Robotic process automation (RPA) emerged as a tool for digital transformation in enterprises. RPA is an umbrella term for concepts that automate processes using software robots within the existing application systems. This technology mimics human actions on computers and delivers the same tasks faster with consistent quality. As a result, you can boost operational excellence, as well as reduce the workload of human employees.
But how to embrace RPA development? What benefits can you get? What talent do you need by your side? Discover the answers to these and other questions in this article.
RPA market overview
The size of the robotic process automation software market was valued at $1.89B in 2021 and is foreseen to grow at a CAGR of 38.2% from 2022 to 2030. This growth is driven by factors, such as the need to optimize operations and generate maximum ROI, integration of the latest technologies, and changing business processes across enterprises. The global switch to remote work during the pandemic has also triggered the urge to automate workflows.
RPA technology is relatively new and is currently developing: only 17% of companies have been implementing it for over three years.
However, RPA technology is expected to be widely adopted and become more sophisticated. Technological advancements, including ML, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and analytics within the RPA domain, are creating a demand for intelligent automation systems.
Businesses across various industries have embarked on the RPA adoption journey. According to the Acceleration Economy, manufacturing is the top industry that leveraged RPA in 2021 (35%), followed by technology (31%), healthcare (10%), retail and CPG (8%), finance (8%), public sector (5%), and education (3%).
Benefits of robotic process automation
Cost optimization and prompt return of investment
The development of robotic process automation software does not require a particular tech background. As a result, you do not have to look for rare and expensive talent. This, in turn, results in quick project delivery and ROI.
RPA technology makes business processes more flexible and easier to adjust to an ever-changing environment. However, you should remember that the tasks to be automated have to:
- Be logical, well-defined, and rule-based;
- Have an input that can be deciphered by software systems as well as diverted to the software system;
- Possess the accessible output system;
- Bring more benefits that overweight your spending on the RPA solutions.
All the repetitive, time-consuming, and multiple steps, as well as high-risk tasks, and the ones involving multiple people can and should be automated. RPA technology accelerates workflows, ensuring more work is done within the same time.
Here are the tasks that can be automated across the various industries with the help of RPA engineering:
- Insurance: managing policies, filing, and processing claims across multiple platforms.
- Financial sector: day-to-day activities and handling an enormous amount of data, performing complex workflows.
- Utility companies: automation of tasks such as meter reading, billing, and processing customer payments.
- Healthcare: data entry, patient scheduling, billing and claims processing, optimizing appointments, sending patients automatic reminders of their appointments, and mitigating human error in patient records.
The absence of the human factor allows you to achieve a nearly 100% accuracy rate with RPA development. According to IBM, 72% of surveyed people report that their companies experience increased work accuracy after implementing RPA.
Apart from that, RPA engineering ensures strict adherence to compliances and new levels of speed and precision.
Ease of introduction
RPA does not require a robust programming background. Most RPA platforms provide simple designs (e.g., in the form of flowcharts). As a result, IT professionals are relatively free to carry out higher-value work.
Since RPA bots can log each action taken with the appropriate tag and metadata, it becomes easier to gain insights and analytical data. Using analytics on the data such as transaction received time, transaction complete time, and predictions will help to perform the tasks on time.
Enhanced customer experience
Robotic process automation makes the customer experience you provide more efficient and accurate. The time it takes to complete your customer’s requests is very important: the less it takes, the more they will be satisfied with your services. So, automation is the key to top-notch customer experience.
Integration with legacy systems
Often, large businesses face the challenge of integrating multiple sources or pieces of software into a single, multilayer structure. However, these companies are often challenged by the lack of or limited APIs that cause troubles with data transfer, system transformation, or a variety of other tech challenges. RPA bots allow businesses to interact with legacy platforms that do not have APIs by mimicking the actions of a user that would manually transfer data or perform other actions.
How it works
RPA software can replace human tasks, support human tasks, or introduce a new task. These objectives have peculiarities that need to be considered when developing an RPA solution. The first objective — replacing human tasks — is the least technically demanding and thus does not require a robust tech background. The latter (introducing new tasks), on the contrary, calls for careful planning, complex system integration, and centralized governance.
To innovate and automate new tasks, the ones that tackle unstructured data and require intelligent decision-making, you need a trusted tech vendor by your side. If you opt for such a system, you need custom software development. In case you are unsure about what you need, a reliable partner will perform a project discovery phase that also includes PoC development. This, in turn, will help you understand how the solution will work in your specific business case.
