Today, more businesses are turning to an emerging technology trend known as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to enable business process automation and cut costs. With RPA, companies can streamline iterative rules-based business operations allow employees to spend their crucial time serving customers or other core business processes. Others see RPA as an alternate of intelligent automation (IA) involving deep learning (DL) and artificial intelligence (AI) methodologies, which are intended to predict plausible outcomes of the future.

What is Robotic Process Automation?

RPA is a methodology driven by business logic and structured inputs that streamline business processes automation. Using RPA methodologies, a business can configure a software tool, or a “robot,” to capture and translate inputs commands to process a transaction, manipulate data, generate responses, and interact with other digital applications. RPA domain of influence can range from something as simple as producing an automated response to an email to deploying a multitude of bots, each designed to automate a variety of roles in an enterprise environment.

For instance, professionals working for financial services facilities are eager to adopt RPA solutions, determining ways to effectively utilize the software to make business processes efficient without increasing monetary expenditure.

RPA – Use Case for Business Process Automation

Many enterprise-level companies adopt RPA, such as Walmart, Deutsche Bank, AT&T, Western Union, and American Express Global Business Travel.

Walmart’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Clay Johnson reveals the retail giant has deployed about 500 active bots to streamline anything from responding to employee queries to extracting useful information from audit data. 

David Thompson, CIO of American Express Global Business Travel, informs about using RPA to streamline and automate the process for canceling an airline booking and handling refunds (based on different refund criteria and time of booking cancellations). David is also interested in using RPA to facilitate automatic rebook recommendations in case of an airport shutdown or abandonment of services and streamline specific expense management workloads.

Role of RPA in Business Process Automation

Below is the complete list of perks and leverages amidst deploying RPA in the business process.

  • Optimize resource usage

To assure high efficiency in business operations, you need to curb the probability of error occurrence. The risk is notably hiked due to iterative routine tasks. Humans start feeling bored and demotivated while performing their iterative duties and make comical mistakes when carrying out routine activities. Such routine tasks are often served with less or no interest, resulting in compromised performance. RPA can be used in such scenarios to replace human counterparts and take care of tasks worthy of human effort and time. By optimizing the use of human resources and assigning them more productive tasks and core businesses duties, businesses can get a significant boost in productivity with minor mistakes and mishaps from employees who start feeling exhausted by performing the same thing again and again.

  • Introduce adaptability and flexibility to processes

Robotic Process Automation tends to ensure flexibility in business operations. The tendency of RPA systems to adapt to conditions and scenarios makes them a good choice for most businesses, thus freeing human resources for more valuable and complex workloads. Studies have proven that when humans are bound to make small changes in the daily tasks they are subconsciously got used to, they will often forget to make the required modifications. RPA utilities are deployed on servers to eliminate this issue, making processes flexible and scalable in case the demand shocks or the scope of a circle increases.

  • Aim for cost-effectiveness

RPA tools, when used in parallel with workflow tools, can prove to be a game-changer for businesses. Instead of competing with each other (as is the widespread belief), both tools complement each other. The RPA program awaits a command from the workflow tool to carry out a particular job or task, and upon receiving the command or signal, the program performs the task and feeds the process back to the workflow tool. As a result, RPA and workflow tools complement each other and complete the loop mandatory for a reduced expenditure.

  • Improve communication

Replace document-producing processes like salary slips or HR emails with RPA, as it is better equipped to carry out your vital communication processes using its intelligence. RPA can make alterations in a single document and duplicate these changes throughout other documents, thus sparing the employees from manually updating and customizing each file and performing minor edits. These processes can ensure the end-users, representatives, and on-field employees get the latest information every time.

  • Discover automated responses and triggers

In general, every RPA system can perform task scheduling. Even though it serves way more than the task of a mainstream scheduler, it assists managers with completely streamlined and semi-streamlined scheduling utilities. The former scenario only triggers and responds when a particular activity happens, primarily a human activity such as a click or input command. In the case of unsupervised and fully-capable automation, the trigger does not need to be a human input or activity. Still, it can be anything such as an email or a document. Businesses can acknowledge certain critical areas in their operations domain that can be entirely or partially streamlined using triggers and responses.

  • Implement RPA hassle-free

RPA implementation does not demand any API configuration, making businesses refrain from investing massive capital in terms of costs and time. Robotic process automation comes with its own set of Graphical User Interface (GUI) that is very user-friendly and requires little or no technical background. RPA systems can handle the operations humans perform, such as clicks, keystrokes, pressing buttons, and so on, through the same UI.

  • Empower the workforce

When robots take control of tedious tasks, employees rejoice. Recent surveys and studies have proven that employee satisfaction boosts as they perform insightful, meaningful, and worthy jobs. As employees take charge of significant job roles, they look forward to appreciation, which becomes fuel for their extraordinary efforts, ensuring a model business infrastructure with highly motivated individuals. Another passive advantage of employee satisfaction is when employees have high motivation and active spirits and refrain from switching jobs.

  • Insights and Analytics

With robotic assistance in data and analytics operations, there are fewer chances of data loss, information leaks, redundant records, and poor outcomes. RPA assists businesses in penetrating right through their data and extracting actionable and fruitful insights with fewer chances of failure. Robots also help gather data where it wasn’t possible or more accessible for humans. Therefore, a broad scope of data and intelligence gathering and analytics ensures more profound and more detailed insights. At the same time, employees can focus on more complex and dynamic analytics, leading to informed and intelligent decision-making.

  • Error-free operations

With RPA, the leverage of having error-free operations can be easily made possible. Process automation eliminates the chance of mistakes, those that lead to poor analytics and irrational decision-making. RPA assists businesses to assure accuracy in their operations and makes the overall process error-free. A notable perk of attaining such operational efficiency is when there is no missing or mistaken customer information, customer service can serve the esteemed customers without any hassles in a more personalized way possible. However, even minor turbulence in the customer care operations can ruin the experience of customers with your business. Such hidden but overwhelming risks can be well avoided by having an effective RPA methodology in place.

  • Secure enterprise data 

RPA can be merged with a variety of applications to boost the security of enterprise data and information. These integrations and compatibility ensure that the client’s apps must be modified or enhanced by a robot. Without any need for modification, the system reduces the risk of fraudulent activities as business functions use and inherit the existing security infrastructure where authorization protocols are already activated.

RPA – Expectations vs Reality

RPA isn’t for every enterprise. As with any automation technology, RPA has the potential to eliminate jobs, which presents CIOs with challenges managing talent. While enterprises embracing RPA are attempting to transition many workers to new jobs, Forrester Research estimates that RPA software will threaten the livelihood of 230 million or more knowledge workers or approximately 9 percent of the global workforce. 

Even if businesses navigate the human capital conundrum, RPA implementations fail more often than not. “Several robotics programs have been put on hold, or CIOs have flatly refused to install new bots,” Alex Edlich and Vik Sohoni, senior partners at McKinsey & Company, said in a May 2017 report.

Installing thousands of bots has taken a lot longer and is more complex and costly than most organizations have hoped it would be. The platforms on which bots interact often change, and the necessary flexibility isn’t always configured into the bot. Moreover, a new regulation requiring minor changes to an application form could throw off months of work in the back office on a bot that’s nearing completion.

A recent Deloitte UK study provided a similar outcome. “Only three percent of organizations have managed to scale RPA to a level of 50 or more robots,” stated Deloitte UK authors Justin Watson, David Wright, and Marina Gordeeva. 

Moreover, the economic outcomes of RPA implementations are far from the expectations. While it may be possible to streamline 30 percent of tasks for the majority of job roles, it doesn’t actually translate into a 30 percent cost reduction.