RPA: Challenging the frontiers of cognitive technology

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the latest buzz in the business world. “This is less about the latest trend in software. It’s more about the new digital version of the white-collar worker. It’s really a reinvention of how work gets done”, quotes Frank Casale, Founder & Chairman Emeritus of the Institute for Robotic Process Automation, bringing out the importance of the process.

It’s the age of digitization, and RPA is gaining prominence with its simple yet advanced automation techniques. Realizing the importance of automating repetitive business processes, several industries are turning to include RPA strategy as a part of their transformational journey. Forrester states that the RPA market is likely to grow to $2.9 bn by the year 2021.

In simple terms, RPA is nothing but the process of automating repetitive business processes or mundane tasks using specialized software robots called ‘bots’. These bots are capable of identifying high volume of rules-driven transactional tasks and automating the same. RPA strategy is non-intrusive and efficiently integrates with multiple systems and applications.

However, not the same automation platform works for every industry or organization.  “Automation is good, so long you know exactly where to put the machine,” says Eliyahu Goldratt, Management guru.

To delineate the difference, the robotics industry usually relies on two major breeds of automation – Attended and Unattended.

  1. Attended automation or attended bots usually rely on assistance from humans. This type of automation is also referred to as desktop automation as these bots function on local workstations. Typically responding to user prompts or exclusively triggered events by humans, these bots are known as software assistants or personal assistant bots. Attended bots generally automate the same functions or programs as done by an employee of an organization.

A call center is an excellent example where attended automation assists to offer superior customer service. Executives in a call center usually toggle through several interfaces and screens while handling customer issues. This means they are entering and/or retrieving data from multiple sources at a specific time. Attended bots automate the entering and recalling of data process in real-time, thereby allowing the executives to focus on the customer.

  1. Unattended automation or unattended bots require very little to no human intervention. Unattended bots are self-triggered and run on the server of the organization. This type of automation is usually preferred for back-office systems. They are deployed to run automatically on pre-determined schedules in real-time and can be accessed remotely through various platforms or interfaces. Unattended automation provides the advantage of breaking down communicational and functional silos across the organization and the employees are free to take up some higher function.

For instance, unattended automation can be successfully deployed in the health insurance sector. A health insurance company takes care of humongous volumes of documentation tasks such as claims processing and invoices on a daily basis. By deploying an unattended bot, various actions and events of the workflow can be automated, resulting in a streamlined process of data management and documentation for the company.

Success Story & Key Benefits of Attended Automation/Bots 

A classic case of benefiting by the use of attended automation is that of Standard Bank. Standard Bank serves over 10 million customers in 20 countries through 100,000 employees across its various branches. Africa’s largest bank leverages an intelligent automation software to digitize its processes. Through this blended human-bot automation platform, the bank provides highly digitized frictionless services 24×7 to its customers. The bank was also able to reduce its customer on-boarding time from 20 days to 5 minutes.

The key benefits using the above RPA strategy are

  • Improved customer experience
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Exponential growth in ROI

Success Story & Key Benefits of Unattended Automation/Bots 

A case to be noted in the use of unattended automation is that of a leading American healthcare provider. The provider was facing specific challenges in the area of extracting large volumes of reports on a daily basis from web applications, which was manually driven. To address this challenge, the provider deployed UiPath robots that would download reports on a daily basis, thereby reducing the extraction time, which would further assist in processing the customer requests within the stipulated time period.

Following are the key benefits achieved by the provider post automation of the entire process

  • Eliminated complete human involvement
  • Achieved higher accuracy and faster processing
  • Maintained lower cost per transaction

RPA is definitely here to stay. It improves your speed-to-market and cost takeouts. Organizations that embrace this new generation robotics technology to drive positive business outcomes are sure to expand their footprint across the global market.

If you want to know more on how intelligent automation can help transform your business, get in touch with our experts today!

Author : Priya Sen Date : 27 Jul 2018