So what is the process behind RPA development? Every RPA technology requires a well-designed framework. The first part of the process (Initialization) has three sub-parts to it. The identification process consists of careful analysis of the task that needs to be automated or research of potential opportunities. Next, you need to aight RPA projects with the overall goals of your business. And only then can you start looking for tech solutions. Within the Implementation phase, you will narrow down the selection criteria and focus on a specific robotic process automation software or opt for custom development. Your team (or potential tech partner) will create a PoC that will help you test this solution in a specific business case. After a successful trial, you can make changes and adapt the solution to match the needs of the users. Once you are happy with the results, you can roll out the RPA software and scale it across the company (Scaling).
We also recommend setting up Centers of Excellence that will drive some of the processes and will help you make the most out of each aspect of automation. Also, make sure to collect feedback and provide further support of the solution.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some robotic process automation use cases.
Robotic process automation use cases
The number of robotic process automation uses is countless. So, we will group them into five major categories and provide several examples for each. These categories are common business processes, commercial activities, support functions, HR processes, as well as industry-specific activities.
Common business processes
Problems in the operations side of selling can be costly. What’s more, they can result in customer complaints or selling at reduced prices due to clerical errors. Automated sales can spare you these headaches, as they reduce the rate of manual errors and provide services to your customers faster. Since automation can make processes more efficient, customers will receive invoices earlier, leading to earlier payments and improved cash flow.
The majority of B2C businesses have a customer onboarding process that is vital for reducing churn and getting customers to start using the product. Using cognitive automation, a significant share of customer onboarding actions can be completed instantaneously, even in companies that have legacy systems, greatly improving customer experience.
Lead nurturing in marketing
Leads arrive through multiple channels, including social media, directories, company websites, lead collection forms, vendors, etc. So, it makes perfect sense to automate the process of lead nurturing. You can monitor status changes, track closed and lost deals, and improve the overall visibility of the lead management process.
Salesforce or similar systems are the sources of truth regarding customer interactions. Thus, updating interactions to CRM is critical, though time-consuming. Automation allows you to track new and returning customers, view order statuses, and analyze an overall customer journey. So, make use of RPA technology and spare yourself the headache of manual updates.
Hearing the same complaint over and over again is a nightmare for any support engineer or manager. As teams solve the issue, they also need to deal with users calling to ask when the system will be up. However, if you implement RPA, bots put tech support teams ahead of all other teams and let them respond to possible failures before clients can notice them.
RPA stemmed from testing tools that mimic user interactions. Though tests can be built into the software, it is vital to test the system from a user’s perspective. Such tests are time-consuming when performed manually. However, they can be lightning-fast when they are automated.
The payroll function calls for repetitive processing while considering the company's rules and regulations. Though there are modern payroll software solutions for this process, some companies still rely on legacy systems. However, proper planning can help these companies make the switch to modern payroll software faster and mitigate possible risks.
Document processing for finance
With the help of RPA development, you can improve the accuracy and speed of reading various data formats and entering data into databases using optical character recognition (OCR) technology.
Front-office support for retail
With the services of robotic process automation companies, you will be able to reduce the response time and deliver an enhanced customer experience by equipping your call center or service desk team with a digital helper.
Paperless reporting (across industries)
Robotic process automation will help you generate reports and send them to all parties who need them using software bots that pull together required data from different systems on a scheduled basis.
Regulatory compliance (across industries)
Last but not least, with RPA engineering, you can facilitate compliance with security regulations by keeping comprehensive bot action logs for a greater degree of control over your operations. Action logs allow keeping track of all the things happening within your system, e.g., message deletions to members joining and leaving.
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- We provide end-to-end development services for Fortune 500 companies, global industry leaders, including Lebara, Gogo, Currencycloud, and many others;
- We have substantial expertise with enterprise solutions and systems, including OpenText, SAP, ECM, and much more;
- The company has long-standing experience working with data, including data analytics, Big Data, and business intelligence;
- With over 20 years of experience in the global IT market, we have experience providing such services as extended teams, managed teams, as well as custom software development.
- Robotic Process Automation by Christian Czarnecki, Peter Fettke (Eds.)
- Robotic Process Automation – Future of Business Organizations: A Review by Sunita Patil
- Intelligent Automation Simplifies by Debanjana Dasgupta
- Elements Of Success: Robotics Lifecycle Management, How To Develop RPA: Test Automation Center Of Excellence by Leonida Dornier
- Robotic Process Automation as a Digital Transformation Tool for Increasing Organizational Resilience in Polish Enterprises by Andrzej Sobczak