Robotic process automation (RPA) is a quickly evolving technology that allows software robots (bots) to be built and managed to emulate human actions. RPA is an ideal technology for mundane and repetitive processes generally completed by human workers. As with other technologies, robotic process automation is not suited for all scenarios – including processes that change consistently, volatile system environments, and processes that require multiple manual (or non-digital) actions. However, there are many business processes for which organizations can utilize automation and realize the benefits of RPA. Let’s dig into the benefits of robotic process automation.
Below we will outline some of the many benefits of RPA and how they can add value to your organization.
- Increased Productivity
- Focus on Higher-Value Work
- Improved Lead Time
- Process Optimization
- Increased Quality of Work
- Greater Efficiency
- Improved Service Availability
- Customer Experience
- Improved Business Agility
One of the major benefits of RPA is its ability to allow human workers to spend less time on lower-level, tiresome tasks that expend time and energy and instead focus on higher-level tasks that utilize their skill sets. These humdrum tasks can act as a bottleneck for productivity and make workers feel they cannot accomplish much during the workday. RPA remedies this by deploying bots to handle these lower-level tasks, which results in more work being completed in the same timeframe, if not faster, and overall increased productivity.
A prime example of one of these tasks would be a human worker responsible for migrating data from a webpage to a spreadsheet. Rather than copying and pasting data directly into cells painstakingly, a bot can scrape the desired data and input it into a formatted spreadsheet. Another example may be an employee tasked with monitoring incoming emails containing PDFs that need data extracted, which a bot can process faster. With the introduction of RPA, these employees can devote time to more fulfilling assignments such as customer interactions.
Focus on Higher-Value Work
As mentioned above, RPA gives organizations the means for their employees to focus on more gratifying, higher-value work. When RPA is implemented, the high-volume workload of lower-level tasks is eliminated, and human workers can devote more time to complex assignments and strategic decision-making. This benefit of RPA increases overall employee morale but also leads to a greater level of value being added to the organization.
Improved Lead Time
One of the main goals of RPA is to improve the overall performance of business processes. One major contributor to an efficient process is the time it takes from the start to completion, also known as lead time. When RPA is introduced to an existing process, bots can complete tasks and sub-processes much faster than human workers. In addition to processing individual tasks quicker, there is more flexibility for specific tasks that may need to be completed outside of regular business hours. Since bots never take personal days or go on vacation, process lead times can be more accurately forecasted. This additional manpower (or bot power) can help significantly improve lead times.
If one RPA benefit epitomizes its ability to add value to organizations, it is optimizing business processes. Numerous factors contribute to successful (and unsuccessful) business processes. When leveraging RPA technology, the overall consistency of workflows is significantly increased, and human errors are forgone. Business processes become simplified due to RPA implementation, and less time is spent correcting issues within the process.
Increased Quality of Work
Even with highly skilled workers, human error is inevitable at some point within organizations. Human workers can likely get fatigued while completing repetitive tasks, especially those that are uninteresting and unrewarding. RPA bots are designed with business rules in mind and are tested to ensure tasks are being processed without error and at a quicker rate. This takes those time-consuming tasks off employees’ plates and allows them to allocate their skillset to more demanding and rewarding work. Human workers can spend more time broadening their skill sets and increasing the quality of their work at a higher level.
Another major benefit of RPA is its ability to increase process efficiency. Certain tasks and processes may be susceptible to errors and varying consistency, which leads to allocating more time and resources to rectifying these issues that otherwise could be processed by bots. When these issues are eliminated from the process, not only are these additional resources able to focus their attention on other projects, but the process is executed faster. After identifying specific processes for automation throughout the discovery phase, RPA can also aid in recognizing certain tasks or subprocesses that can be eliminated, resulting in a more efficient process.
Improved Service Availability
As mentioned above, bots will never be submitting PTO requests. Digital workers can be developed to process tasks after hours and increase overall service hours. These bots can be “triggered” to run processes and tasks usually slated for after-hours work. This improved service availability also lends itself to the customer experience. If certain tasks can be processed outside of regular business hours and issues are resolved quicker, overall client satisfaction is increased.
Customer experience is paramount for organizations and typically requires significant time from human workers. RPA can benefit the overall customer experience in multiple ways. With RPA, processes and tasks are completed quicker with fewer setbacks and downtime. This equates to less time devoted to resolving process issues and administrative tasks and instead allows human employees to focus on the customer experience at a high level. With assistance from RPA, organizations can attain increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Improved Business Agility
For businesses to succeed and maintain profitability, business agility is critical. Business agility, by definition, is an organization’s ability to adapt to changes in the market in productive ways. With the deployment of digital workers, business processes are improved, and lead times are optimized, leading to higher productivity. Since lead times are reduced and efficiency is increased, organizations can also lessen the time to enter new products into the market.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of RPA
Although there are numerous benefits to deploying robotic process automation within an organization, the key is identifying the best processes to automate and carefully planning and designing RPA solutions. Like many business decisions, return on investment (ROI) must be considered when exploring RPA. Calculating the ROI for implementing robotic process automation can be more complex than simply crunching numbers, as there are both tangible and intangible benefits associated. If you are interested in realizing the potential benefits of deploying RPA within your organization but are unsure how to quantify ROI, check out this blog highlighting how you can quantify the ROI of RPA. This post highlights everything you need to know and provides you with additional details on how to use our RPA ROI Calculator to calculate the ROI of your process!
Now you know the benefits of RPA, what’s next? There are many RPA tools in the market; how do you know which tool is right for you? Doing a product evaluation allows you to identify which tool is right for your business based on needs, use cases, industry, budget, etc.