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Robotic process automation (RPA) is the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.
Any company that uses labor on a large scale for general knowledge process work, where people are performing high-volume, highly transactional process functions, will boost their capabilities and save money and time with robotic process automation software.
Just as industrial robots are remaking the manufacturing industry by creating higher production rates and improved quality, RPA “robots” are revolutionizing the way we think about and administer business processes, IT support processes, workflow processes, remote infrastructure and back-office work. RPA provides dramatic improvements in accuracy and cycle time and increased productivity in transaction processing while it elevates the nature of work by removing people from dull, repetitive tasks.
The technology of RPA can be applied specifically to a wide range of industries.
Technologies like presentation-layer automation software – a technology that mimics the steps of a rules-based, non-subjective process without compromising the existing IT architecture – are able to consistently carry out prescribed functions and easily scale up or down to meet demand. Process automation can expedite back-office tasks in finance, procurement, supply chain management, accounting, customer service and human resources, including data entry, purchase order issuing, creation of online access credentials, or business processes that require “swivel-chair” access to multiple existing systems.
IT support and management
Automated processes in the remote management of IT infrastructures can consistently investigate and solve problems for faster process throughput. RPA can improve service desk operations and the monitoring of network devices. Separating scalability from human resources allows a company to handle short-term demand without extra recruiting or training.
An autonomic system is identified by eight characteristics:
- Knows what resources it has access to, what its capabilities and limitations are and how and why it is connected to other systems.
- Is able to configure and reconfigure itself depending on the changing computing environment.
- Is able to optimize its performance to ensure the most efficient computing process.
- Is able to work around encountered problems either by repairing itself or routing functions away from the trouble.
- Is able to detect, identify and protect itself against various types of attacks to maintain overall system security and integrity.
- Is able to adapt to its environment as it changes, interacting with neighboring systems and establishing communication protocols.
- Relies on open standards and requires access to proprietary environments to achieve full performance.
- Is able to anticipate the demand on its resources transparently to users.
Detection, correlation, and pattern recognition generated through machine based observation of human operation of software systems along with ongoing self-informing regression algorithms for machine based determination of successful operation leading to useful predictive capability.
Complex computational systems designed to:
- Sense (perceive the world and collect data),
- Comprehend (analyze and understand the information collected) and
- Act (make informed decisions and provide guidance based on this analysis in an independent way)
- Adapt (adapt capabilities based on experience) in ways comparable to the human brain.
The combination of cognitive automation, machine learning, reasoning, hypothesis generation and analysis, natural language processing and intentional algorithm mutation producing insights and analytics at or above human capability.
Benefits of These Emerging Technologies
Process automation applies specific technologies to automate routine, standardized tasks in support of an enterprise’s knowledge workers. By freeing human employees from these mundane tasks to apply themselves to core business objectives, Automation offers a number of compelling benefits to the workplace.
Robotic process automation can create a 25-50% cost savings. Process automation enables 24/7/365 execution at a fraction of the cost of human equivalents. A software robot can cost as little as one-third the price of an offshore full-time employee (FTE) and as little as one-fifth the price of an onshore FTE.
Prior to automation, one BPO service provider that handled the application for processing insurance benefits employed a full-time human employee who could complete the process in an average of 12 minutes. Automation software completed the process in one-third the time, tripling the transaction volume for one-tenth of the FTE cost. By automating this single process, the provider achieved a positive return on this investment within six months.
RPA/AI offers an improved service delivery model by increasing production and accuracy, reducing cycle times and decreasing the need for ongoing training. Unlike humans, robots can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Typically, one robot can do the work of two to five FTEs.
An enterprise user of an IT infrastructure automation tool suite that was designed to work with existing investments improved its overall operational efficiency by cutting its mean time to resolution by 60 percent and by handling over half of its IT problems without manual intervention.
Process automation makes gathering and organizing data easier so a company can predict future outcomes and optimize their processes. Advanced analytic techniques create a feedback loop. The analysis determines areas of improvement, and the improved processes, in turn, produce more specific data that allows for further improvement of operations and higher levels of efficiency. Advanced analytics is an essential element in achieving regulatory compliance, cost effective growth and optimized operations.
Greater PERFORMANCE & QUALITY
Out of every 100 steps, a human is likely to make 10 errors, even when carrying out somewhat redundant work. Robots are trustworthy, consistent and tireless. They can perform the same task the same way every time without error or fraudulence. RPA/AI optimizes capabilities that grow organizational capacity.
After deploying automation software to support a number of IT processes, one company was able to increase organizational productivity and capacity without extra recruiting or training. They achieved payback in approximately 15 months with a calculated return on investment of 141 percent and concluded that they could expect greater returns as they continued to automate more workflows.
As these advanced technologies penetrate new markets, they are changing the way businesses think about and manage knowledge work. What does this mean for you?
Buyers and practitioners of automation can optimize their business models and increase productivity, allowing them to onshore functions that have been previously offshore and free up budget and people to reinvest in more strategic projects. Case studies show that companies that integrate automation into their in-house capabilities achieve a return on their investment within a year.
Service providers that leverage automation in their services portfolio have shown that they can increase value to their existing customers and differentiate themselves to new customers in a crowded marketplace. When providers expedite manually-intensive processes, they are able to broaden their offerings and grow their client base.
Analysts and influencers are saying that automation is creating a second economy that connects the physical economy in invisible, concurrent systems to speed and optimize knowledge work. Some are calling automation the biggest change since the Industrial Revolution.
The IRPA AI network is the go-to source dedicated to robotic process automation. Get connected.