Collaborating Author: Michelle Stickels
At this point, I am sure you are familiar with the concept of seeing a new coworker in the hallway or in the desk next to you. But have you actually seen a robot move into an empty desk? Well, you should probably get used to it. These aren’t the types of robots that you see in movies that walk and talk – we are talking about a different kind of robot…one that could take on a lot of the mundane work and free you up to focus on more strategic items.
In this blog post, we will introduce you to the concept of Robotic Process Automation – what it is and how it can benefit you and your organization.
What is Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic Process Automation, also referred to as RPA, Digital Labor, Digital Workforce or bots, is the application of technology that allows a company to configure and train a software robot to perform the actions of a specific process, manipulate data, trigger responses, initiate new actions and communicate with other systems autonomously. Processes that lend themselves to RPA are rules-based, structured and repetitive. Suitable processes exist in a wide range of areas, including finance, procurement, supply chain management, accounting, customer relationship management and human resource management.
How can RPA benefit you? Below are four key benefits that are driving businesses to hire robots in 2017:
- Cost savings – Robots can lead to cost savings by eliminating manual work performed by human Full-Time Employees (FTEs), allowing them to be retrained for higher-level and more strategic focused work. According to the Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA), robots can be implemented at a cost of as little as one-third the price of an offshore FTE and as little as one-fifth the price of an onshore FTE. There is also an increase in productivity as activities performed by a robot can be completed uninterrupted 24 hours every day, further increasing the total savings. In addition, you don’t need to hire specialized staff to code and manage the new robot. With some basic training, you and your coworkers can learn to train the robot to do a number of tasks and interface with practically any of your existing systems.
- A better employee experience – Cost savings are certainly not the only business driver for investing in RPA. By removing repetitive administrative activities, your front office FTEs can focus on the customer and deliver exceptional services. In the back office, you can automate high-volume, rules-based processes that will allow your employees to perform more high value activities, such as analysis and reporting.
- Higher operational efficiency – Searching for solutions to increase operational efficiency in an effort to decrease costs or to meet various regulatory and compliance pressures is probably something you think about regularly. Robots have a quicker processing time and dramatically improved accuracy compared to that of a human. IRPA research suggests that a human is likely to make 10 errors out of every 100 steps, even when carrying out somewhat redundant work. Robots are trustworthy, consistent, tireless and never take a sick day.
- Increase auditability – Let’s face it, in this unpredictable regulatory compliance environment, you must have readily accessible data to provide to your auditors and regulators. A significant advantage of RPA is the ability to capture large amounts of traceability and audit information at each step of an automated process. As a result, you can provide audit trails to regulators in response to their various exams and queries.
As your company embarks on the execution of its strategic plans for 2017, having some robots in your hiring plan may be worth considering.
Stay tuned for our next blog post where we will discuss how to go about starting your RPA journey based on your firm’s business needs.