The latest office recruit taking over routine tasks is not a sci-fi metal robot with menacing limbs, instead it’s a computer software program capable of machine-learning. Robotics Process Automation (RPA) continues to catch the fancy of many large and small enterprises alike, a more pertinent question in the form of RPA eating into human jobs and emerging as a viable alternative to manual intervention is being raised.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is the next big thing in managing endless, dull workplace routine while cutting costs significantly. It involves using software with machine-learning capabilities, not a sci-fi-style metal robot, to input or manipulate data and perform repetitive, rules-based tasks previously performed by employees. RPA bots can manage anything from data gathering to sophisticated analysis using artificial intelligence to understand meaning and context from unstructured data.
The key to RPA is that the robot slots into a company’s existing IT system, logging on as if from a desk and mimicking the behaviour of a human employee.
RPA in BPM
While on RPA, it is important to point out that in days to come, RPA will have a more profound role to play in the Business Process Management (BPM) industry. Extensive studies done in this context, predict that enterprises will allocate a sizable percentage of their overall spend to RPA in the foreseeable future.
RPA is slowly being implemented by BPM providers for transaction processing and data entry in high-volume and repeatable processes. With technology and automation turning out to be the key business drivers for BPM, RPA’s emergence as an unassisted automation approach can deliver immense value creation at a comparatively lower risk and with significant cost benefits.
RPA also has the potential to address key pain points in traditional “system of records” technologies, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform, though it has its limitations in terms of usability, especially pertaining to data formats and analyses. While RPA can be a part of multiple processes, it should be seen as one component of end-to-end process improvement.
Depending on the scope of implementation, RPA can:
§ Deliver cost savings of 25-50 percent
§ Offer an improved service delivery
§ Simplify data gathering and analysis, enabling process optimization
§ Enhance flexibility
§ Improve compliance
§ Provide round-the-clock availability
In essence, organisations looking to shore up productivity, reduce operating cost and drive operational efficiency, RPA deployment will give them the critical competitive edge.