Technology has always strived to make life efficient and easy for mankind. In an era of competitive technologies, businesses are always looking for automation solutions to delivery satisfactory, time bound services to increase customer satisfaction. But when we think of automation at an industry level we usually associate it with automation in factories, logistics, autonomous vehicles etc. However these are not the only fields where automation is providing innovative solutions. Let us discuss how automation can reduce manual work, efforts and errors especially with repetitive work that needs to be done daily or consistently at a specified time, leading businesses to success. This is the area where robotic process automation (RPA) is achieving new milestones. This trending technology is the new upheaval in automation world. The global robotic process automation market size is already valued at $1.40 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $11 billion by 2027, expanding at a CAGR of 34% from 2020 to 2027 as predicted by AI Multiple. Keep reading to know what is RPA process, how it works and how it can lead to greater output and customer satisfaction.
What is Robotic Process Automation?
In simple terms RPA is software where you program “bots” to automate highly repetitive routine tasks normally done by knowledge workers. Enterprises are always looking for solutions that will significantly reduce the operations cost, without affecting the efficiency at the same time providing satisfactory customer service. RPA solutions use robots, which act as digital assistants. A cost efficient, long term error free solution is presented through RPA platform.
They allow anyone to configure computer software, to mimic human actions by performing a set sequence of steps to achieve a meaningful result without the need of human intervention.
Relevance of RPA process in today’s times
Enterprises are always looking for solutions that will automate the mundane work that is essential for achieving results. RPA platform is already being successfully used in many enterprises, but at the same time it’s also generating some skepticism from some. It is a consistent trend with all new technologies. They have a fast application in almost every type of organization either big, small, or even individuals who deal with large volumes of data on a daily basis.
On a typical workday, employees spend 10%-25% of their time on repetitive computer tasks that reduce the productivity of workers. However, a typical rules-based process can be 70%-80% automated by using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software so that employees can shift their focus to more value-added tasks. Deloitte believes that if this trend continues, RPA will achieve “near universal adoption” in the next 5 years. RPA has applications in a various sectors like
- Call centre operations: Consolidating customers frequent queries and solutions provided by agents.
- Data migration/form processing: Migration of data or filling forms can be done easily and without human errors.
- Healthcare and insurance claims: Reading forms and documents to align important data and identify exceptions to avoid payment errors.
- Banking and finance: RPA can be applied in various banking sections like loan application and approval to drastically reduce the decision making time. Time can be saved in tasks like manual recording of invoices in the log.
- Human Resources: Tasks such as recruitment, vetting workers, processing employee’s absence can all be automated.
- Scheduling system: Helpful in managing healthcare and other office appointments for efficient time management.
How does it work?
According to Forrester, “RPA has proven its value as a strong and direct mechanism to support an enterprise’s tactical and strategic goals.” But getting it right has its challenge.
RPA bots can be used to transform back office work. RPA process makes use of programmed steps to replicate the employee’s actions like opening files, entering/typing, coping pasting data.
RPA platform can be implemented in two phases
Integration: The robots will integrate the applications of enterprise with various legacy application, web applications, desktop application and other major enterprises software including SAP, Citrix, Java and mainframe applications.
Programming interfaces: RPA programming is relatively simple compared to other types of code free ways to program RPA bots.
Benefits of Robotic Process Automation
- Accuracy: Its free from human error
- Consistency: Capacity to repeat the task innumerable times without getting tired.
- Productivity and reliability: Can work 24X7, thus boosting output without taking a break.
- Rapid ROI: within quarters vs. years.
- Easy to integrate: quick to integrate with existing system.
- Operational agility: Integrates scattered processes and delivers improved efficiency.
- Greater compliance: All the trail logs are maintained so ease for auditing.
Is RPA and AI the same?
RPA process is a used to handle rule based systems where human intervention is not required as the work flow does not change over time. RPA can be effortlessly used for common, but time consuming processes like data entry, logging in applications, opening emails and attachments, copying and pasting data etc.
AI on the other hand is a large umbrella which deals with human-like cognitive-decision making done by a machine or a computer. AI can handle complex tasks that previously could be performed only by humans. This is because AI can process large data and predict possible outcomes. AI can perform tasks like understanding documents, comprehending conversations, processing languages etc.
As the foundation of hyperautomation—the number one strategic technology trend for 2020 according to the Smarter with Gartner Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020 report—RPA paves the way for future tools technologies like AI, machine learning, and process mining.
For all practical purposes the enterprises to allow RPA and AI to work together will reap more benefits of technology.
RPA tools are the software’s available through which you can configure tasks to attain automation. Currently there are several vendors in market that provide RPA solutions like UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, WorkFusion, Pega systems etc. For a novice it will be helpful to use the UiPath, it offers a free edition with drag and drop visual designer. These tools do not including any coding or programming knowledge to automate the tasks and hence can be operated with just basic training.
Thus if you master any one tool, you can get grip of the RPA and explore career opportunities in this sector.
The take away
Automation is the future and RPA process is one of the most efficient solutions to automate the unexciting tasks that follow set parameters and keep the knowledge workers free for other important tasks. RPA need not to be viewed as a threat to the jobs in fact, it can used to boast employee efficiency by engaging them in more intellectual and challenging tasks. The enterprises can reap more productivity as RPA provides a solution for the ever increasing market demand and customer satisfaction.