Ushering the age of robots: RPA for your organization

By: Vrunda Sunil Kamat

Publish Date: May 11, 2021

The era of digital transformation has catalyzed the need for agile and advanced capabilities like automation – reshaping business processes, bringing in its impact across all industries and our personal lives. From services, healthcare, financial, education, manufacturing to retail, government, airlines, and more, automation in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is driving productivity, accuracy, and jobs while minimizing costs, efforts, and headaches for workforces.

While almost every organization wants to go digital with RPA, where should they begin? Let us first understand why RPA is a good jumping-off point for your company’s digital transformation.

The spotlight on RPA

Robotic Process Automation enables computer software to integrate and emulate human actions within digital systems as a piece of technology. The ‘bot’ or ‘robot’ is software that executes these actions, for instance, capturing data, running applications, triggering responses, and communicating with other systems. There are primarily two types of robots – attended and unattended. Attended bots work on the same workstation as humans to execute or validate tasks within the entire process. Unattended robots are the ones where bots can operate independently of any human intervention.

Businesses prefer to depute RPA at highly manual, rule-based, repetitive processes, with low exceptions rate, that take up much of the workforce’s valuable time and talent. Therefore, instead of human resources, these ‘virtual robotic workforces’ offer a great starting point for digital transformation efforts. For one, they are non-invasive and do not require any substantial architectural changes or integrations with underlying systems, and serve as a reliable, lightweight, quick, and cost-efficient integration into IT processes and assets. Secondly, RPA is easy to scale, depending upon the complexity of the requirement and when you need it. Finally, RPA is future proof for workforces, wherein humans can get more time to do impactful work which needs intelligent insights and oversight instead of tedious, manual tasks.

While RPA offers tremendous potential for businesses (for instance, boosting the resolution rates of ATM incidents in banks or pacing up claims processing in insurance), it also compels us to look at the reasons why a process makes for a good candidate to be automated, and the stages that lead to RPA transformation.

RPA qualifiers and stages in its journey

To know the potential of automation for your organization – regardless of the industry or size – you need to know the type of processes that can be automated, the factors driving its potential, as well as the factors that increase the complexities of the process and make it harder to automate. The typical stages of an RPA implementation and maturity journey find the following six stages:

  • Prepare: where the processes are defined, analyzed, and prioritized
  • Design: where each process to be automated is documented, and a solution is designed
  • Build: where the processes are automated, workflow tested, and validated
  • Test: where tests are performed, workflow debugged, and validated
  • Stabilize: where the go-live is prepared, the process moved to production, and lessons are documented
  • Constant improvement: where the performance of the automation is measured and appropriate changes made

Bots as workmates

It is a known fact that RPA can hold tremendous potential for any organization depending on the validity of its use case and the due diligence leaders provide to its technical architecture. Much like their human counterparts, RPA bots need support and maintenance, be it infrastructure-related, software reliability, or data changes – all of which cause bots to break down more than they should. This is why before bots become our colleagues in our day-to-day work, it is important to find that elusive business case.

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