Robotic Process Automation, also known as RPA, gives businesses a chance to hand off the repetitive and routinized tasks they have to software “robots” to carry out. RPA is frequently touted as a game-changer by those who use it. But what exactly are the positive outcomes businesses can expect when they jump on the RPA bandwagon? Here are some of the most notable advantages RPA deployment can mean for you.
The business landscape is a highly competitive one, and businesses are constantly on the lookout for any new technology that could potentially cut down on expenditure. While RPA implementation does carry upfront costs in the form of buying, installing, and later maintaining applications, these costs pale into insignificance next to the potential savings they can make possible.
Tasks that can be carried out using RPA save companies considerable amounts of money compared to having a person employed to carry out those same tasks. Unlike a person, there’s also no need for RPA processes to stop at the end of the working day or week: they can operate effectively 24/7.
Customers value cost, but — perhaps even more so — they value the customer experience they receive. That doesn’t have to mean personalized greetings and scented hand-towels in the bathroom at their local photocopiers or gas station, but it does mean that aspects like the speed at which a request is answered matters. RPA can help in this capacity.
For example, RPA tools can help respond more rapidly to customer queries, filtering them to the right people and answering certain straightforward queries on their own. The same is true with processing order or claims forms, and myriad other tasks. By incorporating RPA into the workflow, businesses can get better at responding to customers. And it’s not just the machines, either…
This is a big one. Many people worry that the goal of RPA is to replace humans in the workplace. When it comes to individual tasks, there is some truth to this: RPA is designed to take certain repetitive, mundane tasks away from people to save them having to perform these actions.
But, far from rendering human employees unnecessary, RPA opens up the possibility of freeing those flesh-and-blood employees to focus on other, value added tasks. What those tasks will be will vary from business to business, but in banking, for instance, it might be a relationship banking role that involves interfacing more with customers and others: the kind of interaction that bots are simply not able to measure up on.
Virtually any business can scale, but doing so will likely involve a whole lot of hiring. (And, unfortunately, firing — should declining demand cause you to scale downwards.) RPA has a clear edge when it comes to scalability. Bots can easily scale up and downwards as demand requires. If workload suddenly increases dramatically for a task being carried out by RPA systems, it’s no problem: Just duplicate the bots you have in place to execute the new workload demands.
Advances in areas like machine learning, which can make today’s RPA bots superior to their predecessors, also offer new possibilities when it comes to scalability.
The more you’re able to track and measure workflow and results as a business, the more you are able to improve. While there are multiple workflow analytics tools for tracking human employees, it’s considerably easier to monitor an automated robotic process. The effectiveness of RPA tools can be measured in multiple ways — right down to the tiniest increment of time.
Tracking the effectiveness of your army of RPA bots in a variety of ways is a great way to demonstrate their ROI and value proposition in real-terms — so you don’t risk falling prey to accusations that you’re simply chasing after the latest technological fad.
RPA tools are predictable and carry out tasks the same way each time. They never fail to log information or log out at the end of a shift. Since many security breaches can be the result of human error, using an automated tool instead could save you potentially exposing your system to vulnerabilities.
All of the above examples are useful in isolation. However, when combined, they offer a major leg-up on competition that is not using RPA tools. This can take many forms: from happier employees (who no longer have to carry out repetitive tasks they dislike) to superior customer experiences.
In an ever-more competitive business environment, RPA could be the game-changer that pushes you over the edge in terms of triumphing over the competition.
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