Thinking of Increasing Staff? Robotic Process Automation is a Better Option

Thinking of Increasing Staff? Robotic Process Automation is a Better OptionThere’s been a somewhat surprising trend recently amongst big-name corporations who have listed an increase in staffing numbers as a priority for 2016 and beyond. If you are among these companies, it’s important to note that you may be wasting your time and your money by bringing on more personnel. In fact, with the right strategy, not only can you avoid the increased expenditure associated with hiring, but you might actually be able to reduce overall expenses across the board. What’s the secret? It’s robotic process automation, and here’s how it can help.

Do More with Less

RPA is a particularly attractive option for businesses that are struggling with tight budgetary restraints because it is both cost effective and incredibly powerful. When you allow robotics to handle most or all of the mundane, repetitive yet necessary tasks that were once the burden of your human employees, the speed of output is increased exponentially. Not only do you not have to hire more people when the workload increases, but realistically you could meet these demands with fewer employees at the helm.

Eliminate Outsourcing

Another tool many organizations have been leveraging for the past several decades is outsourcing. Previously, this was a relatively good way to cut the expenses associated with in-house staff. The benefits of this option, however, do not necessarily come cheap. In exchange for what the company saves in money it must sacrifice flexibility and control. There is also the very real risk of cyber security when operations are not performed in-house. Robotic process automation is like having an entire offshore team right in your office. You still save money while regaining control, visibility and security.

Achieve Agility and Scalability

In today’s changing workplace, the ability to adapt with the ebbs and flows of the digital world is absolutely critical to an organization’s success. But this type of agility typically comes at a hefty price. Well, at least it used to. Now, thanks to robotic process automation technology, companies of every size and in any industry have the ability to scale up or down to meet the changing needs of the customer. More importantly, it does not require any changes to one’s current staffing situation.

Maintain Competitive Advantage

Finally, RPA has made it possible for even the smallest of firms to establish themselves as legitimate players amidst a pool of larger enterprises by maximizing output, improving service levels and optimizing efficiency. Now, it’s no longer necessary to have a staff of thousands at the ready in order to compete for business opportunities. Technology has opened the door to virtually limitless growth and sustained profitability in even the most tumultuous of times.

As you examine your business goals for the coming year, one area you may want to reconsider is the need to hire additional personnel. By leveraging the power of robotic process automation, you can accomplish all of your organizational objectives without the need for additional staff, saving time and money and increasing your company’s market presence at the same time.

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Robotic Process Automation for Small Business

We often talk about the role of robotic process automation at the enterprise level, but the truth is, this advanced technology can be just as highly effective when leveraged by smaller operations. If you own a small business and could benefit from increased efficiency, maximum productivity and monetary savings, RPA might be just the solution you’re looking for. Here’s why.

Robotic Process Automation for Small Business

When it comes to running a small business, the ultimate goal is to keep operations as lean as possible. Fewer employees means more sharing of the workload, which can be cumbersome and counteractive to productivity. When robotic process automation is leveraged, many tasks that are mundane and repetitive but necessary to the success of the business can be transitioned over from human workers to automation.

In a natural progression of events, when a small business is able to shift a good deal of tasks over to technology, not only is the work completed at a faster rate, but human error is removed from the equation. These things alone can produce a significant amount of savings – something all small businesses are chasing after. Furthermore, when robotic process automation is used even on a smaller scale, the human intelligence of your employees can be focused on more important things.

Another key area that RPA can benefit small businesses is in its scalability. Operating on a lean budget with limited staff can make it next to impossible to handle changes such as market fluctuations on the fly. A significant and sudden increase in demand from a customer can put a huge strain on existing personnel and might result in the loss of business when hiring additional temporary help isn’t feasible. With robotic process automation, the business can scale up or down at the click of a button.

From an external standpoint, the increased efficiency and productivity RPA affords can dramatically improve service levels. Customers will know that they can count on your company to deliver on demand and exceed their expectations. This provides a significant competitive advantage over other similar businesses in your field, demonstrating that you can serve your customers better, faster and more accurately. RPA can even help smaller operations compete with bigger organizations, something previously unattainable.

What would your small business do if it had access to an entire team of grunt workers who were ready to jump in and produce at a moment’s notice? With robotic process automation, this isn’t just a fantasy – it’s completely achievable and at a fraction of the cost associated with hiring human workers. In fact, RPA is the ideal tool to help you optimize your resources for the ongoing success of your business.

