RPA: The Best approach to Excellent Software
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The dawn of robots brings along the promises of a future with accurate and reliable processes. An Everest Group survey revealed the positive trend toward RPA adoption, given its capability of aligning business strategies with long-term goals. Having almost touched the $700 million mark in 2018, the RPA market is all set to cross $1 Billion this year. By limiting the transactional steps, robotic process automation is projected to offer an RoI between 30-200% in the first year of its adoption. This is triggered by the automation capabilities that intergate with tedious, repetitive activities to enhance productivity and speed to market.
RPA is a software that impersonates repetitive, mainly rule-based standard tasks, and performs them on its own without requiring any sort of human inteference. About 65% of the companies surveyed in a recent poll have either already automated their mundane tasks or are planning to do so. In addition to BFSI and business process outsourcing, robotic process automation services are primarily beneficial in optimizing clerical tasks, supply chain management, data entry and analytics, and customer service.
RPA may seem like a juicy fruit from a distance, but in order to truly savor it, meticulous planning is required. The potential of RPA is vast and propitious to businesses, only if leveraged appositely. As Bill Gates said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
In order to make sure that RPA adoption leads to the magnification of only efficiencies and diminution of inefficiencies, it is necessary to devise a strategy that concentrates equally on the adoption, implementation, and maintenance phases.
The nectar of the RPA fruit
RPA learns the interactive patterns between human and GUI, and then mimics those patterns to execute a given rule-based activity. Expected to reach almost $3.97 Billion by 2025, RPA is the hottest trend in the industry as all the players are trying to tap on its multitudinous benefits.
The elimination of human errors is the most significant advantage that RPA brings to any business process. RPA instills reliability into processes by eradicating the possibility of manual blunders. An automated robot can effectively perform the work of about three to five full-time employees and makes scalability of processes feasible. By taking over mechanical work and introducing personalization, RPA can be instrumental in driving customer satisfaction levels up the scale while reducing the overall costs for delivering quality. RPA is especially beneficial in automating repetitive processes such as periodic reporting, mass email generation, and ERP transactions.
The speed of automated processes significantly decreases the cycle time, thus improving the go-to-market time. When the production cycles are fulfilled quickly and at a much better output efficiency with the help of bots, the manual resources and businesses can focus on advancing their ability to yield higher value to their stakeholders and consumers.
The challenges in harvesting the RPA crop
Before proceeding with implementing RPA into the business processes, one thing should be kept in mind – do not automate everything. RPA is capable of doing everything that a human resource can, except for making judgements. Robots may control the mundane tasks, but they lack the decisiveness and judiciousness of human mind. Rendering critical processes to RPA’s discretion may result in expensive defects and inefficiencies.
To ensure that RPA implementation does not lead to the magnification of inefficiencies, there are a few challenges that businesses must overcome –
- What to automate: As it is not practical to automate everything, careful consideration is required to identify the processes that can be automated. Higher level processes cannot get completed without human intervention. Also, since RPA tools can automate standardized, rules-based processes, a lack of standardization proves to be a major roadblock.
- How to automate: Being a relatively new technology in the market, there is a scarcity of resources in the RPA talent pool and a lack of data to train AI for achieving the desired accuracy. Transparency, ethics, and security also become concerning.
- Organizational buy-in: RPA deployment needs paramount changes in the IT infrastructure. Performing such changes without causing disruption becomes difficult. An implementation of the scale of RPA necessitates involvement of the top leadership as well as IT.
Best practices to ensure a productive fruitage
Design, planning, and governance – these are the three key areas where an enterprise must center its focus for a successful RPA adoption. The best practices for RPA implementation include:
- Prepare for the change: First, analyse where your organization stands in terms of the current market state and identify the processes that need optimization. Determine whether these processes can be automated or not and find the automation technology best-suited for your organizaitonal needs. The processes should be with as few exceptions as possible.
- Roll out the ball, one inch at a time: Start slow. Do not roll out RPA for the entire process at one go. Choose a fragment of the process and see if automating is extracting the expected value. Then expand the scope step-by-step, ultimately automating the process from start to finish.
- Train the force: The gap in talent pool should be bridged by looping in external expertise. Establish relevant training programs to educate and encourage employees for a wider adoption and acceptance.
- Mask the data: The bots need data to accustom to the processes. You may leverage the existing data but make sure to mask it to avoid any potential threat or data breach. Lay down principles and ethical practices that should be followed to bring transparency into the automation-led activities.
- Be realistic: Having a realistic vision in terms of scalability and timelines is critical to achieve the full potential of RPA without creating business inadequacies. Establish an RPA center of excellence for continuous maintenance and governance.
Despite all the rage, RPA is still in a nascent stage. With further advancements in technologies such as Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence, RPA is expected to get smarter, driving higher productivity.
Cigniti provides both Rule-Based Process Automation (helpful in configuration processes) & Knowledge-based Process Automation (helpful in finding the trends in defects). Leverage Cigniti’s RPA software testing expertise for end-to-end automation & a rapid delivery of your business processing operations. Connect with us today.