Getting a Leg Up on the Competition with Robotic Process Automation

Getting a Leg Up on the Competition with Robotic Process AutomationIn today’s increasingly competitive world, businesses simply must find a way to remain a step ahead of others within their industry. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is by employing robotic process automation (RPA). Here are just a few of the reasons why, as well as some best practices for overcoming obstacles and achieving widespread adoption.

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation

What is it about robotic process automation that can drive the ongoing success and future growth of a business? Well, for one thing, it helps maximize productivity. When all cylinders are firing, the output of the business is at its highest level. This naturally leads to improved customer experience, both internally and externally. The greater your service levels, the better your company will fare against the competition. It’s sort of like a snowball effect. One or two minor benefits lead to several much more impactful ones.

Common Roadblocks to Robotic Process Automation

Of course, a business cannot achieve the above benefits unless and until they’ve successfully deployed robotic software. The problem is, there are still a number of common objections that can make this task challenging. The following roadblocks must be addressed and overcome in order to move forward in a positive direction.

Lack of Operational Knowledge – It would seem straightforward that IT management would recognize certain workflows and processes that can and should be turned over to robotic process automation, however, it’s not always that simple. The truth is many in leadership roles do not fully understand the day to day tasks their workers are responsible for; therefore they fail to see the urgent need for automation.

Poor Publicity – Let’s face it, robotics have gotten a bad rap in the media. Many people still view automation as a threat to human jobs and therefore are resistant to its adoption. When key decision makers are among those with such an opinion, obtaining buy-in can be an uphill battle.

False Idea of Complexity – Sure RPA is complex. In fact, the right tool should be robust and sophisticated enough to handle a wide range of tasks and workflows. At the same time, for the actual end-user, it’s not nearly as complicated as it may seem. Getting the powers-that-be to understand this can be challenging.

Overcoming These Hurdles

While each organization may experience these challenges to differing degrees, one thing remains constant. Those businesses who have successfully implemented robotic process automation have done so by applying certain best practices, which can and should be duplicated by other companies facing similar obstacles. Here are a few key areas on which to focus when attempting to obtain faster adoption of RPA:

Response to Budgetary Woes – Businesses in every industry are under increasing pressure to “do more with less”. RPA can help achieve this goal, saving money while simultaneously improving efficiency, boosting productivity and streamlining operations. Demonstrate this to those in charge and you’re sure to garner some attention.

Addressing Urgent Pain Points – What areas are truly causing costly headaches and bottlenecks within the organization? Can RPA be applied to these areas to achieve a different (better) outcome? Identifying the most impactful and urgent pain points and positioning automation as a solution can help gain better traction.

A Champion of the Cause – Having at least one influential leader on board with the concept of adopting robotic process automation can significantly improve the chances of success. If need be, apply the two best practices above to gain buy-in from one or more key individuals and you’ll soon have an army of backers pushing forward for your cause.

These days, making it in any industry requires the strategic ability to stay one step ahead of the competition. Without question, robotic process automation is one of the most effective tools for achieving this lofty goal. By knowing what the common objections to RPA are and having a clear-cut plan in place to effectively address and eliminate these obstacles ahead of time, you’re sure to position your organization for optimum success.

Ready to get started? Check out these 10 daily tasks that can easily be automated to save you time and then download your free trial to begin leveraging the power of RPA for your business.

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How Robotic Process Automation Reduces Business and IT Costs

Why Automation is a Must-Have for IT Operations TeamsIn order to stay ahead of the competition and realize continued success, regardless of industry, businesses are under increased pressure to continue to find ways to reduce costs as much as possible. Robotic process automation provides the ideal solution while also improving productivity and efficiency, which can ultimately lead to higher profits over time. Here’s how.

First, let’s consider the actual concept behind robotic process automation, sometimes called RPA for short. This is essentially the term given to technology which involves the use of software to perform certain business processes and functions, typically in the IT realm. The more sophisticated the RPA platform, the more high-volume workflows it can perform, thereby making it all the more impactful to both the IT department as well as the business as a whole.

