What Is Robotic Process Automation, and Why Does Your Company Need It?
Although many companies have begun to understand the need to automate some of the most repetitive and time-consuming business processes, they still struggle to do so. No wonder — digitalization can be difficult to undertake, especially if you’re not sure what it entails. So, what is Robotic Process Automation — and how can it boost the performance levels of your business?
What is Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic Process Automation is a technology designed to automate repetitive business processes using robots or bots. The bots are programmed to mimic human behavior and can work in various systems and applications. Thanks to that, RPA solutions don’t require structural changes in software code or optimization of processes subjected to automation — bots simply operate on the UI level, just as a human would.
The less complex bots can be programmed straightforwardly by recording human interactions with the interface and replicating them through the program. For more complicated tasks, bots can use a wide range of cognitive tools, such as machine learning, image processing, decision engines, OCR, or natural language understanding.
Let’s consider an example that is common for all kinds of companies: invoice processing. This process is especially prone to human errors since there’s no universal invoice format — we can submit them on paper, via email, PDF, docx, and more. That usually means the employee has to manually transfer the data from the source file to the database. Not only is it time-consuming; but it can also result in omissions, miscalculations, and other mistakes.
Not for a robot. The bots can process all kinds of formats (even paper — thanks to optical character recognition, or OCR), extract the data, and then transfer it to the proper destination. They also record all operations and never lose track of them. What’s more, they do it much faster than a human employee and make no errors.
Automation is not just the latest trend or a buzzword. It’s more of a new paradigm. It allows us to reduce overhead cost, streamline workflow, and redirect workers to more meaningful work by automating menial, repetitive, or overly complex tasks. RPA is no different. Many time-consuming business processes that are normally performed by employees, can be robotically automated to enhance operational efficiency:
- data management (ERP data entry, data transfer, processing, archiving, and mapping),
- data queries,
- HR tasks (candidate screening and on-boarding),
- invoice processing,
- sales orders, and more.
The general rule when it comes to automating through RPA is to choose tasks that:
- don’t require human decision (are rule-based),
- use digital (ideally readable) data inputs,
- are highly stable and low exception,
- have significant volume and repetitiveness.
In addition, Robotic Process Automation should be regarded as an investment: it may be a demanding process, both in terms of time and money, but the ROI is worthwhile. For many businesses, constant improvement of performance levels and maintaining an edge over competitors are crucial in staying ahead. If done correctly, Robotic Process Automation can help achieve these goals.
The Benefits of RPA
According to the Deloitte Global RPA survey, the implementation of Robotic Process Automation in surveyed companies resulted in improved compliance (for 90%), improved quality (for 90%), improved productivity (for 86%), and cost reduction (for 59%). Moreover, in most companies, payback was reported only 12 months after implementation, with 20% of full-time equivalent (FTE) provided by robots.
As you can see, RPA is a great tool to streamline workflows and reduce overhead. Thanks to its high flexibility, it can also be implemented seamlessly to facilitate enterprise digitalization. It effectively makes it the best choice for all business leaders wishing to improve the performance levels of their organizations.
Are you interested in finding out more about RPA and its practical applications? Get in touch with xBerry’s automation experts and let us know what you have in mind!