“For 130 years we’ve been making jobs uninteresting and deskilled.”
Leslie Willcocks, professor of technology, work and globalization
The solution to this? Willcocks suggests companies take the robot out of the human by enabling robotic process automation. This requires a software that mimics the activity of a human being to carry out a task in a routine process.
The benefit for humans is that it frees up human time to perform tasks that require emotional intelligence and reasoning-- all skills that require subjectivity.
The evidence is that it’s not whole jobs that will be lost but parts of jobs, and you can reassemble work into different types of job.
This initiative is especially attractive for companies because it can offer up to 200 percent ROI in the first year of its implementation, according to a McKinsey study.
What are the benefits of RPA?
Businesses today, especially in the Accounting, IT Support, Marketing, and Compliance departments, have many everyday, routine tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming in nature.
RPA enables you to automate business processes, enabling your employees to devote more time to work that requires more logical thinking and provides high value over the long term. In other words, any high-volume and mundane processes that are carried out with defined rules can be streamlined through RPA.
Benefits broken down:
Accuracy: When performing repetitive tasks, no matter how well-trained, human beings tend to make mistakes. RPA is built to perform these tasks without the negative effects and continuing to perform the same tasks over and over without making errors.
Compliance: In the area of compliance, ability to perform repetitive tasks without errors is the first and foremost requirement. RPA delivers exactly that.
Reduction in workforce: By taking over execution of a huge number of repetitive tasks and processes, RPA enables you to divert your workforce to more complex tasks that need knowledge and insight.
Reduction in processing costs: According to a study (https://www.uipath.com/rpa/robotic-process-automation), an end-to-end RPA solution can be implemented within a couple months and can reduce costs up to 80%. These are very lucrative savings.
Quick return on investment: RPA has proven to be highly beneficial, whether it is in short term or over a long period of time.
No disruption of existing processes: The most attractive feature of RPA is that you can implement it without having to “take out” the existing infrastructure and replace it with the new. Because of the nature of the solution, it works well “on top” of your existing infrastructure.
High scalability: RPA can be implemented on demand and can accommodate even fast-changing business environments with ease, irrespective of geographies. You can also expand it with minimal investments.
Chatbots, Virtual Assistants, or Automated Online Assistants can help you drastically improve your customer (or employee) experience. They can provide 24/7 support to resolve customer disputes, answer questions, and prevent escalations. Only the most complex questions and queries need to be attended by a person.
Chatbots can help you increase your brand engagement by reaching out to your audience on the social media platforms they visit most.
Finance and Accounting
Automated software can mimic several core tasks and workflows such as basic data entry, purchase order issuing, journal entry, journal validation, account reconciliation, and transaction matching, with minimal human intervention.
RPA can enable you to automate answering FAQs, collect customer feedback, provide feedback and input to service desk personnel, route tickets, monitor network devices, control access, send status updates, and reset passwords. As a result, they can help you improve your service desk operations.
Automated software can help you with data gathering, cleansing, and analytics, identifying and tracking open items and plans, and automating report generation.
RPA can also help with sourcing, outreaching, and tracking candidates.
Business Process Operations (BPOs)
RPA can also play a key role in process automation for CRM, ERP, and supply-chain management. Its can play a significant role in inventory management, planning, quote, invoice and contract management, work-order management, and processing.
Can you estimate the return on investment (ROI)?
It can be anywhere between 30 to 200 percent in the first year of implementation, according to a study on 16 case studies. It depends on factors such as the size of the organization and how regulated the industry you are working in is.
The specific areas that reap the benefits are:
Higher level of compliance (especially in insurance and banking industries).
Increase in audit regulation.
Reduction in organizational stress levels by bringing down employee stress.
How is RPA different from Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
RPA and AI can often be used interchangeably, but we have to distinguish their capabilities and see how they can work together. They can also be highly complementary to each other and augment each other’s capabilities.
Without being inserted with AI, RPA does not have the capability to learn something on their own and adapt the process with time and changing needs. It doesn’t have the ability to learn and grow over time like artificial intelligence.
In addition, AI shows remarkable capability to extract relevant data from unstructured data. For example, AI can scan through a customer complaint and determine what kind of complaint it is, what it is about, and can even suggest solutions. On the other hand, RPA is limited to highly structured data or processes. Furthermore, AI can handle a huge number of criteria and arrive at a solution, something RPA is absolutely not capable of.
Are chatbots part of RPA?
RPA is all about automating repetitive tasks. Answering same type of routine questions from customers is an example of one such job. This is where chatbots come in. They provided a great and cost-effective way to answer customer queries, without getting humans involved.
Wizeline has implemented several chatbots that integrate with an organization’s existing knowledge base. These chatbots have been deployed to:
Open service tickets and provide troubleshooting information on varied topics.
Seek information on a specific topic (news, sports, interesting facts, courses).
Provide immediate responses on customer-specific information such as product availability, shipping status and troubleshooting help.
In other words, chatbots are not a standalone solution. They are a powerful, albeit limited, aspect of any organization’s efforts to automate repetitive tasks to reduce cost and human effort.
RPA is that elusive bridge between higher productivity and quality, lower costs, and high ROI. The obvious concern some people might have about it is that it can result in people losing jobs. If implemented with forethought and planning, it can ensure that the result is not massive job loss, but re-engagement of the workforce in more interesting and meaningful tasks.
Klug provides solutions, not answers, to problems your organization may be facing. To see how robotic process automation can become part of your business strategy, talk to us here.