Welcoming Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Into Your Business: Worth or Wrath?

Welcoming Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Into Your Business: Worth or Wrath?

  • Pawan Jadhav
  • November 5, 2020
Category: Robotic Process Automation, Intelligent Automation, AI

Automation amuses us in different ways. We love it when a lift door opens on its own, or a coffee pours into the mug with just a press, which is why businesses are now taking interest in it, and Robotic Process Automation has become a trend and need of today.

The market has become no less than a battlefield as businesses are competing fiercely with each other to stand out. They are embracing more and more latest technologies and trends to beat each other such that one among them i.e. RPA - Robotic Process Automation is slowly gaining momentum and becoming a necessity for any business.

RPA is now an accelerating trend and looking at its exponential growth researchers predict that RPA will rise from $250 million in 2016 to $2.9 billion in 2021 while the global funding on RPA software will reach $2.4 billion in 2022. So, one can expect about four million robots carrying out the repetitive office, administrative, and sales work; upon which employees spend 10%-25% of their time.

Of course, not everyone today is aware of the capabilities of RPA and so; we have crafted a small walkthrough to help you understand what RPA is and what its powers are.


What is RPA?

Just because the word robot is there, it is no physical or mechanical robot, RPA is in fact software robots designed to automate clerical tasks. It can learn, mimic, and then execute rules-based business processes, freeing humans to focus on higher-value work. In short, RPA is a sleepless, error-free, high-speed bot that saves humans from wasting time on highly repetitive tasks.

How does RPA work?

RPA bots are nothing but good imitators. They are like having a digital workforce in your office whom you can configure. They are easy to set up, and can be scheduled, cloned, customized, and shared to carry out error-free tasks at high speed and low-cost.

RPA RPA bots can be run from employees’ desktops or from the cloud which means they can be either integrated with your enterprise applications or can be screen scraped to perform actions like a white-collar employee. They are then programmed to carry out rule-based business processes efficiently, which are simple and even code-free compared to other types of programming. Their function is to replicate human actions like logging into applications, opening or moving files and folders, inputting or copy-pasting data, parsing emails, extracting structured and semi-structured data from documents, scraping web data, making calculations, connecting to APIs, and more.

The difference between RPA and BPM

Digitizing a workplace is not a piece of cake. To achieve the goal of digital transformation, the approaches are many, and RPA and BPM are just the two approaches among them.

RPA Business Process Management (BPM), a holistic technology, is a kind of approach used to streamline business processes for maximum efficiency and value. It looks upon your business processes, identifies areas for improvement, and builds solutions – usually from scratch. While RPA, as we said before, is a process automation tool governed by business logic and structured inputs, aimed at automating business processes. Therefore, both are capable of transforming and streamlining workflows, and they are not even competitive approaches, in fact, they can work together in harmony and create significant results. In short, BPM is a comprehensive approach through which one can optimize and automate business processes, while RPA looks after the discreet and highly repetitive tasks.

What are the benefits of RPA?

The intelligent automation embedded in the RPA bots has made them the need of the hour for businesses because of the following benefits it provides:

  1. Workload reduction - High volume and repetitive tasks are not only unnecessary load on employees but also time-consuming. RPA bots free humans to do what they are best at.
  2. Increased speed and productivity - RPA bots can work non-stop that means you can deliver faster service. Also, RPA bots are known to boost the productivity of employees and organization by accelerating workflows and taking care of mundane tasks.
  3. Increased accuracy & scalability - RPA process robots are programmed to follow rules and hence deliver work with 100% accuracy. They suppress processing errors and are compliant and consistent. Talking about scalability, then RPA can adapt to any changing environment which means high-volume business processes can be carried out in parallel, from desktop to cloud and can be expanded by deploying additional robots anytime with minimal costs, according to work flux and seasonality.
  4. Cost savings & fast ROI - RPA is intuitive, code-free, and so easy to understand and manage that anyone can master it and enjoy a positive return of investment in no time. It greatly reduces operating costs, as well as time and labour cost, and helps you deliver error-free tasks at high speed.
  5. Improved data quality & collection - Working with data is the most tedious and time-consuming job. RPA can take care of it all from reducing manual data edits, increasing the quality of data to collecting it.
  6. Great compatibility - RPA bots are highly compatible which means; you need not upgrade or replace existing systems in your organization for RPA to work. They can seamlessly integrate across all platforms, in fact, you can combine RPA with cognitive technologies such as machine learning (ML), speech recognition, natural language processing, artificial intelligence (AI) etc. to harness the powers of all.
  7. Employee satisfaction - RPA not only lessens the workload and helps employees to give their best on meaningful work but also, make customer handling easy by doing all the system and data entry legwork; thereby reducing the call handling time (AHT) with customers.


