COVID-19 is teaching us all lessons about ourselves, our businesses and our communities. Businesses are flexing their resilience muscles in order to maintain business continuity.
Companies who have invested in building their digital workforce capability have improved their ability to perform in the face of volatility. At the core of any digital workforce strategy is Automation. Automation is now viewed as a need to have, not a nice to have.
Robotic Process Automation is clearly demonstrating its value in the current climate.
So how can RPA help streamline your business processes?
Robotic Process Automation:
RPA is using a software tool to automate the manual, repetitive, labor-intensive business processes on which an organization depends, i.e. the tasks people need to do day in day out.
RPA software can be found in all industries, the biggest adopters are banks, insurance companies, telecoms and utility companies. RPA is a relatively low-cost solution to the problem of much older legacy IT systems, ERP, CRM, databases, accounting, financial reporting, etc, that were not engineered to integrate with other IT systems. Businesses depend on these systems for their day to day operations, i.e. they don’t have, or can’t use an API.
The cost of upgrading legacy systems (migrations, development, testing, resourcing, etc)
can be prohibitive but the business still needs to improve the speed of end to end operations to allow it to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
“The ability to integrate legacy systems is the key driver for RPA projects. By using this technology, organizations can quickly accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, while unlocking the value associated with past technology investments,”
Fabrizio Biscotti, research vice president at Gartner.
RPA is best utilized to automate rules-based tasks that need to be run regularly and, in most cases, concurrently. Typically, and RPA robot will follow a business process that has been detailed in a Process Design Document. These repetitive tasks interact with many different systems and move data from one system to another updating and transforming this data and passing it forward or back to the next IT system in the process on the next step in the process.
Tasks like these are business-critical but are also labor-intensive, slow, repetitive and prone to errors. They create bottlenecks when humans are not available to complete them, or they cannot be completed in the required timeframe.
RPA ‘bots’ are software scripts implemented by a range of commercial tools, the scripts are designed, built, tested and maintained by RPA automation engineers.
The RPA robot will use the same processes and systems that the human user does, it will perform the same actions and make the same calculations. But it does not need to wait on a user’s availability. When built and tested, it won’t make a mistake and if required it will operate 24/7 regardless of the time zone.
If a Business process is understood and repeatable then it can be automated. Candidates for RPA are selected based on a Cost-Benefit Analysis off the business process being completed by humans versus an RPA Robot.
Reduce operating costs for manual repetitive tasks and increase throughput.
Significant process improvements:
Investigating the steps involved for a process can often lead to an improved, leaner process.
Get more done in less time, when bots are scaled up.
Staff can focus on higher value tasks:
Allow employees to offload tasks to robots so people can focus on the customer and the task at hand. This also helps staff stay engaged as they are not doing repetitive, boring, mundane tasks.
Minimize manual, error-prone processes.
Expand the virtual workforce (scale) quickly and easily.
Increase compliance and auditability.
Increase consistency with standardized processes.
Improved customer service:
Eliminate human error to improve customer satisfaction.
There are many RPA tools in the market today, all are very capable but have varying attributes that make them more suitable to different industry types.
Some of the most popular are listed below. There are others
- Automate Anywhere
- Blue Prism
Adopting any new process and technology has its challenges. Here are some of the key challenges that must be considered at the outset.
Selecting the right process to automate:
Sometimes there are processes that we think would be the best candidates for automation but are too complex or require too many decisions to automate easily. Start with shorter processes that are well defined and understood. That will give the RPA process a quick win and get the organization on board with the project and its benefits.
Knowing which software is right for you:
Some tools have better capabilities for specific industries or requirements than others. In regulatory environments, monitoring and auditing of bots is a high priority. It’s important to understand your organisations needs before investing in any solution.
Integrating RPA with your organization:
Every development process goes through a methodology. RPA typically serves the business can sometimes be seen as being ‘owned’ by the business. This can cause issues as the IT department will be heavily involved in supporting the development of the bots. So, IT needs to be involved from the outset as the bots will run on IT infrastructure.
Scaling RPA across your business:
There are different models for scaling RPA, so it’s important to look at how your organization’s structure and how scaling a project would work.
At CelticQA Solutions we have an automate first approach to ensure our clients optimize the business value from the software QA function across all software investments. Our QA engineers, processes and technologies drive compound efficiencies right throughout the software development life cycle. Check us out at www.celticqa.com or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to find out how we can help you accelerate automation in your organization.