Robotic process automation is poised to make a significant and lasting impact on the business world, particularly because it will reduce the need to outsource work. While outsourcing was once considered the most effective way to manage costs while still producing a high-level output, RPA will make this practice all but obsolete soon enough. That’s because it’s even more practical. Rather than having to pay outside workers, all tasks can be moved back in-house and handled electronically. Subsequently, this reduces errors and enhances security. It also allows for better scalability.

In terms of actual savings, robotic process automation has been proven to cut business process costs by anywhere from 25% to 40% on average. In the IT field, RPA can bring about a savings of as much as 40-55%. That’s because the efficiency and productivity of three software robots can take the place of one full-time employee. Eventually, as more decision makers begin to recognize the benefit of and embrace RPA, this 3:1 ratio will continue to improve, as will the benefits and cost savings.

The ultimate adoption and growth of robotic process automation will require a more wide-spread shift in mindset amongst key decision makers. Rather than viewing business growth in terms of full-time human workers, the view will need to change to growth by transactions and customer experiences. For some organizations that have already made this evolution, the sky is the limit. One major commercial bank that began using automation for the 5,000 databases it supports realized a 60% cost savings within just 6 months.

As we move forward, it’s becoming more and more evident that RPA will have a significant and permanent impact on the way businesses are run. Your organization can remain ahead of the curve and positioned for future savings and success by embracing automation sooner rather than later. To get started, check out these 10 things you can and should be automating and then download your free trial to get the ball rolling.

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Is Removing Humans from IT Using Robotic Process Automation Really a Possibility?

robotIn previous articles, we’ve talked a lot about the fact that automation isn’t something that humans should fear, but rather something that they should embrace. That it is something that will not replace humans, but rather make their jobs easier and more efficient. But is there really a possibility that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will one day completely replace people in IT? And if so, is this an opportunity to embrace or something to fight against? Let’s consider it for a moment.

In one respect, allowing Robotic Process Automation to handle tasks that humans were previously in charge of is actually a huge opportunity for business, and for many reasons. First, it can drastically reduce the risk of costly errors. People inherently make mistakes – especially when their jobs involve repetitive manual tasks. One simple error can cause huge ripple effects across the entire organization and even result in lost revenue. Shifting to Robotic Process Automation for these tasks can eliminate this danger.

Replacing human work with automation can also help to improve efficiency. For example, IT Process Automation can take away the need for manual script writing and replace it with complex automated workflows that perform the required tasks faster than any human worker could. Additionally, self-service options eliminate the need for IT personnel to step in and perform routine tasks, such as password resets and system restarts.

So, does this mean that humans are slowly being eliminated from the workforce? Will automated machines – essentially robots – replace people as we move into the next generation of business? Well, yes and no. The fact is, Robotic Process Automation does present a huge opportunity for companies to save money, improve efficiency and output, reduce errors and much more.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re headed toward a nameless, faceless workplace that is filled with computers rather than people. Why? Because, in most cases the tasks that are being automated were meant to be automated. Back when corporations hired people to slave tirelessly, doing the same thing, day in and day out, where no thinking was necessary, there was no alternative. Now, with Robotic Process Automation, there is.

So yes, automation will replace many functions that were previously managed by humans – the functions for which computers and software are better suited. What this means for people is not that they will become a relic of the past, but rather that they will be freed up to focus on more important matters – matters for which human input is necessary.

While Robotic Process Automation will most certainly become a key component of ongoing success, the fact is, businesses will always need human collaboration, communication and innovation and these things cannot be replicated by computer programs and technology. For that reason, we foresee a future where IT Process Automation complements and supports human endeavors, but does not replace them. And from where we stand, that future looks bright for everyone.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

Meet Your Busiest Employee – The IT Process Automation Robot

Meet Your Busiest Employee - The IT Process Automation RobotImagine: you’re in an important company meeting and your boss announces who has been the busiest, most productive employee over the past month. Now, imagine if he completes that statement not with the name of y
ou or any of your co-workers, but instead uses the term IT Process Automation (ITPA). In other words, a robot. Can a robot really take the place as employee of the month? The answer is, yes. Here’s why.

