With AI (Artificial Intelligence) taking over the technological landscape, everyone around the world is beginning to wonder how it will impact each facet of businesses on a large and small scale. On the surface, AI is a futuristic, cutting-edge technology recently harnessed to alter the course of our professional and personal lives. But what many fail to realize is that AI-like software and technology, like robotic process automation, has already been woven into the infrastructure of many organizations to take care of repetitive tasks behind the scenes for many years.
The Basics of RPA (Robotic Process Automation)
Robotic process automation (RPA) enables organizations to automate repetitive and rule-based tasks, specifically using robots or “bots”. This technology mimics human actions to interact with computer systems and perform tasks such as data entry, data manipulation and transaction processing. RPA can navigate through different screens, input and extract data, and perform required operations without the human element -- which is beneficial in fast-paced, arithmetic industries like finance, human resources, customer service and supply chain management. In 2016 the RPA market hit a worth of $271 million, but that would quickly grow to $2.5 billion in 2020.
Key Features of RPA
RPA’s main purpose is to add efficiency and cut down on redundancy for those companies looking to optimize their operations. With many systems running 24/7, RPA can help companies streamline their workflows and add value-driven automation. Whether it’s cloud systems, comprehensive networks, or critical servers, RPA can simplify or even transform critical processes for the better:
Efficiency – Robotic process automation helps bridge the gap between the human element and efficiency. This technology performs tasks quickly and accurately, often at a faster pace than humans can even think of reaching. Since some tasks need to be performed 24/7, using RPA reduces processing time and potential errors caused by manual data entry.
The number of robots being used to complete specific functions can also be changed based on the task load. RPA can be scaled up or down to accommodate changes in workload without taking up too much time or effort. If the company is already working with existing software applications, databases, and systems, RPA can be tweaked and quickly integrated without affecting the underlying infrastructure.
Cost Savings & ROI (Return on Investment) – RPA can help companies reduce costs by cutting down on the need for manual labor. While efficiency doesn’t always translate to cost savings, RPA eliminates the need for an employee to do the repetitive testing, data entry, and routine assessments that are required to run a large company.
Since RPA takes the responsibility of completing the repetitive and otherwise unchanging tasks, this frees up employees to focus on more specialized activities that can move the company forward on a larger scale. Human creativity and problem-solving is important to growth, so allowing employees to stray from the repetition of RPA tasks can provide more opportunities for advancement while ensuring companies better leverage the unique skillsets of their employees for management, technical development and mission-critical projects that move the company forward.
Error Reduction – Since RPA is designed to follow predefined rules, it decreases or even eliminates errors, while paving the way for more precise workflows within a company. Reducing errors in data entry, validation, and processing can help ensure proper use and exportation of information. When RPA bots extract data from one system, they can quickly put it into another, while validating data against the predefined rules set by the host company – which helps catch any mistakes possibly made during a manual data entry. Human oversight and fatigue are common within the workforce, so having an RPA system allows for those to be minimized at a large scale, which ensures uniformity and consistent business practice.
Common Uses in the Workforce
ReportGeneration – By extracting data from multiple sources, RPA can perform basic calculations and formatting. This process saves time and reduces the risk of errors associated with manual report generation. Human error can result in poor quality of data, while specially programmed bots can identify, assess and plug in what is needed for the reports.
Customer Service and Support – In a study of 1,000 customers, 96% stated that they had some level of willingness to switch companies if the customer service being offered was poor quality. To combat losing customers, implementing RPA within this realm can respond to frequently asked questions, update simple form-fill customer information, and process service requests. While this improves customer retention, it also allows human agents to focus on more complex and or specialized questions, which can provide a more personalized customer experience.
Supply Chain Logistics – When looking at the world of retail, there are multiple rule-based and repetitive tasks that would benefit from taking an automated approach. RPA can be used to track and manage inventory levels, replenishment orders and update records throughout multiple systems, while reducing the probability of overstock. RPA can also be helpful when processing customer orders, as it can quickly handle the fulfillment processes, shipping, and tracking to ensure an accurate delivery.
How Can Resolvit Help?
Looking to improve your company's efficiency from top to bottom? Resolvit solutions experts develop, support and outfit custom RPA plans across every industry and department. Through frequent consultations and data analysis, we’re primed to offer you a fully customized approach to developing and implementing RPA. Contact us today to learn more.