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 and specific use cases by industry.
In this article, we will cover:
9 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.
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 robotic process automation increases overall employee morale but also leads to a greater level of value being added to the organization.
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.
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.
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. Robotic process automation 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.
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.
Benefits of RPA by Industry
RPA offers many benefits that can be realized throughout different industries. With the ability to increase productivity, reduce costs, and complete tasks with fewer errors, there are vast use-cases for companies of different sizes throughout all industries. The prime advantage of deploying RPA in your business is its capacity to free up more time for human employees to focus on higher-value, more enjoyable work while bots handle the boring stuff. The beauty of RPA is that bots can be designed and managed with specific business processes in mind and offers a means for a variety of organizations to gain a competitive advantage. Let’s examine how various industries can gain from what RPA has to offer.
Associations may not be first in mind when thinking of suitable candidates for RPA, as they usually consist of smaller staff sizes and generally do not have the technical resources of larger organizations. However, this is what makes associations prime candidates for RPA technology as it serves to streamline many back office and administrative tasks, allowing team members to focus on big picture tasks and fellow members.
Depending on the needs of the specific association, bots can be designed to oversee ordinarily time-consuming tasks such as processing or updating new member information into an internal system or utilizing chatbots to handle member inquiries. With the evolution of RPA and various service providers, there are more solutions being offered to automate a variety of tasks and processes that can save your association time and money.
Like other financial institutions, credit unions are great candidates for RPA. One of the biggest ways in which RPA can benefit credit unions is its ability to eliminate errors. Since credit unions have many manual tasks related to data entry such as entering or updating member information or resolving account disputes, human error is inevitable, and data can be inaccurately entered. These errors result in a decreased level of productivity and increased costs. Not only does the implementation of RPA aid in the elimination of errors, but it also lends itself to overall member satisfaction. In addition to the reduction of costs and time savings that in turn will be received by the members, RPA can be utilized as a customer service tool with continuous availability for member inquiries leading to quicker response times.
As noted above, financial services can benefit in multiple ways through RPA. Primarily, RPA leads to increased operational efficiency by removing the many manual tasks and transactions from human workers such as updating account information and reconciling transaction amounts for payments. RPA can also assist with another job specific to financial institutions, regulatory compliance. Since financial institutions are subject to legal and financial penalties if found noncompliant, this is a critical business process. RPA can be leveraged by collecting data needed for compliance reporting in a quicker amount of time than a human worker. This leads to a reduction in data errors and overall reducing the cost of the process.
Healthcare is also an industry that has many use cases for robotic process automation. The healthcare industry contains many time-consuming and repetitive tasks related to data entry, document digitization, and management of patient information and records. One of the biggest ways in which RPA benefits healthcare organizations is by allowing human workers to focus more of their time and attention on patient care and less time on mundane administrative tasks. This allows organizations to devote resources to more complex tasks and employees to utilize their skill sets more appropriately.
An example of this is the automation of an online referral system for home health services. This is the case for James River Home Health (JRHH), a company that was searching for a more efficient way to process referrals based on their own business logic. Implementing RPA allowed their intake team to shift their focus to more strategic tasks and provided a 24/7 robot worker that processed referrals more accurately and in a fraction of the time typically required. You can learn more about JRHH and their automation case study here. Interested in learning more about potential use-cases for your healthcare company? Be sure to check out our 5 RPA Use Cases in Healthcare eBook!
As with many other industries, the daily operations for an insurance agency include many repetitive tasks that occupy the time of their human employees. Some of these tasks may include data extraction, updating customer information, or migrating data from one system to another. Insurance agencies generally have a high level of data entry and validation, more specifically, claims processing. Human employees generally collect data from a variety of sources and documents and must then input data into different systems. This is where RPA can really benefit insurance agencies by stepping in and helping reduce the processing times for customer claims. RPA increases data accuracy by removing human error and bridges the gap between different insurance systems leading to a higher level of efficiency. Time consuming tasks such as copying and pasting data from different legacy systems can be tackled by robot employees, leaving human workers to focus on more strategic projects.
Logistics and transportation companies are prime candidates for RPA deployment. Their processes interact with a substantial amount of data when it comes to managing inventory, managing and updating shipping orders, and compiling vendor purchase orders. RPA specializes in data entry and validation, allowing for quicker and more accurate processing of orders. A suitable logistics workflow that could be automated is the after-sales customer interaction. RPA can notify customers regarding order status, update requests, and whether there is a delay in enhancing the customer experience.
Payroll automation is another great use case here. Our team built an automated system that removes 80% of manual labor, eliminates potential payroll errors, improves turnaround time, and streamlines reporting needs — while increasing employee satisfaction.
One of the core values of the retail industry is offering quality customer service. Here, RPA can step in to cover many back office tasks such as generating reports and invoices, automating payroll and scheduling processes, and updating employee information automatically. RPA can also assist retail companies in improving the overall customer experience. RPA can aid in a variety of ways to boost customer satisfaction, including supplying order updates in real time, processing order returns, and conducting chatbot support that allows online shoppers’ questions to be answered more quickly. This allows retail employees to focus more on customer interaction. Additionally, RPA offers support during periods of high sales volume when stores may find themselves understaffed.
Similar to the aforementioned industries, many day-to-day processes of the state government include repetitive, rules-based tasks. Two major components of state government’s business process include reporting and data migration. Since the public sector utilizes legacy systems that interface with other applications, RPA can be introduced to handle these data entry and migration tasks. Robotic process automation bots can be scheduled to execute at a certain time or trigger based on certain conditions, this allows for limited to no human interaction. RPA technology can also be deployed for use in customer service interactions. Additional benefits of robotic process automation are responding to citizen inquiries, updating user information, and even compiling customer satisfaction reports based on citizen reviews.
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.