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Working Smarter with Robotic Process Automation

Work smarter with robotic process automationWhen people hear the term robots, they usually envision humanoid creatures that are programmed to look, act and work like us. In reality, at least in terms of robotic process automation, while the “working like us” part might be on target, this technology doesn’t even closely resemble its human counterparts. In fact, it’s really just a series of intelligent programs, workflows and applications that run behind the scenes to help businesses maximize productivity and efficiency. Essentially, RPA is something that is designed to help businesses and people work smarter.

Robotic process automation is most often leveraged as a tool to replace the need for humans to perform routine, repetitive manual tasks. Beyond this, however, RPA can be optimized to use analytics and best practices to continuously optimize work and improve business outcomes. Imagine what your organization could do if all the simple but necessary daily tasks were shifted from humans workers to robots. Now imagine how you could scale up or down instantly based on workflow demands, without the expense or hassle of adjusting personnel numbers.

Regardless of where you stand on the concept of RPA, it is widely acknowledged by experts across every industry to be a central component of the future of work. Business leaders and decision makers view robotic process automation as highly beneficial due to its ability to maximize output while also minimizing costs. On the other side of the coin, however, many front-line workers are resistant to RPA as they view artificial intelligence as a threat to their future and livelihood.

The biggest question that plagues businesses still remains whether or not RPA will eliminate the need for human workers altogether. There is no easy or straightforward answer to this question. In reality, some jobs will inevitably be eliminated. In fact, there are certain industries, such as banking, in which AI has already had a significant impact on staffing levels. The fact is, job elimination is not the goal of RPA. Rather than replace humans, this technology should be viewed as a tool for augmenting them.

The goal of robotic process automation is to create a better user experience at every level. From an employment standpoint, it’s about leaving the grunt work for the computer to handle and leveraging artificial intelligence to analyze and use data for improving operations. Increased internal efficiency leads to cost savings and ultimately a higher level of employee satisfaction. Externally, tools like self-service automation, proactive problem solving and faster resolution will dramatically improve customer engagement and happiness.

For now and well into the foreseeable future, at least, RPA should not be seen as a threat, but rather something that will free up intelligent and experienced workers to be able to apply their creativity and problem-solving skilled to more important issues that cannot be handled by technology alone. Beyond this, the increased adoption of automation will also open up new roles that did not exist 10 or even 5 years ago. So while some jobs will become obsolete, other opportunities will replace them.

In today’s highly-competitive world, organizations of every shape, size and industry are battling to stay ahead of the curve and remain profitable. Robotic process automation provides the solution, allowing businesses and their employees to work smarter, thereby improving their chances of achieving continued success well into the future.

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Overcoming the Myths About Robotic Process Automation

Overcoming the Myths and Misconceptions about Robotic Process AutomationRobotic process automation is certainly not a new concept. Yet, for whatever reason, it’s still surprisingly misunderstood. In fact, many highly educated individuals fail to understand just what RPA is and, more importantly, the many benefits it can potentially have for their organizations. If you’re new to the term or you’d just like to learn a little bit more about it, here’s what you need to know.

Robots are not humanoid.

Perhaps the biggest misconception surrounding robotics process automation is that it involves actual robots, like the famed movie character from the 70’s, C-3P0. This misunderstanding has a lot to do with the theory that RPA is meant to eliminate humans from the workforce. In reality, this type of robotics is merely software that can perform manual processes and workflows without the need for human input.

RPA is not here to make humans obsolete.

Another common mistruth about RPA which is driven primarily out of fear is that the technology behind this process is meant to create a human-free workplace. While automation certainly does change the way people work, it won’t necessarily replace them, at least not on every level. Actually, as manual tasks are shifted to RPA, new opportunities will emerge. It’s really all just a matter of perspective and maintaining an open mind.

Robotics can allow you to do what you previously could not.

One of the greatest areas of benefit RPA provides is in the ability to essentially do more with less. Keeping up with increasing demands and staying within a strict budget are challenges that many IT leaders must deal with on a daily basis. As needs increase, the ability for existing staff to handle the demands becomes less feasible. Furthermore, significant fluctuations in workflow can be an incredible burden to bear. Robotic process automation allows complete, real-time scalability to handle any situation.

RPA can be leveraged in almost any industry.

Finally, let’s address the misconception that robotic process automation is reserved only for certain fields. For instance, many mistakenly believe that RPA is really only useful for those in financial related organizations. While this technology has certainly made quite an impact in this area, it’s something that can effectively be leveraged in virtually any industry. All it takes is the vision and desire to streamline operations and making the conscious choice to overcome the many myths to see RPA for the powerful and positive tool it truly is.