It’s no secret that the IT department is continually being asked to do more with less. That is, be as productive and efficient as possible while limiting the number of resources it uses. So, IT professionals have to find a way to maximize output while also minimizing the time and costs associated with producing that output. With humans, this isn’t possible without either extending the hours worked or hiring additional staff, neither of which will achieve the goal of keeping expenditures down.

Another area of pressure IT professionals experience is that of customer satisfaction, both internally and externally. Service levels and other demands are increasing at a rapid rate, and if you can’t meet those demands effectively, you will lose your competitive advantage. In other words, your bottom line will suffer. Yet again, in order for human workers to achieve these goals is to either work more or hire additional team members.

Enter IT Process Automation, or the robot who can basically take on all the time consuming day to day tasks that the help desk currently handles. Whether it’s password resets, system monitoring, incident management or some other complex workflow, IT Process Automation can be leveraged for it all. As a result, the work will be completed faster, with fewer mistakes, driving productivity and efficiency up while also bringing costs down.

Many IT professionals erroneously view this so-called robot as a threat to their very livelihood. After all, if a machine can be used to do all these tasks, what’s the point of keeping humans on staff? Why not automate the entire operation? Well, for starters, many automated processes still require some type of human input. Secondly, while IT Process Automation may take some of the work away from humans, it will inevitably free those humans up to apply their skills to more complex and important business matters. So, it’s not a replacement, but rather a shift in responsibility. As such, it should be embraced rather than feared.

So, when the big boss stands up and hails IT Process Automation as the company’s busiest employee, that doesn’t necessarily mean bad news for the people who work there. As long as automation is leveraged properly and viewed as the powerful and innovative tool it truly is, its role as employee of the month (or decade) is something that will drive the ongoing success of the company and make the jobs of human workers much easier.

You can make IT Process Automation your star employee!

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5 Business Processes that are Ideal for Robotic Process Automation

5 Business Processes that are Ideal for Robotic Process AutomationWhile the concept of robotics is gathering speed and capturing the attention of more and more executives across multiple industries, there is still a huge barrier to overcome before it can become fully embraced. Many decision makers still feel that human capital is more valuable than automation, and in many cases, they’re correct. There are, however, a number of processes that not only could but should be handled by robotic process automation (RPA). Here are five such processes, in no particular order.

Processes that already do not require much human intervention. Think about the tasks that are performed, not just in IT, but across your organization on a day to day basis. Those repetitive tasks that do not necessarily require a ton of input from your human workers, such as payroll batching and other accounting functions, are ideal for RPA. Of course, even processes that are decision-heavy can benefit from introducing automation into various steps along the workflow.

Processes that tend to be more prone to human error. Whether you like it or not, people make mistakes. Even those employees who are well trained and possess years of experience can commit an error from time to time, and errors can cause major problems for your business. Look for processes that require a lot of repetitive work, which can often cause the human attention span to waiver. Let RPA handle these tasks and you’ll automatically see a reduction in costly mistakes.

Processes that require multiple systems to work in sync. One of the biggest benefits of Robotic Process Automation is its ability to tie together several systems and work with them, either simultaneously or in various intervals. Rather than have your personnel juggling multiple programs to get simple tasks done, let RPA do it for you and free up your staff to focus on those tasks that do require human input.

Processes that have clear-cut rules. Robots are able to follow well-defined rules, so any workflows that present specific, “If A, then B” rules would be perfect for RPA. IT Process Automation can be capable of handling more complex and less straightforward rules, provided you have a robust, quality product in place.

Processes that require limited exceptions. The purpose of Robotic Process Automation is to reduce the need for human interaction with processes. It’s not intended to increase or even maintain them. For that reason, transactions that would require the program to report on multiple errors and exceptions might not be the best fit for robotic process automation at this time. That is, unless you’ve invested in a more sophisticated product.

Of course, these are merely meant to be used as a general guideline, not set-in-stone rules. You know your business best, and may determine that certain tasks or workflows would still benefit from RPA based on your particular needs. Additionally, as technology continues to improve, so will the capabilities of IT Process Automation, which will further benefit businesses around the world.

