Robotic process automation (RPA) is a relatively new technology that has already firmly claimed its spot in improving the productivity of organizations alongside tried and true methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of 22 benefits of RPA based on our many years of experience implementing RPA solutions with financial services, insurance, telecommunications, and healthcare clients.
1. Decreased costs. Cost savings of approximately 80-90% can be achieved when a business process performed by an FTE is replaced by a software robot.
2. Freeing up staff for higher-value tasks. Automation of repetitive and time-consuming processes frees up your staff to make a more value-add contribution. For example, when assessing an insurance claim more time can be spent on the assessment as opposed to populating the same data into mutliple systems.
3. Increased employee engagement. When staff can focus on high-value tasks they often feel more invested in the work they are completing. When implementing RPA projects, we often see staff engaging in repetitive activities e.g. copying data between 10 different systems while completing a single customer request, with RPA they can serve an additional 3 clients instead.
4. Reduced operational risk. RPA reduces the rate of errors because robots make less mistakes. Avoiding purely human mistakes, such as those made while tired, or by deviating from the process, means a lower level of operational risk.
5. Reduced output variability. Robots are great at duplicating tasks consistently with little to no distinguishable variability. It ensures that similar tasks are handled in the same way e.g. underwriting for insurance policies is consistent across the same risk groups.
6. Reduced paper use/waste. RPA forces digitization as it requires that companies have the data and files being manipulated by software robots in a digital form. Work that in the past may have been done partly or in full on paper, by an FTE, can now be purely electronic.
7. Driving process improvement. In an automation project you often first analyze and then simplify (where possible) the processes to be automated, creating more manageable processes (for both people and machines). For example, if you have 10 different ways to set up a new client in your system, it would make sense to streamline this process first and then automate it.
8. Increased output. Automation allows for work to be done 24/7/365 without people fatigue, or quality variance. Often, customers want to interact with service providers outside of a 9-5 timeframe—on evenings and weekends—automation allows you to offer this level of service.
9. Higher speed and throughput. Customers receive expedited service as machines are able to process requests in real time. e.g. credit checks, etc.
10. Improved customer experience. By deploying RPA you free up expensive and high-value resources, FTEs, from more menial and repetitive tasks and put them back on the front line assisting your customers.
11. Improved internal service levels. With RPA things like internal reports can be delivered faster and without mistakes, new employees can be set-up very quickly, and even IT issues can be enormously accelerated.
12. Defined governance structures. RPA forces companies to define clear governance structures around IT applications by forcing organizations to agree on who owns each application. This leads to a clearer definition of access rights for each application, since robots, like humans, will need to use the same access.
13. RPA does not require substituting existing IT systems. An RPA virtual workforce uses all the same systems your FTEs use. This is one of the greatest advantages of RPA in comparison to other automation solutions. In the past, Business Process Management solutions and workflow management tools had to be integrated with each application they interacted with. RPA simply uses the existing systems in the way your FTEs would.
14. RPA is Scaleable. Being able to easily scale up or down your operations as needed ensures that companies can make adjustments based on seasonality. In the insurance sector, for example, a virtual workforce can be ramped up in order to process snow/hail claims in the winter, flooding in the summer, etc.
15. Virtual workforces are highly secure. Managing IT security for RPA robots is very simple as they do not change roles, leave the company, or retire. They also don’t hack your data.
16. Increased expertise in core domains. By automating simple tasks, your company can develop increased expertise in your core domains, such as developing more sophisticated fraud analysis, and/or creating more accurate underwriting algorithms.
17. RPA eliminates customer pain points. A successfully implemented virtual workforce can enhance your customer’s experience and eliminate common customer pain points. For example, traditionally when processing a loan the customer has to fill out several forms and submit required documents. These are then sent for processing, review, and approval. The overall process can take several weeks, with multiple human touch-points, after which the customer gets feedback on the status of their loan application. With RPA, a robot can take over the complete process, reducing turnaround time to a few days or less.
18. Impact is delivered quickly. From the moment when robots are in place – a matter of weeks – organizations start seeing benefits. The Burnie Group’s typical implementation timeline for RPA projects is approximately 8 weeks.
19. Improved capacity for SLA analysis. RPA solutions allow management to know the progress of SLAs in real-time. Dashboards tracking the output of your virtual workforce address a frequent problem of operations and back-office managers – understanding where their team stands and how volumes are evolving.
20. High-quality processes and output. Similar to a recipe being created by a five-star cook, a robot’s decision making logic is designed by your best SMEs, ensuring high-quality output. Your SME transfer knowledge of best practices with the RPA team ensuring your virtual workforce is performing at the highest standard.
21. Better record keeping. Robots always document what they’ve done, not only leaving a clear audit and control track but also allowing for easy recovery after unexpected shutdowns.
22. Being an innovator. RPA is a cutting edge technology that is dramatically changing back-office operations enabling greater innovation by freeing up human labour to focus on idea-generating.
While RPA has many benefits, there continues to be a clear need for humans in the workforce. The question is no longer which jobs will be replaced, but rather, what work will be redefined, and how? In the future, most processes will consist of a mix of human and machine labour. Nothing will be fully automated. Even at the most highly automated production plant, you will see there are still humans working.
Automation allows for traditional jobs to become more fluid, ensuring more effective human labour. With freedom from high-volume, low complexity administrative work, humans can continue to drive and innovate in areas such as customer service, expertise-based tasks, the development of new products, etc.
This article is just a glance into the world of RPA topics – should you be interested in exploring RPA opportunities in your industries or want to understand how to apply or deploy RPA in your organization, please contact us for a free no-obligation discussion. We look forward to hearing from you.