February 19, 2016
Copy data from an Excel spreadsheet and paste them into an online form, collect data from varying sources like PDF files,eEmail, or web applications and generate a report, verify data matches between different systems: these are some very typical examples of process routines involved in running and administering a business. Irrespective of size or domain of activity, a company usually has these tasks performed manually by its employees.
With the emergence of Robotic Process Automation, RPA for short, all this can be transformed. Now there are software robots to help with these laborious routines. Virtual robots mimic the actions of a human agent and can interact with applications and systems and manipulate them in order to complete any series of structured, computer based tasks.
RPA is an innovation that will bring great benefits to your business. If you are a business owner who doesn’t yet understand how robotic process automation can help you, these four essential benefits might capture your curiosity for further investigation:
1. Reduced Costs
When repetitive clerical/service functions are performed by humans (e.g. call centers, data entry, data transfer etc), there is the cost of recruiting, hiring and training employees. Add to that the salaries and benefits, and you have a great deal invested in a single human employee. Multiply that by 5 – 10 if you are a small business, and you have quite a whopping annual expense. Consider then that a digital workforce works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and costs only a fraction of a typical full time equivalent employee.
2. Speed, Productivity, and Accuracy
When repetitive tasks are completed by humans, there are also human factors at work – first of all the possibility to commit errors. Then there is the occasional short break to re-group, a slowing down simply from boredom, restroom breaks, not feeling well, etc. Robotic automation software is like the “Energizer Bunny” – it just “keeps on keeping on,” accomplishing more and faster than its human counterpart. The problem of procedural errors becomes a non-issue because the impacts of tedium and boredom do not cause distraction related errors. This is all the more important in cases where there are regulatory conditions involved.
3. Consistency through Analytics
The use of robotic automation software provides consistency of performance through monitoring and analytics. Automation opens up and increases the availability of data. Robots leave traces in the system and you can always know how many transactions they process, how many exceptions they handle, and so on. Advanced audit brings efficiency to the way work is managed and delivers data consistency, streamlining the entire business logic.
As your business grows, or if there are varying seasonal demands, a business is able to scale robotic process automation up or down to fit the demand. This avoids seasonal layoffs or the stressful activity of hiring on temps during “heavy” periods. Effective solutions for scalability are a huge benefit.
Robotic automation has arrived and will only grow in importance to businesses as they try to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. Obviously, there are concerns regarding smaller workforces being needed, and employees being destabilized from one professional domain to another. Many businesses, however, have found that as they lose employees through attrition, they can train existing employees for positions that add more value to the company to replace those who have left or retired. This could be a win-win for everyone.
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