What are the Benefits of RPA Solutions?
Robotic process automation (or RPA) is a technology that mimics actual user behavior via software robots (bots) to automate high-frequency deterministic business processes. It enables organizations to integrate those tasks into enterprise systems, including ERP, CRM, and industry-specific software, without writing complex integration code.
RPA has become a key tool in the ongoing digitalization of business processes, extending the concept of automation to a range of scenarios that would otherwise require human labor or intervention. The main benefits of deploying RPA are as follows:
- Reduced process times and costs. Using an RPA solution can reduce the time taken to execute a process and improve throughput. Compared to a human operator, an RPA bot can work without breaks and operate on a 24/7 basis. The combination of better throughput and reduced labor costs can reduce the overall cost of running the process. A global BPO company applied RPA to 14 core insurance processes involving 120,000 case transactions per month and built 27 robots to automate parts of those processes. In doing so, it reduced the cost of each process by 30% on average.
- Increased productivity. RPA solutions can free up human operators to focus on higher-value work, expanding the team’s overall productivity. The human operator can trigger a bot as required to assist in performing a task (described as attended operation), or the bot can execute the entire process without intervention, either to a preset schedule or triggered by logic (described as unattended mode). A national public sector organization created 120 bots to automate elements of 25 accounting processes, including maintaining financial journals and materials pricing. This saved 18,000 person-hours annually and reduced the cost of the processes by 15%.
- Improved quality. An RPA solution can consistently execute a process, avoiding human error. It also enables greater traceability of a process for regulated businesses, with all activity stored in a log. A global FORTUNE 500 technology company was undertaking a digital finance transformation, which included using RPA to automate the creation of previously manual journal entries for intercompany cross-charges. The automated solution did away with human-generated inaccuracies and generated 50% productivity gains. It also meant that the process was fully auditable.
- Improved customer experience. Organizations are increasingly looking to RPA to help improve customer experience. A bot can handle many basic incoming customer requests, and by improving responsiveness and avoiding long wait times, can increase customer satisfaction. A UK-based Hospital Trust used RPA to integrate patient self-service kiosks with the National Program of IT (NPfIT) patient Administration System (PAS). This increased the proportion of patients using the self-service kiosks to 51%, improved patient satisfaction, and led to a 50% improvement in staff efficiency.
As RPA solutions have evolved, they have incorporated new capabilities to broaden the scope of processes to which they can be applied, including:
- Process discovery and task mining
- Intelligent Document Processing (IDP)
- AI/ML assisted decision automation, image recognition, and NLP