Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a first step in the digital journey that has just started. Throughout the 20th century, the way businesses operate has continuously evolved. One important step was robotization of production lines: first feared and denied as always when change occurs, its benefits are now highly praised. Today, corporate functions are initiating their robotic revolution and RPA will bring them to the next level.
What is RPA? It is a type of software or “robot” driven by business logic and structured inputs whose purpose is to automate business processes. They mimic human actions by performing manual, repetitive and high-volume tasks. RPA can be used for front-office activities which usually aim to replicate human interaction such as chatbots and voice recognition-based applications. Most back-office processes (data entry and reporting processes for example) are ideal for RPA technology as they usually have high volume and low complexity and involve a limited number of exceptional scenarios.
The first generation of RPA (RPA 1.0) was able to only process unstructured data such as invoices, email messages and webpages. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) variable unstructured data can now also be processed. Today 40% of all work could be automated with technology and this figure will certainly continue to increase.
What benefits can a company expect from RPA? The first is time-savings, and then, of course, cost-savings. Software robots are operational 24/7 and work much faster than a human worker. In general RPA costs an average of one fifth the price of an employee. RPA is not only a way to accelerate productivity and reduce costs, but it also increases efficiency. RPA delivers 100 percent data accuracy when humans usually account for 88 percent of process errors. By providing customers an immediate, clear and accurate response, RPA highly participates in developing a positive customer experience.
Also, implementing and running an RPA tool is relatively inexpensive and easy as it does not require specific IT skills. To deploy and manage smart software robots does not involve any changes to the underlying IT setup of an organization. It is complementary. RPA is quickly operational and efficient and usually offers a return on investment of between 30 to 200% in the first year.
Will RPA replace human workers? RPA should not be perceived by employees as a threat towards their jobs. RPA is clearly the most efficient tool to automate a large number of rules based repetitive tasks. Employees usually dislike these tasks involving data. It often comes with a lot of pressure and is not rewarding. Plus, there is an exponential increase in data every year. RPA allows employees to focus on higher-value tasks requiring human abilities such as emotional intelligence, reasoning, and interaction with the customer. Their job satisfaction will increase. No end-to-end operational activity can be handed entirely to a robot i.e., some parts will always require human specific abilities. RPA solutions should offer a collaborative environment that supports both robotic and human working side by side. All scenarios forecast an important job growth.
Speed and accuracy are vital for an organization. Data processes are key elements. Relying on manual processes keeps organization stuck in slow motion. A large number of organizations are already using RPA and there is no turning back. The US and Asia are far ahead of Europe. And intelligent process automation is already on its way.
DATAA delivers strategic insights and will assist your company in every step of this new challenge.