In last week’s blog post, we discussed the common question of robots replacing humans in the workforce, and examined some of the fears around that issue. It’s certainly a weighty topic worthy of an ongoing dialogue, and we reiterate our stance that Robotic Process Automation will change the nature of work by complementing the human workforce, rather than supplanting it. In light of that theme, we thought it would be useful to take a step back and look at one of the “big picture” benefits of RPA – efficiency.
How exactly does RPA improve and increase efficiency? Those new to the technology may be thinking of a physical robot similar to those seen in factory environments, and while RPA is software based, not physical, the good news is that RPA has a similarly positive effect on digital business processes.
Below we outline five ways in which RPA can increase efficiency, irrespective of industry sector or business size:
1. Robots never stop: The beauty of RPA is that unlike a typical 9-5 workday, software robots continue to carry out tasks for as long as needed, available 24/7/365. They will set aside any workflow exceptions for human review and analysis the following morning. Robots don’t get sidetracked or have their concentration waver after a long day in front of a computer screen and needless to say, they don’t require annual leave, sick leave or lunch breaks!
2. Faster processing time: The number of processes and actions that RPA can handle in a given period is typically several times that of a human, so your organization can cycle through more items faster. Importantly, faster processing time on forward-facing services usually leads to happier and more engaged customers. For high volume back office tasks, what once took multiple hours to complete is processed in a fraction of the time.
3. Data and analytics: Software robots collect data on every process they execute and create accessible reports on the same, thereby drawing attention to potential flaws in the original business process. Using this data, managers can then look into any potential bottlenecks/pinch points and incrementally improve the process to further increase efficiency.
4. Higher employee productivity: Not only will your processes become more efficient with RPA, your employees will become more productive due to the fact that they will be moving away from the mundane and focusing on higher level activities and business strategies. Studies have shown that people love their work when they feel a sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Having shed the repetitive and often manual work, employees can unleash their subject matter expertise and creativity to address the core needs of the organization.
5. Do more with less: While RPA can help to reduce certain costs, one of the central premises of RPA is as a tool for business growth. Staying ahead of the technology game shouldn’t be the end goal. Rather, the focus of RPA should be creating more time for your employees to engage with more clients, participate in more projects and navigate complex challenges to bring about business growth.
RPA is an evolving technology, but it has already moved well beyond the realm of a “buzzword”, as more and more organizations start their RPA journey as a means to driving efficiency.