The “Then” and “Now” of RPA

RPA is the latest buzzword in the automation technology world, and I am sure you must have heard about it in some or other way. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of the rapidly growing developments in Business Process Management (BPM) due to its extensive scope. Before moving further, let us first understand RPA in simple terms and there is no other better statement than as Leslie Willcocks said: RPA takes the robot out of the human (Source). So, RPA replaces repetitive clerical task performed by humans, with a virtual workforce. Tasks like data entry of claims, cheques, segregation of documents, answering basic queries, etc. fall under this category. RPA is not dependent on the development of code and does not require any direct access to the code or database of the applications which is a plus point of this technology.

There is a major myth attached with RPA is that humans will be out of the job and all the processes would be taken over by the robots. Let me break this myth for you. So, the monotonous tasks can be easily done under RPA but when there is decision-making or where a creative angle is required; human intervention is certainly required. For example, nowadays there are cars which have both manual mode, automatic mode, self-driving mode, etc. but it cannot function without a driver (At least for now).

Many of us have a notion that this technology is new for us? Experienced BPM practitioners say that RPA has been around for a long time now. Let’s see some examples to understand this better. Automation was extensively used to do research wherein complex information in huge amount had to be collected and integrated to find conclusions. Automation has made the business processes quick and error-free which was unlikely in case of humans performing the same tasks.

The other industry which implemented RPA in their processes is the BPO. They are using robots (IVR system) to guide the customer by prompting them to respond via key-tone or voice-based inputs to gather necessary information. I am sure every one of us has called customer care of our network service provider. After the first welcome message, a series of options are given to direct the customer in the right direction and if your query is not covered then you were directed to the customer care executive for a voice call. This helped the organizations to save a lot of time and faster query resolution.

RPA has given a new dimension to the automation landscape. It is marking its presence in various industries right from banking, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing to retail. A recent report from the global technology research and advisory firm Information Services Group (ISG) has revealed that 92% of the companies in Europe are aiming to adopt robotic process automation (RPA) by 2020 to increase operational efficiencies and improved outcomes.

The fierce competition and dynamic environment in which the businesses operate today make use of technology like RPA a necessity rather than an option. AI and robots are the next gen of the digital workforce and in the coming years, it will certainly strengthen the man and machine relationship. This transformation of the organizations would be driven by a few outcomes mentioned below:

  • Productivity & competency: Robots can work all around the clock without falling ill or getting tired. This ensures that there is no time wastage and the processes will be always on.
  • Error-free: The tasks done would be 100% accurate ensuring that the process is completed quickly and without any errors.
  • Cost-benefits: If we compare the cost of having a robot with a full-time resource; in the longer run robot performing the same day would be beneficial.
  • Flexibility to change: Whenever there is a change in the business process, there is a resistance and a transformation phase in which tasks are hampered. In the case of RPA, this change can be easily done without the need for deep understanding and re-engineering.

To sum up, I would say that RPA is not something totally new. It must have touched every organization in some form or the other. However, it is still evolving and there is definitely more to it. If you are interested to learn more about RPA and its application, do visit our website.

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