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) vs. IT Process automation (ITPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) vs. IT Process automation (ITPA)Often times when the word “robot” is used, people naturally envision a humanoid figure made of metal and other mechanical components. That’s why it’s easy to understand the inaccurate conclusion that many have drawn about robotic process automation essentially taking the place of human workers. Fortunately, the concept of robotic process automation does not involve manufactured people sitting at desks and working. To the contrary, it’s really just a software product that can interface and interact with applications on behalf of human workers.

Robotic process automation ultimately meant to make jobs easier for people, not replace them completely. Sounds an awful lot like  IT Process automation, right? So, what’s the difference? Let’s take a look.

First, let’s take a more in-depth approach to what RPA is and how it works. RPA gets its name from the “robot” technology that drives it. This technology can be programmed to perform routine, repetitive tasks that were once handled by humans. Let’s say an office worker spends 2-3 hours per day performing manual labor, such as data entry or batching. RPA could be programmed to handle these tasks without the need for human input. Instead of a robot replacing that human worker, it would be more like a robot assisting them. Those extra hours could then be used on other, more important tasks.

While both RPA and ITPA operate under similar concepts, the difference typically lies in how each is used as well as their complexity. Presently, robotic process automation is primarily being used more extensively at an end-user level. For instance, office workers that may not be well-versed in programming and other complex IT tasks can leverage RPA for many of their day to day tasks. This can significantly boost their productivity by allowing them to focus on more critical job functions that cannot be automated.

ITPA is based on the same concept; however, it tends to be leveraged primarily for more complex workflows. For instance, IT Process automation might automate incident management in a way that handles incoming alerts, analyzes, verifies and prioritizes them, notifies the appropriate parties and then, upon the desired action being taken, completes the workflow and closes the ticket. This is a much more complicated process and is usually overseen by experienced IT professionals. Of course, this is just one of many complex scenarios that automation can be used for in the IT department.

Essentially, it can be said that RPA is automation for the end-user while ITPA is more behind-the-scenes automation. Both are designed to improve efficiency, boost productivity and cut costs, but the way they are ultimately used is slightly different. Additionally, both IT Process automation and robotic process automation can be integrated with existing legacy systems to further enhance operations, either on a basic or more sophisticated level.

Which solution is right for you? There’s no simple answer to that question. It would ultimately require a thorough needs analysis to determine what features would be required. From there, you can begin narrowing down your options until you determine the right product for your needs.

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What Is Robotic Process Automation and What Does it Mean for Your Business?

What Is Robotic Process Automation and What Does it Mean for Your Business?The term “robot” often conjures up visions of famous mechanical creatures, like R2D2 and C3PO, but the concept of robotics in terms of the business world is vastly different. Robotic process automation is something that 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 Robotic process automation and how can it benefit your organization?

Wikipedia defines robotic automation as “the automation of industrial and clerical processes using robots”. Robotic process automation using software typically refers to the latter. In basic terms, it is the type of automation in which a computer uses application software in the same way a human would. Human personnel can train process robots to do a certain task or workflow just as they would train a new hire, but in much less time.

Robotic process automation can offer a number of benefits to an organization, as follows:

It saves time. Highly repetitive tasks take a tremendous amount of valuable time away from your staff. By shifting these monotonous tasks over to a process robot, your employees can focus their time and efforts on more important business matters.

It’s cost effective. A process robot can work faster than a human worker, producing more output in less time, which means lower costs and higher revenue.

It helps manage workflow and staffing. Since one robot can do the work of several human employees, managing staffing needs is much easier to handle. As workload changes, the IT automation tool can be flexible to accommodate, so there’s no need to worry about increasing or decreasing physical staff.

It eliminates the need to outsource. Over the past few decades, more and more organizations began turning to outsourcing as a way to save money and improve productivity. Process robots can eliminate the need for this, allowing all work to stay securely in-house.

It provides competitive advantage. Robotic Process Automation can boost productivity levels and output by such a wide margin – and without the need for a significant cost increase, it can often provide a distinct advantage of your competition.

There is room for robotic process automation in just about every industry, but 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 fields as telecommunications, banking, insurance and utilities.

By leveraging the power of technology to do the heavy lifting for your business, you’ll most certainly open the doors to bigger and better opportunities.

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