Everything You Need to Know About Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

The universe of artificial intelligence has been expanding with new terms and technologies, which often leads to confusion. One of the many misconceptions is the interchangeable usage of the technology terms Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Though both these technologies are the hottest buzzwords in this digital age, there are some key differences between the complexity level of both systems.

What is RPA?

According to Wikipedia:
“Robotic process automation (RPA) is an emerging form of clerical process automation technology based on the notion of software robots or artificial intelligence (AI) workers.”

To be more specific, RPA is one of the most popular AI technologies that mimics the activity of a human being in carrying out a task within a process. That is why the use case of this technology is usually focused on automating dreary and repetitive back office processes, thus freeing the employees to deal with more complex tasks requiring emotional intelligence, reasoning and judgement.

According to Gartner, RPA is the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market and the biggest adopters are banks, insurance companies, telcos and utility companies. The data found that the RPA market grew over 63% last year and have an overall market value of $846.2 million. “The ability to integrate legacy systems is the key driver for RPA projects. By using this technology, organizations can quickly accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, while unlocking the value associated with past technology investments,” Fabrizio Biscotti, research vice president at Gartner said in a statement.

Benefits of RPA

Manual back office operations are not only redundant and dreary, but they are also prone to human errors. With RPA, companies can enjoy greater benefits in terms of returns and results. Some of the major benefits of RPA include

  • Increase in operational efficiency of business operations

  • Improved compliance to regulations and standards

  • Fastest turnaround time and reduced costs

  • Reduction in data entry errors and other manual errors

  • Improved customer service quality and satisfaction

  • Increased scalability of operations

  • Boost to employee productivity and efficiency

An example of a successful RPA implementation is a large consumer and commercial bank that redesigned its claims process by deploying 85 software robots to run 13 processes. The RPA system handled 1.5 million requests in a year, thus allowing the bank to add capacity equivalent to around 230 full-time employees at just about 30 percent of the cost of recruiting more staff. As a result, the bank recorded a 27 percent increase in tasks performed “right first time”.

Applications of RPA

Robotic Process Automation tools have been used across diverse industries in order to increase profit margins and productivity. In sectors that demand a tremendous amount of manual and repetitive work, RPA can be introduced to execute the repetitive stuff more quickly, accurately, and tirelessly than humans. Let us take a look at some examples.

Healthcare: Patient record management, patient onboarding, claims administration, billing and care related systems of healthcare industry often take a huge deal of time. Moreover, the chances of manual errors and downtime are higher. In a fast evolving industry that has seen a significant increase in the number of patients over the last decade, it is high time for healthcare organizations to shift to the digital landscape. Implementing a RPA system would help in the accurate and efficient handling of patient records, claims, appointment scheduling, billing and patient care related systems.

Banking and Financial services: Banking sector is infamous for its time intensive and inefficient operations around information input and exchange. Companies in banking and financial services can use RPA for automating the customer onboarding & KYC (Know Your Customer) process. RPA bots can also assist in mortgage lending processes, credit card operations, fraud checks, risk reporting, internal controls testing, foreign exchange payments, managing audit requests and processing insurance claims.

Manufacturing and Retail: Many global retailers and manufacturing companies are using physical robots on their production floor to pack, assemble and test products efficiently. Implementing RPA bots for the back-office operations would give an added boost to the business profits. Not only it saves man-hours and money, but also increases the overall efficiency and productivity of the organization. RPA bots can be used for automating order processing and payments, inventory management, shipment tracking, authorize returns and refunds, conducting loyalty programs and more. Introducing an RPA platform for your retail operations will enhance your customer engagement and experience by a greater extent.

Each industry has its own unique needs and challenges that can be tackled with RPA solutions. Not only RPA systems improves the overall efficiency of an organization, but also frees up employees to focus on more valuable and creative tasks, thus delivering greater returns to the organizations.

According to the leading industry analysts, the global RPA market is expected to grow at a strong pace. RPA when integrated with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence capabilities can take productivity to the next level whilst cutting costs and saving time. The sooner organizations leverage the potential and capabilities of AI and RPA technologies, the easier it will be for them to gain a competitive edge.

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