Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has become one of the most in-demand technologies for businesses that allows for the ability to do more with less. We define RPA more thoroughly here, but in short, RPA provides the ability to use bots to complete repetitive, mundane business processes. For processes that take little thinking or require consistent back and forth movement between applications, implementing RPA is a solution that can save time, money and frustration. The Managing Director of V-Soft Digital, Manoj Iragavarapu, explained in detail during a Virtual30 webinar. Watch the recording above or continue on for the recap.
What is RPA?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) deploys digital bots or computer programs that digitally complete once manual tasks. RPA can be strictly rule-based or have added intelligence to it.
An example or a manual process that's fit for RPA is in the case of a user taking data from an email and uploading it to a certain file or application. If the email, file location or application doesn't change, it's perfect for RPA.
The growth of RPA adoption has been significant in 2020 due to the conditions of the current economic landscape. Businesses need to do more with less. It's no longer feasible to have employees wasting time on processes that bots can manage with fewer errors and at a lower cost.
Case Study: Automating Invoice Processing
Manoj touched on a previous RPA project for an electronics company. The company processed a lot of invoices (finance in general has a lot of use cases for RPA). The company's process for invoice management was heavily manual. They received invoices by email, downloaded each invoice into a folder, tracked each invoice in an Excel spreadsheet and then uploaded them to a system to be processed. This manual process was riddled with errors (missing emails, failed downloads, incorrect tracking, errors in the Excel sheet, etc.)
V-Soft wrote bots, in this case using BluePrism, to handle the entire invoice management process and even create reports that show number of downloads, accuracy of organization, and notifications when the process was complete. The solution also included an API to connect all systems in the process.
This saved a lot of time in each section of the process. It used to take three days to process invoices and now they can do many per day with fewer errors.
How to Implement RPA
RPA removes manual process and adds automation. To implement RPA, one must consider the following aspects: Is that process repetitive? Does the process involve systems that don't change? Do you need automation quickly? Do you want low impact in overall process chain?
First, try a sample bot with a small process. If the bot has taken over a process completely and there is no impact, than it's a low maintenance bot and will ultimately provide great ROI.
Benefits of RPA:
- Strategic Systems
- Security & Limited Risk
Considerations for RPA Adoption
If you've decided that RPA sounds like the right solution to automate your processes, there are many other decisions to be made, including which RPA platform to use, how to write the bots, etc. It's important to consider these factors when reviewing your options. Understand the cost of RPA. There's the RPA platform licence, as well as the ongoing maintenance support. Make sure the cost savings of RPA is more than the cost or the solution itself.
You'll also need to consider if you will internally build the RPA solution or use a third party vendor. Consider how much resources it would take to internally write a bot, test it, and maintain it. If your firm is not familiar with this technology, it may drive up the costs and overshadow the ROI.