Robotic process automation (RPA) continues to garner the attention of many business leaders for its capability to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and boost profitability. But regardless of the many advantages RPA claims to offer, many decision-makers are still unsure if the investment of time and money is worth it.
WHAT IS ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION?
Simply put, RPA technology allows a robot to mimic the behaviour of a human, but at a much faster speed, without ever slowing down or making errors. RPA can capture data, run applications, communicate with other systems and trigger responses, among other things.
For this reason, business owners, CTOs and COOs are keen on figuring out the ways RPA can be deployed in their organisation and the plethora of benefits they can gain from it.
We’ve summarised nine major advantages of robotic process automation for you to consider when thinking about adopting this technology.
The first benefit of robotic process automation that comes to mind for organisational leaders is a reduction of operational cost.
Using technologies to automate mundane, repetitive tasks, such as tasks related to paper processes or data input and extraction, drastically decreases processing time and human error. This means less money is spent on error-rectification or in paying non-compliance regulatory fines. According to a report by Everest Group, RPA can contribute to a reduction of up to 65% for onshore processes and up to 30% for off-shore processes.
Automation also allows for certain processes to be done 24/7 without human supervision, leading to an increased output that is more cost-effective than a full-time employee performing the same job would cost, and with immediate results.
Higher Quality Output and Reduced Risk
Humans aren’t perfect, and neither is their work.
Even the highest-trained and most detail-oriented employee will eventually make a mistake. Now imagine every single one of your employees who performs repetitive tasks makes that mistake. That can quickly add up to one costly problem. And if your business functions in a highly-regulated industry such as financial services, then non-compliance due to human error could have you facing heavy fines and possible reputation damage.
RPA reduces the rate of errors made because robots simply don’t make mistakes. You’ll never have to worry about a robot being tired, in a hurry or simply not performing to their full potential. This results in reduced operational and compliance risks.
Increased Client Satisfaction
Customer experience is one of the most important aspects for the success of your business.
One of the pain points of many customers is dealing with long, drawn-out processes that require filling in paperwork, lots of back-and-forth with representatives, and long wait-times.
Let’s take the traditional insurance claiming process as an example.
To make a claim, customers must post relevant identification documents to the insurer. Once the insurer receives the documents they scan the information and a team manually enters the data into a system. After verification, the team then prints out the legal forms needed and sends them through the post for customers to sign. Customers must then post the signed forms back to the insurer before funds can be released.
This entire process is extremely time-consuming and potentially riddled with errors, which often leads to even more delays in the process.
Using RPA, a bot can be deployed to take over the entire process virtually, leading to quicker turnaround times and on-the-spot verifications and approvals.
Increased Employee Engagement
Customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from RPA.
RPA technology frees up employees from menial and repetitive tasks and allows them to use their creativity and talents to focus on anomalies and other tasks that are better executed with human judgement and have higher value. Ridding humans of mundane tasks boosts engagement, increases productivity and aids in employee retention.
According to a 2019 study conducted by Forbes, of 302 senior executives surveyed, 92% said that employee satisfaction had risen as a result of intelligent automation initiatives.
Scalability and Flexibility
Companies are ever-evolving, and their processes and workflows are, too. Being able to easily scale up or down your operations depending on seasonality or market demand is essential in keeping afloat.
Virtual workforces can easily be scaled up or down to accommodate needs year-round, in any economic climate, and bridges the gap businesses have in between high and low seasons.
Additional robots can also be deployed quickly and with minimal or no cost and without interrupting your organisation’s IT structure.
Whereas Process Automation relies heavily on the consistency of applications and systems, RPA automatically adapts to changes made in applications and systems using machine learning, mimicking the decision-making of actual humans.
Back office processes tend to be slow because employees are required to manually enter forms into systems, cross-check data and rectify mistakes.
AI-empowered bots work at just a fraction of the time as humans, don’t require breaks and don’t make mistakes, meaning tasks are handled accurately and effectively. Machines can process customer requests in real-time, for example, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and shorter cycle times.
In today’s ultra-digitised world, keeping sensitive data secure from cyber attacks is of utmost importance for businesses.
Robotic Process Automation can significantly help reduce cyber-security risks in a number of ways.
AI-powered bots can easily implement data-protection regulations (such as the EU’s GDPR or California’s CCPA) with no interruption to the flow of information. They can also help to eliminate unauthorised entry to data systems by only allowing persons with certain credentials to access and adding extra layers of encryption for more secure usage. Maintaining security for these AI-bots is also very simple, as they do not change roles or leave the organisation to go elsewhere.
That said, organisations must have strategies in place that take into account all the phases of RPA deployment and security risks, as RPA can also be used for theft or to destroy sensitive data. Deloitte published an insightful paper on how business leaders can prepare their organisation for automation.
Better Insights, Analytics and Records
Successful businesses take what they’ve learned from the past and use it to make better decisions for the future.
Robots store what they’ve done, leaving a clear digital trail that can be used for audits and control tracking. RPA provides tools to store data that can be gathered, tracked, and analysed, helping you improve on your current systems and processes. This storage also allows for easy recovery when shutdowns happen unexpectedly.
The use of paper comes at a high cost to businesses as well as the environment.
RPA helps to decrease e-waste and forces companies to digitise. In order for bots to read, analyse, sort and file data, the files must be in digital form. Work that was previously done completely on paper by an employee can now be done 100% electronically.
This also prevents the duplication of forms and data-input, often mistakenly done by humans. By eliminating duplicity, your organisation’s output variability is decreased.
Robotic process automation is an effective tool to transform traditional business processes into ones that are more fluid, efficient and effective. Freed-up from high-volume and monotonous tasks, staff can spend their time on more high-value and customer-centric activities, resulting in happier employees and customers.
The technology is there. It’s now up to business leaders to take the first step and evaluate their options for digitising workflows.
Are you still on the fence about how your business can benefit from RPA? Get in touch with a representative today to find out how AI-powered technology can put you ahead of the competition and add real value to your day-to-day processes.