all solution that can help companies to get the most benefits.
Involve IT Team Early on: CXOs must involve IT resources in the initial stages and plan the entire implementation. The IT team and the business team must be on the same page to ensure the right expectations are set at the beginning to derive the a=most benefits.
POC: Many bots fail to become operational due to faults in the initial planning process and frequent change management. In pursuit of faster deployment, companies often bypass the communication exchange between the bots leading to breakages and errors.
It is advisable to build a working prototype that can show the desired capabilities in the RPA system. It is imperative to figure out how the various bots will function together to achieve the desired output. Only after careful deliberation, the management must go ahead with the actual deployment.
Develop an RPA Centre of Excellence: To get the best results from RPA, it is paramount to develop a centre of excellence where the team performs the below-mentioned tasks:
- Prepare Business Use Cases
- Prepare Sprint Plan
- Calculate ROI
- Review Plan to Performance
With the change in business regulations and processes, the team must continue to tweak the software to meet the business objectives.
Estimate the Impact on Business: Businesses always look forward to RPA as a way to reduce costs or generate high ROI. Also, companies need to integrate RPA into the business to provide compelling customer service and increase customer retention. A well-conceived RPA can help businesses to achieve the desired outcome.
Upgrade to Intelligent Automation: While companies can begin or start automation of manual tasks with the help of RPA, they should also have a long-term vision of upgrading to intelligent automation to increase the quality, efficiency and achieve scale.
Industries where RPA is Prevalent :
Banking and Financial Industry: Many banks have deployed RPA to carry out automated day-to-day tasks like account opening, billing, consumer research, and feedback collection.
Insurance: Insurance is one of the sectors in which can automate a lot of tasks with the help of RPA. Companies can deploy RPA to carry out claims processing, regulatory compliance, and insurance underwriting-related tasks.
Retail: With the boom experienced in online shopping, RPA can improvise the backend operations and increase customer retention. The retail industry can leverage RPA to manage a host of regular tasks like inventory management, consumer feedback, sending invoices, and anomaly detection.
Health Sector: Hospitals are now deploying RPA on a large scale to process claims, update patient information, inventory management amongst other tasks.
As mentioned, RPA neither one size fits all or a panacea for all problems that organizations face. Companies must do an internal assessment with the help of the IT team and the business team and figure out the feasibility before implementing RPA.