Last updated on November 11, 2019
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an important component of the ‘Future of Work’ toolkit. Many large organizations have big teams working on RPA even as many others are waiting for others to realize benefits before they jump in. This is precisely what happens when a disruptive technology comes to the fore. Risk averse organizations wait and watch.
The objective of this blog is to walk the reader through a basic understanding of RPA, its use cases, and points to consider before they make a decision of RPA.
RPA is defined by the Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA) as ‘the application of technology allowing employees in a company to configure computer software or a ‘robot’ to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.’
RPA offers a quick and simple way to improve any repetitive, process-oriented and time-consuming tasks.
Let’s get into the details.
Different from Traditional Automation
Isn’t automation overtly talked already? How is RPA different?
RPA works on the user interface layer. It sits on top of an organization’s existing IT infrastructure and doesn’t care about what that is. In other words, RPA is technology agnostic and works across legacy, Mainframes, ERPs, custom applications, etc. If a human can use a system, in all certainty, it can be used by RPA bot. RPA offers ease of usage and debugging. The RPA programs are simpler and user-friendly and easier for a new analyst to understand. So, cost of resource replacement is low and so is the risk to the business. RPA doesn’t have complex integration codes to be written. This results in faster implementation, shorter break-even periods, and higher return on investments (ROIs) Most RPA solutions have inbuilt OCR – Optical Character Recognition Capabilities. Isn’t that one of those much vouched for the capability we all need for businesses to operate electronically? Not to mention the AI capabilities of some RPA bots. With the help of artificial intelligence, these bots learn on their own and make less or no mistakes over a period. None of the traditional automation software offers that capability.
Tiers of Automation in RPA
Bots can do straightforward tasks like logging into an application to much more complicated tasks like providing resolution to a customer over chat. Typically, bots are classified into three broad categories
Task Bots – they are best at repetitive, rules-based tasks and rely on structured data. Their core competence is Front End automation.
Meta Bots – they accomplish complex tasks with multi-system dependent processes. Their core competence is Integration.
IQ Bots – they are best at managing fuzzy rules and using unstructured data Their core competence is applying learning to processes.
The advice for an organization is to start with Task bots and slowly move towards IQ bots as the law of diminishing marginal utility may begin to apply.
Adoption by Support functions
RPA will find application everywhere high volume repetitive transactions are done manually, and there are definable business rules. RPA is gaining a lot of traction in multiple industries including Banking and Financial Services, Insurance, Healthcare and Pharma, Manufacturing, Telecom, Travel, and Logistics, etc.
As Jay Samit says –
“Disruptors don’t have to discover something new; they just have to discover a practical use for discoveries. ”
Across the support functions, most common use cases exist
Should you care?
I talked about RPA being very useful for organizations which are marred by inefficient systems. Not many organizations can claim cent percent efficient systems. This can be attributed to a variety of factors
If any of the above relates and applies to your organization, you should consider RPA. In a nutshell, all organizations which need improved service deliveries and qualities with additional efficiencies and capabilities do need RPA.
Willingness of the organization
Implementing RPA takes more than willingness. It boils down to the commitment from the organization which is another crucial factor for successful implementation of RPA.
The RPA bots are part of your workforce, and they do need to have credentials to systems just like you have. They need to get into financially significant or customer-centric applications, and that may raise many eyebrows. A proper framework of policies and protocols is needed before your bots start delivering results in the production environment. This is a change management exercise within the organization which needs to be managed top-down.
Other factors to consider
Contact us today for more information on Robotic Process Automation
Pallav Maheshwari- Manager – Strategic Initiatives @YASH Technologies
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