The term “robot” often conjures up visions of popular mechanical figures, like R2D2 and C3PO, however, for the business world the concept of robotics is vastly different. Robotic process automation, often called RPA for short, has been around for many years, and is now evolving into a much more robust and useful tool for businesses of every size, shape and industry. So, what exactly is this type of automation and, more importantly, how can you use it to benefit your organization?
Wikipedia defines robotic automation as “the automation of industrial and clerical processes using robots”. RPA software in business typically refers to the latter. In the most basic of terms, RPA is an application software that works much the same way a human would. Human personnel can “train” (i.e. program) process robots to perform certain tasks or workflows just as they would train a new hire, only in much less time and at a much lower cost.
Robotic process automation provides a number of benefits to an organization, such as the following:
It saves time. Routine, repetitive tasks take a tremendous amount of valuable time away from your skilled personnel. By shifting these monotonous tasks over to a process robot, your employees can focus their time and efforts on more important business projects.
It’s cost effective. RPA software can work much faster than human workers, producing greater output in less time, which means lower operational costs for a better bottom line.
It helps optimize resources. Since one robot can handle the workload of several human employees, managing staffing needs is much easier and straightforward. As the workload and demand fluctuates, the RPA tool is flexible and agile enough to accommodate and scale, so there’s no need to worry about increasing or decreasing physical staff.
It eliminates the need to outsource. Over the past few decades, many organizations have turned to outsourcing as a way to save money and improve productivity. Robotic process automation can eliminate the need for this, allowing all work to stay securely in-house.
It creates competitive advantage. Automation can boost productivity, efficiency and service levels by such a wide margin – and without the need for a significant cost increase – that it can provide a distinct advantage of your competition.
Robotic process automation can be leveraged just about every industry, however, those businesses that have a particularly noteworthy volume of routine, repetitive and manual back office tasks and processes will benefit the most. This includes such companies in the telecommunications, banking, insurance and utilities industries. By harnessing the power of technology to do the heavy lifting for your business, you’ll most certainly open the doors to bigger and better opportunities.