As intelligent automation technologies continue their rapid advance, many organizations are wondering how and when to embrace these powerful new capabilities. While intelligent bots hold immense promise for automating complex tasks across industries, it's important not to overlook the opportunities that exist today through more established robotic process automation (RPA).
By focusing initial automation efforts on implementing RPA for standardized, repeatable processes, companies can start realizing efficiency gains immediately while also laying critical foundations. This approach allows organizations to free up human resources, demonstrate quick wins, then use those resources and lessons to strategically scale up to more sophisticated automation over time. From Garner’s discovery, North America, Western Europe and Japan together are on pace to account for 77% of global RPA end-user spending in 2022, and they predicts that hyperautomation will drive organizations to adopt at least three out of the 20 process-agnostic types of software that enable hyperautomation through 2024.
However, when organizations start streamlining operations with RPA, barriers can arise around choosing tools and implementation. Let's begin by highlighting some common industry challenges where RPA is particularly well-suited for solving.
Industry Pain Points
Manual Repetitive Processes in Manufacturing
Manufacturing operations rely on many repetitive tasks like data entry, invoice processing, report generation that are prone to human error. Ensuring quality and productivity across shifts requires intensive monitoring and auditing of manual tasks. RPA bots can perform these tasks more accurately and consistently at a lower cost than human staff, reducing rework. With bots scaling 24/7, manufacturers gain real-time visibility into production flows for continuous improvement.
Data Entry Bottlenecks in Finance
Banks, insurers and other financial firms handle huge transaction volumes daily but continue relying on manual data entry that introduces inefficiencies. Tasks like customer on-boarding, claims processing or loan applications involve retrieving, validating and entering large amounts of structured data from documents or systems. RPA streamlines such processes by extracting and transferring data at scale with little human intervention. Bots work faster and more accurately than people for routine data work.
Patient Record Management Challenges in Healthcare
Clinics and hospitals grapple with maintaining accurate, up-to-date electronic health records for efficient care coordination and administration. However, tasks involved like records retrieval, updates based on tests/procedures, and document filing are time-consuming when done manually. RPA can automate such repetitive health records tasks, freeing clinical staff for direct patient care work. Automation ensures compliance with safety and reporting regulations as well.
Evaluating Automation Options with Automation Anywhere
When examining RPA solutions, it's important to choose a platform that offers the scale, security and ease-of-use required to automate processes across your entire organization. Automation Anywhere is a leader in the rapidly growing RPA market, known for its intuitive, cloud-based automation platform. Some key features of Automation Anywhere that make it well-suited for tackling operations challenges include:
The cloud-native platform enables scaling of automation without upfront infrastructure investments. IT processes can be automated securely from anywhere without additional installation or maintenance work. Processes are centrally managed for visibility and control.
The attended automation feature called Bot Insight scans processes and identifies areas of manual work for prioritizing automation candidate tasks. It reduces need for manual effort to ascertain procedural bottlenecks.
A simple drag-and-drop interface lets business and IT users easily design automation workflows without coding. Complex processes can be broken into modular steps for collaboration. Process versions are tracked for agility.
Bots can be deployed independently or as coordinated bots performing interlinked steps to digitize multi-departmental workflows. As volumes increase, additional bots can be launched quickly without overhauling existing automations.
Pre-built connectors to major systems ensure RPA bots can access data from any application or source required. Complex data manipulation and validation steps within processes are simplified.
Cloud-based Automation Center administers all bots and automations from a single dashboard. Real-time insights into bot health, utilization and SLA performance enable continuous process evaluation and improvement.
Granular security controls govern bot and user access down to the process level. Access is granted based on need-to-know for safety and governance compliance. User activities are logged and auditable.
Integration with AI/ML:
Bots can leverage pre-trained machine learning models for tasks like data extraction, classification and decision making through native partnership with Automation Anywhere's AI/ML marketplace. As AI capabilities evolve, existing automations can efficiently utilize enhanced skills.
Demonstrating RPA Impact with an Example
To illustrate the kind of impact RPA can deliver through Automation Anywhere, let's consider a loan application processing use case at a large bank handling 300 applications per day manually through a multi-stage process. The key steps are:
Data extraction from documents
Data entry into core systems after validation
Generating acknowledgement letters
Raising exception tickets if needed
We designed a hybrid bot army of 30 bots across these steps that work with a productivity of 4 applications/hour. Post automation, the processing time reduced from average 7 days to under 3 days. With 24x7 availability, the bot workforce is equivalent to over 150 FTEs.
The quantifiable benefits included:
75% reduction in processing cycle times
Previously it was taking on average 7 days to process each loan application from data entry to filing.With the automation processes in place, it reduced the processing time to under 3 days on average.So the turnaround time went from 7 days to 3 days, resulting in a 75% reduction in overall cycle times. This allowed customers to get loan decisions and funds much faster.
Over 80% accuracy improvement
When the processes were manual, the chance of errors during data entry, validation checks etc. was quite high. Audits found a typical accuracy rate of around 85-90%.With automated processes performing the transactions, the accuracy improved drastically to over 99%.This 80% plus improvement in accuracy helped reduce reworks, delays due to mistakes and ensured compliance with all processing guidelines.
More than $2.5M annual savings
By automating the work of equivalent 150+ FTEs, the bank was able to reallocate those resources to other functions.This resulted in an estimated annual savings of $2.5 million from reduced headcount and associated costs like training, real estate etc.Additionally, operational costs like data entry expenses, audit overheads reduced substantially.
Resources redeployed to high-value advisory roles
With mundane data-oriented tasks offloaded to bots, over 100 employees previously tied up in processing were able to take on new roles.This included client-facing functions like personal banking, wealth management, business loans that deliver more revenue.It helped the bank expand services and offerings while maintaining operational efficiency.
When implemented strategically with the right technologies, RPA delivers significant and sustainable benefits to optimize operations across industries. It helps organizations address pressing challenges of manual work, errors and lack of visibility. A leading platform like Automation Anywhere provides the means to digitally transform processes at scale. By applying automation best practices, companies can streamline functions like procurement, finance, HR and customer service through cost-effective RPA with lasting impact.