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IT Process Automation Survival Guide

4 Industries that are Killing it With Robotic Process Automation

4 Industries that are Killing it With Robotic Process AutomationRobotic process automation is a technology that can realistically be leveraged in just about any organization and in virtually any industry. Generally speaking, RPA is most suited for automating business processes which involve a particularly high volume of manual, repetitive tasks, which makes it ideal in the areas of clerical, rules-based and/or screen-based jobs – something most businesses are familiar with to some degree.

To date, however, there have been 4 industries in particular that are already reaping the many benefits of RPA to keep them competitive and relevant in a rapidly changing IT world. Let’s take a look at each of these industries below.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) – In the outsourcing market, the key to success lies in keeping costs as low as possible while also delivering the fastest, most effective service available. With human workers, there are limits to this which simply cannot be overcome. With robotic process automation, on the other hand, output can be maximized at a fraction of the cost, creating competitive advantage in a highly-saturated field.

Insurance – When you think about all the work that goes on behind the scenes in the insurance industry, from managing policies to filing and processing claims to underwriting and the countless other administrative tasks that are a necessary evil, it’s no surprise how well robotic process automation fits within this field. RPA enables insurance providers to manage all the necessary tasks across multiple platforms with ease. It also provides the scalability necessary to deal with the many changes and challenges those in this industry face on a regular basis.

Health Care – The administrative side of health care involves mountains of paperwork, tremendous file and data management and a whole host of other routine, repetitive tasks that used to be handled manually. Enter robotic process automation. This technology has revolutionized an already forward-thinking industry by streamlining the backend of things to maximize efficiency levels, reduce errors and keep costs controllable.

Financial Services – One of the commonalities all financial service providers share is that of dealing with a ton of data and transactions. Take, for example, the banking industry. From simple processes like deposits and transfers, to complex workflows, robotic process automation has effectively transformed this transaction-laden industry into one that is fast, effective and reliable. This has helped to improve customer service levels on top of making the lives of those who work behind the scenes much easier and more efficient.

Of course, these are just four of the countless other industries that are breaking new ground through robotic process automation.

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What’s Holding You Back from Adopting Robotic Process Automation?

What’s Holding You Back from Adopting Robotic Process Automation?A 2012 report from HfS Research contained some pretty incredible facts surrounding robotic process automation, specifically in terms of leveraging RPA as a more cost-effective alternative to outsourcing. In fact, the executive summary read as follows: “While an onshore FTE costing $80k can be replaced by an offshore FTE for $30k, a robot… can perform the same function for $15k or less.”

What company in the world wouldn’t jump on a chance to save that kind of money? Yet, despite these incredibly impressive numbers, there are still a surprising number of organizations that simply have not yet jumped on the bandwagon. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at two of the biggest hurdles.

It’s not a priority at an executive level.

Another, more recent study conducted by HfS revealed that amongst executives in both North America and Europe, very few in either group listed robotic process automation as something critically important to invest in – only a mere 11% in North America and 7% in Europe. A larger number, 78% of European executives, did view RPA as somewhat important, but for 45% of C-suite execs in North America, RPA wasn’t even identified as something worth investing in. In other words, the decision makers are still not fully on-board.

Outsourcing is still winning out.

Regardless of the fact that extensive research has proven that robotic process automation is a much wiser investment than outsourcing and off-shoring, the latter is still the preferred option of the majority of enterprises. It is believed that the reason behind this is largely due to habit. It’s what these organizations know and are comfortable with. There is always a perceived risk when something new and unfamiliar is explored.

How can these objectives be overcome once and for all?

There’s no magical solution to attaining more widespread adoption of robotic process automation, but there are certain things that can be done to improve the chances and speed the process. Ultimately, it may come down to additional proof, that is, a number of substantiated, high-profile cases in which RPA adoption resulted in greater benefits than other available options.

For instance, as executive-level professionals begin to see how RPA negates the need to seek out cost-effective labor (i.e. outsourcing) and eliminates the problems associated with things like sick time and seasonal fluctuations. Robotic process automation provides organizations the scalability and control to adjust to any situation. Best of all, it’s cheaper than other options, so it truly is a win-win.

As case studies and other reports continue to roll out substantiating these facts, RPA will become more attractive and adoption will begin to spread more significantly across the globe.

Of course, if you’re reading this article, you already recognize, to some degree, how powerful, effective and affordable RPA can be.

