RPA and why close collaboration between software vendors and customers is crucial
Article by Hyalnd country manager for A/NZ Jamie Atherton.
Robotic process automation (RPA) can save an organisation time and money while cutting down on manual processing and error rates. Using RPA, repetitive, time-consuming data tasks can be performed efficiently by software ‘bots’, removing a large amount of work that would normally consume precious resources.
In the modern era, a company’s success depends on customer experience like never before. When tasks are completed efficiently with minimal errors, customer experience is sure to be positive – and RPA has a part to play in delivering streamlined customer service.
RPA’s role in decreasing the number of manual tasks, reducing errors and making processes more efficient results in a better experience at the consumer-facing side of a business. Customers tend to report a positive experience if they find that invoicing, customer sales records, address details, and other core functionalities work seamlessly.
However, the use cases for RPA are not always apparent for many companies. The overall business process within an organisation needs to be understood to incorporate RPA appropriately and find where it can have the most beneficial impact.
Rather than simply looking at back-office processes, software providers need to understand how the end-to-end process works at that particular organisation. This way, it is often possible to find better value throughout the organisation.
Therefore, the company and service provider will need to collaborate efficiently with key stakeholders from the business side – not just the IT department – to best learn how processes function, the challenges they face and goals they hope to achieve. Subsequently, decisions can be made holistically rather than confined to certain departments, and teams benefit from the technology.
Software vendors shouldn’t assume things about the customer organisation or how the technology will work for them. Understanding the customer’s real needs across all business processes minimises the possibility of overlooking instances where bots can work together to derive value.
Organisations should evaluate their processes from the business side first, then engage IT teams and software vendors to explain these needs how to meet them.
Sometimes, if a business process is 95% complete, RPA can be engaged to ‘fill in the gaps’. For example, a bot can be deployed to operate in that space, recognise where external data needs to be found and input the required data.
In this way, RPA solutions don’t necessarily replace people or automate entire business processes; instead, they enhance the existing mechanism. This means less business disruption than if an entire process were replaced.
It is, therefore, possible to reset and enhance a process without taking it offline, and make business improvements without reinventing the wheel.
In some cases, it may be obvious where RPA can add value, while in others, it may be beneficial to re-examine and potentially redesign the business process to take full advantage of what RPA can do. An experienced vendor can help with the initial discovery and identify proven use cases and industry best practices to help accelerate deployment.
For organisations looking to take their efficiency and automation efforts to the next level, RPA solutions can be connected to line-of-business applications to extend the value of those technologies.
When connected with content services platforms, an organisation can put the information captured and routed to work with new intelligent automation capabilities to achieve greater overall efficiency and effectiveness. Even better, employees can now spend their time on higher-value tasks rather than menial data aggregation or processing.