Introduction to RPA
RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation and is used to automate labor-intensive processes running in an organization. RPA can help you lower errors and increase productivity, particularly in repetitive tasks.
For example, back-office tasks like data entry are nothing more than just entering the right set of data in the right fields. With a set of guidelines and a process diagram, you can automate these highly mundane tasks with an RPA. Through RPA, you can even allocate your employees to better-suited roles that help them produce meaningful work.
In this post, we are going to understand what is RPA and how it can help your business. We will also talk about steps to implement it in your organization.
Table of Contents
- What is RPA?
- How is RPA different from regular automation?
- How can RPA help your business?
- 5 questions to answer before implementing RPA
- What is the general implementation methodology of RPA?
- General applications of RPA in various fields
- Use case of an RPA bot
- Final Thoughts
What is RPA?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the method of handing over repetitive and mundane tasks to virtual robots for completion. RPA performs the same role as a human with a significant increase in productivity and error-free outputs.
How is RPA different from regular automation?
RPA is different from traditional automation in more ways than you can imagine. We have listed the top 4 ways in which they differ from each other.
- Traditional automation requires complex coding and testing, while RPA requires zero coding skills.
- Traditional automation requires the use of extensive IT involvement and the support of developers, whereas RPA helps businesses use pre-programmed robots to solve their problems.
- Unlike traditional automation, RPA’s can be highly personalized and used across a variety of applications and environments.
- Traditional Automation requires programming and development for efficient integration, while RPA can mimic the actions of the user at a very basic level.
- In essence, RPA is easier to integrate and implement than traditional automation.
How can RPA help your business?
Adopting RPA in your organization can be highly beneficial in the long run. It has the potential to alter the way you run basic functions in your business. We have enlisted 8 common ways in which RPA can help your business -
RPA can reduce your costs as it can potentially replace human intervention and reduce the need for labor. You can use your employees for better tasks that would improve the value of your organization. In one simple sweep, RPA can reduce costs and help you direct your employees to important tasks, allowing you to earn more revenue.
Increase work Productivity
RPA can work 24/7, without the need for breaks. This allows you to improve the productivity of mundane and repetitive tasks in your organization. As mentioned in the previous point, RPA allows you to direct your employee energy towards high priority tasks, thereby improving the productivity of your organization as a whole.
Reduce Human Errors
RPA can be efficiently used for repetitive tasks, which are otherwise performed by humans. As always there is a high chance of errors when it comes to these tasks and using an RPA lowers the chance of human errors.
Automation for Report Generation
You can use RPA to generate weekly and monthly reports for your customers. This saves you a lot of time and allows you to focus on improving the results of your clients.
Invoice and Payroll Management
RPA allows you to automate the process of invoice generation, making sure that you get your payments at the right time. You can also use RPA to manage the payrolls of employees in your organization. Payroll is a complex process and this stands true when your organization is rapidly evolving.
You can maintain the quality of your products and deliverables using an RPA, which will check for predetermined factors for quality assurance. Deterioration of quality is one of the important reasons why some companies fail in the growth state. Employing an RPA bot to maintain strict quality measures, will help you sustain your business in the long run.
Automated revenue forecasting
By feeding the right set of data inputs to an RPA bot, you can forecast your organization’s revenue with ease. This can help you make calculated decisions for your organization.
A dedicated RPA bot can validate and verify that the data is fed into your systems and database. You can acquire error-free information by putting in the right data validation checklists for your RPA bots.
5 questions to answer before implementing RPA for your business
RPA is not for every business out there. To be precise, RPA cannot be used to replace all the tasks in your organization. You need to identify if an RPA bot will be beneficial for your business by answering the five questions mentioned below. This will help you determine if RPA is the right choice for your organization
1) Is the activity suitable for RPA?
Before we dive into your organization, you need to be specific with the tasks for your RPA bot. In essence, bots are highly productive only when they fit within the 8 criteria mentioned below -
- Processing and sending data to multiple sources
- Analyzing complex data sets
- Generating rule-based decisions
- Learning from the outcomes or results
- Interacting with your employees or customers
- Receiving and reading data from multiple sources
- Making decisions based on set rules
- Working on a set of activities based on urgency and priority
2) Are your processes optimized to reduce complexity?
Before handing over a process to an RPA bot, you need to reduce the complexities in the task. When the specified task is too complex and has a ton of decision paths, your bot will end up with inefficient results. A good rule of thumb is to always break down tasks into simple decision trees, before assigning it to an RPA bot.
3) Is your organization ready to embrace RPA as part of its culture?
RPA is not just an IT process, as it needs a complete buy-in from your organization. RPA bots can evolve pretty easily, requiring you to get buy-in from various department heads and board members. This step will make sure that your RPA implementation is here for the long term.
4) Do you understand that bots won’t do everything?
RPA bots will help you automate repetitive tasks with lower error rates. But they will have exceptions at some times, requiring an active team to work through them. RPA should not be seen as a complete replacement to humans, as it is designed to co-exist with your workforce.
5) Can you afford to create an Internal RPA capability team and COE?
A Centre Of Excellence (COE) and internal team for your RPA bots will allow you to modify them according to the growing needs of your business. This will help you create relevant bots that go with the changes in your market and customers.
What is the general implementation methodology for RPA?
After answering the above questions, if you think that RPA can help you automate certain tasks in your organization, you should go ahead and implement it using the below steps.
The first part of any successful RPA implementation is planning. The steps in this phase include:
- Deciding a deadline and approach the project
- Putting together an RPA project team
- Finalize on a design for your process automation
- Create a feasible roadmap for scaling up your RPA in the future.
Once you are done with planning, you can give the go-ahead for your project team to start the development of your RPA. As RPA’s are wizard-driven, the development and implementation will be fairly quick.
Just like any other automation, your RPA bot must also be tested to identify potential errors before it starts executing your tasks in real-time.
Support and Maintenance
A Support and Maintenance team will make sure that your RPA performs without errors and can be scaled up when your organization is improving.
General applications of RPA in various fields
- Patient registrations and data management
- Invoice generation
- Pipeline management
- Lead data analysis and management
- Card activation
- Account details management
- Fraud alerts management
- Ticket booking management
- Passenger details management
Use case of an RPA bot
One of the common uses of RPA is employee onboarding in an enterprise. Here RPA allows the HR department to create and allocate new credentials to employees without confusion.
In this case, an HR manager feeds all the essential data to an RPA bot in the organization. This bot reads the data to create the necessary deliverables and record it in the Database. It also sends all the details to the new employee once processed.
This makes sure that there is no confusion when onboarding new employees at scale.
An RPA bot cannot serve as an alternative to all tasks in your organization. But deploying it to process mundane and repetitive tasks can significantly lower the workload of employees. This allows you to assign them to high ticket processes that will help you bring in more revenue.