Industries that will benefit from RPA

Keep in mind that not implementing RPA into your business doesn’t mean you are a failure and your business will be doomed but implementing it won’t do any harm either. Although every business sector can benefit by incorporating RPA, the ones that can take advantage the most are:

  1. Retail- An error in retailing business can cost a lot, and hence RPA suits best in it as the bots can work constantly without any errors carrying out repetitive tasks. From order, inventory to invoicing, RPA bots can free employees from such administrative work for them to focus on sales more.
  2. Banking & Finance - Financial workflows and banking processes are complicated, tedious, and associated with risks. They are full of paperwork and are flooded with queries all the time, therefore; implementing RPA into its administrative infrastructure can increase work efficiency, minimise errors, reduce cost and processing time, etc. which is much needed in banking and finance.
  3. Manufacturing - Manufacturing is divided into too many processes like inventory management, waste management, supply chain management, invoicing, and others that require excellent time management and efficiency. By introducing RPA bots into it, you can achieve accuracy and efficiency in your manufacturing business all while saving time, money, and resources that it usually takes to do so.
  4. Human Resource - Recruiting, accessing, vetting, and processing employees that fall under human resources are not only repetitive but highly time-consuming. Since HR has a lot of other important tasks to carry out in an organization, automating such petty tasks can be of great help to increase business productivity.
  5. Healthcare - With tasks such as patient scheduling, claims processing, data entry and billing etc. healthcare is a critical sector which involves too much administrative work like banking. It becomes extremely difficult for humans to manage everything, especially in a situation like the pandemic we are facing at present when the volume of patients is growing. So, RPA can benefit the healthcare sector tremendously by lessening the load of such clerical tasks.

Potential issues you can encounter while implementing RPA

One of the major concerns regarding RPA is that they will replace humans. It has the potential to eliminate jobs and threaten the livelihood of many. Other than that, there are a few pitfalls like:

  • Inability to automate end-to-end processes
  • Post-implementation adoption issues
  • Lack of RPA implementation teams
  • Insufficient assistance from the business department
  • Infrastructure, technical and operational issues
  • Maintenance and problem-solving issues etc.

Which processes are better-suited for RPA?

If you are in a dilemma about which processes of your business to be automated and which not? Then here’s a simple explanation.

RPA is suitable for:

  • Rule-based decisions which require no human judgement/involvement.
  • Digitally triggered tasks
  • High volume and highly repetitive tasks
  • Structured data and inputs

What is the cost of RPA?

The cost of implementing RPA depends upon various factors like the RPA vendor you are approaching, the number of bots deployed or activities automated etc. They cost only a fraction of a traditional labour force, and the savings and returns you gain are far more than you invest.

The cost of not implementing RPA

You are not going to suffer huge losses for not implementing RPA in your business. You will only continue to waste your time, money, and resources behind carrying out repetitive tasks when you can get it done with software bots. If you want to achieve the above-mentioned benefits like boost productivity, achieve efficiency, increase accuracy and scalability of your business, etc. then you must go for RPA.

Wrapping Up

RPA indeed is beneficial but, just because of the trend one must not jump to implement it into their business. You need to study it in detail and get it tailored according to your need to gain the maximum out of it. You need to decide whether you need it in-house or outsource it and then approach an RPA vendor for a successful and professional RPA implementation.