Increasingly, robotic process automation (RPA) is seen as a quick way to reduce costs and improve performance, with software automates tasks performed by humans.
This technology often adds the most value for clients who have manual, high-volume, repetitive, rule-based processes involving structured data, such as transaction processing. Financial services, for example, have seen higher rates of adoption than other industries.
To gain RPA capabilities, a business typically purchases a subscription license from a software provider for a fixed period of time, and also sources RPA implementation services from a partner of the software provider.
Before doing any of that, it’s important to understand how RPA works, and how it can be best-applied to your business.
A RPA “bot” can execute well defined processes by acting like a super-efficient human in the following ways:
|Current Human Process:||Robotic Process Automation:|
|Logging into a sequence of applications or systems to execute a process.||A bot executes the same process as a human does; logs into the same set of applications.|
|Using a notepad to capture data and re-key it into the next application, or cut-and-paste.||Bot captures all details of the process and stores it for potential auditing later (for example: no notepads).|
|Work a normal day and subject to natural limitations (for example: fatigue, mis-keying).||Bot works 24-7, without pausing, at machine speed (one bot equates to approximately three full-time equivalents).|
|Scaling the process requires hiring and training new people which can take months.||Bots are 100 percent compliant to the process and changes can be implemented instantly without training. Scaling the process is instant and as simple as drag-and-drop to an additional bot.|
In evaluating RPA implementers, you must go beyond price. Be sure to understand:
The landscape of automation technologies is rapidly maturing.
We advise organizations to assess the suitability of processes within their organizations for potential replacement via RPA and the resulting benefit versus potential adoption of other automation technologies (for example: BPM tools).
As part of this analysis, a business will likely discover opportunities to consolidate demand for the technology across multiple business units and drive savings by negotiating based on the consolidated demand.
The consequences of RPA can be far reaching, affecting where existing services are delivered from as the transactional costs drop.
We recommend that any business strategy should be holistic, considering the end-to-end process changing to RPA and how the internal service supply chain can be further rationalized.