Despite having been around for several years, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has only recently gained mainstream recognition with robo advisors in the wealth management industry becoming more widespread. So what is RPA and how does it apply to your business?
Have you ever seen an Excel macro running? It is as if an invisible person is moving data around in your spreadsheet, reformatting cells and summarising information. Macros have one big limitation: they can only manipulate the information in your spreadsheet.
RPA shares many similarities to the Excel macro, but it is not limited to just one application but any desktop application you use on a day to day basis. Any task you undertake regularly using any system can now be automated.
Learning to See
There is often a lag between understanding what RPA can do, and understanding how RPA can be used in your business. Rest assured, the opportunities are there.
You have two options, get some help or jump in. The first option will require funding but will help accelerate your starting point, the second seems quite scary, but it really isn't. There are cheap, simple, but effective options available to get you started: start now, think big, grow fast.
Because RPA acts as the glue to connect separate systems it is important to emphasise that it works equally as a solution for integration and automation. The Financial Services industry is a perfect example; Companies in this industry have often grown through acquisitions and they end up with multiple separate IT systems all having similar functionality.
RPA can connect them together and improve the data integrity between them. Even small businesses can have separate applications to handle sales, accounting and ordering resulting in manually re-entering key information into separate systems.
The low hanging fruit for automation is simple, repetitive transactions that use structured data. The results are improvements in speed, customer satisfaction and quality.
The RPA Landscape has advanced rapidly in just a few short years. The number of RPA providers has increased from a handful to over 30 and the range of capabilities have also advanced significantly.
This has led to the misconception that RPA is either too complex, too expensive, too technical or simply too difficult. There are now a wide variety of options now available, it is fair to say that there is now an RPA option for Everyone, the barriers to entry fallen away. Now is a good time to consider how automation can help your business.
Learning More about RPA
There is an abundance of free information to help you get started with RPA, webinars are regularly organized by vendors to give a flavour of what the technology can do. Keep in mind of course that their opinion will be biased towards their solution.
Digital Workforce is an executive guide to RPA. It explains the different RPA vendors, along with elements such as roles and structures needed, key components of governance and processes for successful implementation.