Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – Know Your Options
By Rudolph Janse van Rensburg, Head of Technology and RPA, TreasuryONE
RPA is another function that can be added to business process outsourcing (BPO). Outsourcing to an expert is smart and cost-effective.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is currently one of the most talked-about productivity enhancements. RPA is really as simple—and powerful—as it sounds and provides organisations with tools to create their own software robots to automate any business process. ‘Bots’ created are configurable software set up to perform tasks assigned. Think of them as your Digital Workforce. Show your bots what to do, then let them do the work. They can interact with any system or application in the same way you do. Bots can learn and can be cloned. They can be adjusted and scaled as you see fit. In short, it’s code-free, non-disruptive, non-invasive, and easy to use.
However, with any new technology risks are initially high, skilled resources are scarce and mistakes can be costly. RPA as a Service bridges the gap between cost, risk and experienced resources, reducing the initial risk of the decision.
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) enables organisations to transform their operating models to focus on core strategic activities while non-core employee intensive activities are handed to specialist providers. For example, the treasury function is a business process that has been outsourced with great effectiveness and has allowed treasury teams to focus on strategic matters rather than wasting time on admin-intensive repetitive tasks. RPA is another function that can be added to BPO. RPA further removes manual repetitive tasks and allows the organisation to be more customer focused, no matter if these are internal or external customers.
RPA is the digital workforce of today and a productivity enhancement that cannot be ignored. Organisations that don’t add digital workers to their business models will find themselves unable to compete against their competitors for price, service and quality.
Advantages of RPA
Reduced risk - Bots can perform tasks fast, accurately and without fail, minimising the risks of errors that can occur when humans do the same tasks.
Increased compliance - Certain parts of processes can be performed by the bots creating necessary segregation in smaller teams. Bots can also access front-end systems and can be trained to enforce compliance rules.
Freeing staff from mundane error-prone tasks - Many tasks in business processes are important but mundane and lead to boredom and errors when done by humans. Freeing staff from those tasks creates a happier, more productive workforce.
Enhanced reporting - RPA enables us to retrieve, combine, and compile reports from multiple systems, thereby eliminating the need for a human to perform this task. Bots can perform this task on demand, therefore the end-user can request a report as and when they require it, rather than having to compile the report manually, or waiting for someone else to compile it.
Adding skilled workers to your workforce - A single RPA bot is able to perform the functions of three to four employees at a fraction of the traditional cost of finding, hiring and training employees. Digital workers require no office space or equipment and can be utilised 24/7/365.
Advantages of RPA as a Service
For an organisation, the advantages of RPA as a Service include being able to access world-class automation expertise and eased capital expenditure (i.e. starting with RPA on a smaller scale). While reducing costs is perhaps the most immediately appreciated benefit, other important benefits include:
No technology headaches - Your RPA solution is hosted and managed by your technology partner that ensures uptime, optimisation, security and best practice implementation.
Access to RPA experts - You interact with experienced users that have walked the RPA road before so that your ROI period is dramatically reduced
RPA best practice - The RPA as a service team have already learned what works, helps with identifying, scoping and getting processes RPA ready.
Personnel and technology - You don’t need to recruit and employ skilled RPA resources.
Economies of scale - You share in the cost of the hosting platform, licensing of the software, security and scares skilled RPA resources.
No need to upskill own staff - Your staff can continue to do what they do best - providing a service to your clients. Your RPA provider will take on the role of a coach, giving staff confidence and courage to include RPA as part of their existing known processes.