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How Robotic Process Automation is Helping Humans and Organizations Work Smarter

How Robotic Process Automation is Helping Humans and Organizations Work SmarterThe debate over whether robotic process automation is detrimental to the livelihood of the human worker continues to rage on. Some people remain convinced that more widespread adoption of this type of automation technology will inevitably lead to the demise of many jobs. In reality, people shouldn’t be fearful or resistant to RPA because contrary to popular belief, this technology is not meant to replace them, but instead help them (and their organizations) to work smarter instead of harder.

How much time does your company or IT team waste on routine, repetitive tasks? For every manual process, there are costs associated, both financially and from a productivity standpoint. If you’re paying top dollar for a highly skilled IT professional and that worker is spending half of his or her day working on mindless tasks like password resets and system restarts, you’re wasting your money, plain and simple. Beyond this, the valuable skills these individuals have to offer aren’t being utilized.

Robotic process automation isn’t supposed to leave all of these hard working professionals jobless. To the contrary, leveraging RPA to shift these mundane daily tasks to technology won’t necessarily replace the people sitting in the cubicles. It will, instead, free them up to focus on more complex tasks that do require human input and intelligence. Hence, the “working smarter” concept. This also gives the organization as a whole more bang for their buck.

RPA also provides unprecedented opportunity to scale on-demand, something that has daunted those in the IT industry for decades. Having to bring in additional staff when things scale up is neither easy nor is it financially wise. It’s especially challenging in situations which require immediate response. It’s highly unlikely that a business would have an entire contingent workforce at the ready the moment they’re needed. Likewise, scaling down when demands decrease is equally challenging.

Robotic process automation, on the other hand, is like having an army of skilled professionals at your command. This team can be activated at the flip of a switch to handle whatever volume and demands exist. Furthermore, your human workers are not burdened by the increased workload. When the necessary tasks are completed, the “robots” can then be sent back into the shadows where they’ll rest until the need for them rises again. No hiring or firing. No stress. Just results. And everyone is happy.

The key to changing the mindset about RPA lies in demonstrating how these benefits specifically apply to your employees. When people no longer fear being displaced by technology, and instead begin to view it as a tool that will make their jobs easier, minds will begin to be changed across the board. Even in situations where certain roles may be eliminated, other opportunities and alternatives will begin to emerge.

The fact is, there will always be a need for human intelligence in the workplace. The areas and degrees to which that need will exist remains to be seen. One thing seems certain, however. Robotic process automation is not going away any time soon. In fact, its capabilities and uses are only going to increase over the next ten to twenty years. Only those individuals and organizations that recognize and embrace the benefits of RPA will emerge as successful in the long run.

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IT Process Automation Survival Guide

How Robotic Process Automation is a Game Changer for Outsourcing Fees

How Robotic Process Automation is a Game Changer for Outsourcing FeesWe’ve all heard the rumblings: how robotic process automation (or RPA for short) is going to eliminate human jobs. How someday in the not-so-distant-future robots will become the quintessential “heartbeat” (ironically) of the future workplace. And while experts agree that RPA will most certainly change the way work is done, most also agree that humans are here to stay. One area that RPA is having a particularly huge impact on, however, is outsourcing. Here’s how.

The first and most significant way that robotic process automation is revolutionizing the way outsourcing providers conduct business is in terms of efficiency. Businesses of every shape, size and industry have been leveraging external resources to handle their IT services for decades now, and the playing field is extremely competitive. Aside from price, the one key differentiator is service level. Those providers who are able to deliver the best support at the most attractive price win out.

To achieve this goal, outsource providers need the ability to perform at the highest capacity levels while also minimizing cost. Robotic process automationo helps accomplish this by allowing technology to do the heavy lifting. Not nly does work get done faster, but it’s also much more accurate. As a result, external service providers are able to offer their clients maximum productivity at a remarkably affordable rate that is not only better than handling IT in-house, but also more competitive on the outsourcing realm.

Of course, along with the enhanced performance comes a significant change in fee structure. Because robotic process automation is making the jobs of outsourced professionals easier and more efficient, the savings these providers are realizing will inevitably begin being passed on to their customers in the way of lower fees. And not just as a one-time adjustment, either. Thanks to the promise of even better RPA technology in the near future, many outsourcing firms have already begun offering new service agreements that extend multiple years and guarantee continual decreases at future intervals.

New customers will likely reap the greatest benefits of RPA efficiency, at least in terms of lower fees. This is because existing clientele are typically more dependent on their outsourcing partners, which can be used as leverage to keep fees at a higher level for renewal contracts versus brand new ones. Disengaging and starting over again with a new provider solely on the basis of cost is often not a feasible option. That said, there should still be a significant reduction in future contract pricing if negotiated properly.
Without questions, robotic process automation is a game changer, particularly for the outsourcing industry. With increased efficiency levels, satisfaction will continue to rise even as operating costs continue to decrease, inevitably changing the landscape for both sides of the equation.

