Work areas are increasingly burdened with processes that are repetitive and time-consuming and businesses want to reduce costs, improve delivery, and ensure consistent quality; robotic process automation has gone beyond just a trend it is now a different way business processes can be solved, delivered, and managed. RPA can also be used to empower employees so they can spend more of their time on those parts of the business process that are more customer-centered. In the coming decades, bots and humans each on their own won’t be enough to drive businesses, enterprises that will lead the future will be those that can combine these two effectively.
How RPA Works
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a solution to automate the day-to-day manual tasks performed by a configuration analyst. Manual tasks include application configuration, data entry, validation of client files, a creation of test data, data loads, and report generation. The solution uses the following components: cognitive automation platform (CAP) and unified test management solution UTMS. The cognitive automation platform powered by machine learning and predictive capabilities can generate meaningful data from any format of unstructured data fed to it while the unified test management solution enabled by bots can enhance productivity and efficiency by taking over labor-intensive and repetitive tasks. The configuration that is done for the client is generally rules-based, a typical configuration has around 1500 rules. A configuration analyst usually takes around four to six weeks for each client to complete these configurations. When a configuration analyst performs these tasks implementation consultants would need to wait to perform validation; this is contributing to a longer implementation cycle. Robotic process automation solution not only delivers significant improvement in timelines but also improves the quality and productiveness of resources, business requirements, documents, and other input. Documents such as IDM and payroll schedules are fed to the cognitive automation platform to identify the required configurations. Static data and business rules required to onboard a client structured roles output are generated from the cognitive automation platform which includes static data.
The client-specific data such as benefit areas, coverage levels, tiers benefit plan options, and much more that needs to be manually entered into the configuration tool business rules are temporary and custom rules generated on the fly to enable system functionalities; all of these rules are stored in the configuration pool. The cognitive automation platform ensures structured rule generation from different unstructured file formats fed to it. The unified test management solution provides the ability to build the robotic scripts and ensures that the process rules are fed to the configuration tool without any manual intervention. By leveraging the unique abilities of the cognitive automation platform and the unified test management solution, we could reduce configuration effort by 60% and product implementation timelines by 30%.
RPA Vendors and Products
Here are some of the software vendors and the products, there are more than 25 such companies that are involved in serving back-office operations aiming at automated solutions in the place of repeated manual tasks. They include Blue Prizm, uipath, open span, Automation anywhere, enable soft, on V source. Each of these tools has their own strengths and weaknesses; to optimize resource utilization client requirement vs. product feature matrix is recommended.
Types of RPA
There are 3 major types of robotic process automation: attended automation, unattended automation, and hybrid RPA.
This type of bot resides on the user’s machine and is usually invoked by the user. Attended automation is best suited for tasks that are triggered at points that are programmatically hard to detect. For instance, let’s say a customer service representative would normally need up to 3 screens and complete 5 manual steps so as to complete a transaction. Instead of going through all of these, the customer service rep can choose to launch an automation code. RPA bots can work like a rep, perform the needed operations and ask for guidance from the rep if there is a need. For employees that face customers and still need to complete manual work, attended automation can be deployed to augment these tasks.
These bots are like batch processes on the cloud and data processing tasks are completed in the background. Unattended automation is deal for reducing the work of back-office employees. Unattended automation can be launched in the following ways: data input in a specified location, bot initiated, orchestrator initiated, and specified intervals.
In this type of RPA, attended and unattended RPA boys are combined so as to provide automation for both back and front office activities. This allows for end to end automation of a process.
Types of Robotic Process Automation Tools
When you’re looking for automation tools for your project you need to know which type to use. Here are 3 types of RPA tools.
They automate processes that are in a single system and they are also the oldest tools in automation. If the process you want to automate is simple enough and requires only one tool like a spreadsheet then macros are the best fit. Macros can be used to organize data, make calculations etc.
IT Process Automation
They can automate complex multi-system dependent processes; these are function specific automation tools. IT PA is behind the scenes bots but they are built and require supervision by experienced IT professionals. They handle complex tasks like alerts from multiple sources, prioritize action plans, and deploy one of your defined possible action plans. They also notify key members on your team that require notifications of the activity before closing the ticket.
Cognitive Automation Tools
These bots has screen scraping capabilities which allow them to make use of a desktop like a person to complete tasks that require multiple systems. They are not as precise as ITPA tools and they are easy to use. By a simple drag-and-drop programming interface, they are augmented with artificial intelligence capabilities that will help them learn from previous examples. They use natural language processing and they can also be called intelligent or cognitive bots.
RPA can lead to a 40% reduction in average handling cycle time, enhance the customer experience and make a business resilient and operational 24/7 and when it comes to cost businesses can see processing costs reduced by 30 to 80% driving return on investment in quarters versus years. Robotic process automation will drive operational efficiencies and cost savings across core lines of business transforming customer outcomes reducing business risk and optimizing existing processes and systems.
Benefits of RPA
Lack of Human Error
All of the processes are performed without human error; every process is performed exactly as per the rules that are defined. When it comes to quality the ability to create a full audit trail reduces compliance and business risk. Human error is eliminated while there is a greater than 40% increase in FTEs who are able to focus on customers in the area of delivery.
The next benefit is around compliance that quality and adherence to process is perfect for compliance so if you’re in a heavily regulated industry where you need to demonstrate that you are performing the processes against certain rules and legislation it’s a great opportunity to leverage RPA for those benefits.
These processes can be performed 24/7 and can be scaled across a larger flexible workforce, which means that if you need to respond to a peak in a surging demand you’re able to do so a lot quicker than if you were to use people in the traditional model. That also brings with it great agility but also you get agility with regards to being able to transform your process or make process changes much quicker than if you were to roll it across a manual workforce.
When you’re performing this scale of automation you get a huge amount of data, you can see all of the data in any of the systems at the point of which you perform the transaction. You can capture within a single database which gives you a great opportunity to get some real insight from the data to understand the patterns behind the transactions and also what’s driving certain behaviors.
Experience and staff experience can both be improved positively with RPA be it if you are performing pay integration if you’re onboarding a new employee or if you’re responding to customer queries. The ability to do it to quality quicker than you would be able to do it manually really gives rise to a better experience.
RPA typically performs at a third of a cost of an optional resource in the ninth of the cost of an onshore resource but that’s not really the main driver that we see behind businesses adopting this. Sometimes this is really more about how do you expand and grow your business without the linear costs associated with recruiting more people to do the same work. In essence, through automation you are able to free up your best people to do your best work.
The Future of RPA
Robotic process automation is still at its early stage but it has helped to lay the foundation for a new set of intelligent machine powered by artificial intelligence. In the coming years, it is likely RPA goes beyond just the automation of procedures and repetitive tasks that reduces productivity at work. With the combination of advanced technologies, robots will be able to perform even more complex tasks.