The adoption of technologies for the automation of business processes, such as “Robotic Process Automation”, over the past few years, presents a growing curve, being an inevitable trend to meet the transversal needs of all types of companies, present in different market segments, in terms of both cost optimization and improvement of performance indicators, resulting in maximum efficiency of the processes inherent to administrative operations.
RPA is defined by most specialists as a disruptive technology that enables the monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly execution, in a very simple, fast, 100% automatic, and extremely precise way, of routine activities and with a high volume of transactions, which are mostly performed by people, thus consuming a large part of their useful time to conclude them, in turn transforming the companies’ operations, both in terms of performance and business results. It is very important to mention that the strongest and most direct candidates (“quick wins”) for RPA are processes with the following characteristics:
- Great dependence on human intervention in the interaction and/or propagation of information between various applications, both internal and external to the company;
- A high number of repetitions in its execution, at least one or more times per day/week;
- A high volume of inputs to process for each execution;
- Strong possibility of modularity and easy subdivision into smaller and chained processes, based on the identification and classification by type of input to be processed;
- “Inputs/outputs” with fixed structures by typology;
- Reduced number of variants, validations, and/or exceptions;
- Very rigid, clear, well-defined rules, independent of quantity, and that, mainly, totally discards the use, both of intuition and common sense, of people;
- Little or no added value for those who carry them out, i.e. the daily, weekly, or monthly routine that everyone dreams of getting rid of as quickly as possible.
RPA is typically and “traditionally” very easy to justify in terms of return on investment when implemented in companies in the financial and insurance sectors and, also in organizations where routine processes with high volumes of information and few associated business rules predominate.
However, it is very important to reinforce that RPA is also applicable when there is an increased degree of complexity. For this reason, for more advanced and differentiated purposes, RPA can be combined and “enriched” by resorting to Artificial Intelligence solutions, raising the complexity bar, and thus enabling its use in all types of business processes that have more “sophisticated” and “intelligent” requirements, provided, of course, that what you intend to automate is well identified, documented and specified to the maximum detail, both in terms of the “AS IS” of the business process and its “TO BE”, which, in turn, guide the necessary technological transformation and define the requirements of each implementation, such as:
- Frequency of execution;
- Average volume of transactions to be processed / execution;
- Time required (estimated in minutes) per transaction / execution;
- Number of people required / execution and the associated “cost” (FTEs);
- Possible modularisation into sub-processes;
- “Inputs” and “outputs” by typology/sub-process;
- Possible variants and specific rules/sub-process;
- Inherent steps and general rules/variant;
- Validation/approval points that require human intervention between subprocesses;
- Possible exceptions that must be handled automatically and/or manually;
- Systems/applications involved and Artificial Intelligence solutions required.
Through RPA, a wide range of repetitive tasks, which exhaustively consume people’s time, can be automated very quickly and directly, such as:
- Collection and reconciliation;
- Order processing;
- Sending mass notifications;
- Updating customer/employee profiles;
- Closing accounts;
- Automation of reports;
- Operating and “handling” systems/applications;
- Handling/replacing complex spreadsheets;
- Data extraction for processing (Big Data);
- Human Resources Management;
- Operational Analytics.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF RPA?
RPA is evolving, and the future outlook looks increasingly promising. This trend is expanding globally and consequently more and more types of activities/processes are becoming automatable, changing the paradigm and raising the potential of the digital workforce exponentially, especially when RPA is integrated, working together in perfect harmony, with technologies such as Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Intelligent Document Processing and many other Artificial Intelligence solutions specific to each industry’s needs.
At the same time, contrary to what was initially thought, RPA is focused on people to the extent that, by optimizing existing processes and with the consequent increase in productivity, workers will be more liberated and qualified to perform tasks that are more relevant, rewarding and with greater added value for the business.
In short, RPA gives companies numerous competitive advantages in various aspects of their day-to-day business, such as:
- It allows a Return on Investment, on average, of less than 1 year;
- Provides full legal/tax compliance
- Facilitates audits of already automated processes;
- Standardizes data and procedures;
- Guarantees operational analysis in real-time;
- Streamlines operations without loss of control;
- Increases process resilience;
- Improves performance indicators;
- Adds value to human capital.
HOW SPECIFICALLY CAN RPA HELP YOUR COMPANY?
Based on our vast experience, in addition to everything already mentioned above, the greatest advantage obtained by the use of RPA in all companies is the creation of a harmonious “joint-venture” between people and technology, evidenced by benefits, often intangible, originating in greater team satisfaction and further boosting productivity and efficiency indicators.