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Tips for Managing Your Robotic Process Automation Control Room

Robotic Process Automation RPARobotic process automation is revolutionizing the way business operations are run in just about every aspect. The concept is simple, yet profound and highly effective. RPA utilizes software to automatically execute a broad spectrum of tasks, typically those in IT which are routine, repetitive and a waste of time, money and resources when handled manually. Within RPA is a functionality known as a control room, which allows human workers to oversee the work being completed. To follow are a few helpful tips for successfully managing your robotic process automation control room.

First, we’ll begin with session management. This is the function that allows a user visibility into which resources (robots or virtual machines) are currently available. Those that are free can then be allocated to run a specified automated process. The session management portion of the control room provides insight into basic information, such as the task being completed and the time it’s taken. Successful session management will involve analysis of logs for each resource and ongoing monitoring to ensure that all processes are being completed without issue.

Next, the robotic process automation control room will also feature a work queue. This is used to identify, list and prioritize pending tasks that are waiting to be picked up and completed by a robot or virtual machine. Once completed, the results should then be recorded and stored. For best results, the controller should routinely extract all items processed over a specified time period, determine how many have been completed successfully and identify any exceptions.

Exceptions that are identified should then be further broken down into the categories of system exceptions (i.e. unintentional system failures) and business exceptions (i.e. events that the business may prefer not to have worked). As a result of this process, the data gathered can provide valuable insight into how the automated solution is performing and which areas, if any, could be enhanced for better results. All of this can (and should) lead to improvements to operational areas throughout the business.

Finally, there is the topic of scheduling. Once the robotic process automation solution is fully operational and running at peak performance, the control room can be leveraged to schedule the processes that can be carried out without the need for human intervention. Here is where additional processes, such as administrative tasks, can be scheduled and carried out.

Gaining a deeper understanding of the functionality of the RPA control room will help IT leadership determine what level of skills are required to oversee it. Ideally, those in charge of managing an RPA control room are analytical, highly organized and have the keen ability to plan the use of each resource to maximize efficiency. While a high level of technical knowledge isn’t necessary, a basic awareness is required. Having the right person in charge will further enhance the benefits RPA brings to the business.

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How Robotic Process Automation is Revolutionizing the Managed Service Providers (MSP) Industry

How Robotic Process Automation is Revolutionizing the Managed Service Providers (MSP) IndustryToday’s managed service providers are being expected to meet increasingly complex client needs and maximize efficiency while also keeping costs down. In the age of digital data, this is no easy feat. In fact, staying competitive these days is something that most businesses are struggling with as the world evolves rapidly around them. Robotic process automation (RPA) is proving to be the ideal tool for helping service providers in every industry achieve the competitive edge needed to realize ongoing success.

For those who are unfamiliar, robotic process automation is an advanced technology that allows computer software to take on the routine, repetitive tasks that were once handled by human workers. This software, or “robot,” is capable of capturing data from existing systems and applications and then using that data to process transactions, trigger various responses and effectively communicate with other tools and systems.

RPA has been making the news of late, mostly in general terms. Many noteworthy news outlets have been hailing the capabilities of this technology for use in traditional office roles. While there are still some who view robotic process automation as a threat, most people are recognizing that it’s more of a tool to make the lives of human workers easier, not to necessarily replace them altogether. Yes, some jobs will be eliminated, but that should make way for newer, better opportunities for people.

One key area that RPA is starting (and will continue) to shine is in the service provider industry. Given the saturated market in this highly competitive field, finding a leg up is challenging. Prices can only be lowered so much before profits take a hit and hiring additional staff to keep up with increasing demands just doesn’t make fiscal sense. Robotic process automation provides the ideal solution.

Automation enables service providers to keep staff levels lean while still producing optimum output at maximum efficiency levels. Essentially, it allows businesses to do more with less. Furthermore, highly skilled employees are able to put their expertise to better use focusing on more critical business matters, since menial day to day and even complex processes are being shifted to automation.

Another important component of the service industry is the ability to maintain exceptional quality of work to keep customers happy. When robots are introduced, productivity can increase exponentially without the worry of quality taking a hit. Human errors are also eliminated, which can actually increase the quality of service being performed. Finally, RPA provides the ability to scale up and down in an instant, based on business need.

As the business world continues to evolve, the demands placed on service providers will only continue to rise and become more stringent. Robotic process automation is the answer to not only handling those pressures, but exceeding expectations again and again.

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