Forward-thinking, global organizations operating in the most challenging era of our time are increasingly using connected robotic process automation (RPA), to help them stay ahead of the competition.
Connected RPA is enabling organizations to liberate the combined creativity of their operations people — those who really understand their business — working in tandem with automated, digital workers. Together, they access and exploit leading edge cloud, AI, cognitive and other capabilities to invent, innovate and swiftly develop new and disruptive offerings.
With any transformational, fast-evolving, relatively new technology like connected RPA comes hype and confusion. I will highlight what factors are currently fueling this technology’s adoption in the real-world and what results are actually being achieved.
Key results from connected-RPA
Organizations are increasingly using connected RPA to address the following challenges:
- Greater operational agility and flexibility by accelerating processing times and throughput, all while increasing capacity to manage spikes of high transaction volumes.
- Efficiency savings and increased productivity by returning hours back to the business, which will then be repurposed on higher value initiatives.
- Improved quality by cutting manual intervention of detailed, repetitive processes and delivering error free results.
- Improved customer service by removing pain points, streamlining interactions and increasing response times.
- Happy, motivated staff by enabling them to work on more intellectually challenging, fulfilling and value-generating work.
- Process improvement through visibility of process data analytics can be used to generate business insights to create further operational enhancements.
Organizations that operate in industries with strict regulatory or compliance requirements or possess significant manual-driven processes are also using connected RPA to improve risk reduction.
5 connected RPA use cases
Organizations are not just using connected RPA as a catalyst for organizations to enhance business operations, but also to reinvent themselves. This makes the organizations more competitive within their markets. Here are examples of connected RPA in action:
- A connected-RPA operating model spans an organization’s automation journey, from identification of an opportunity to implementation and managing the digital workforce. This model combines the governance and expertise of a center of excellence with the production, consistency and quality efficiencies of a factory model. It’s designed to provide a single point of contact for internal clients, with scalable, predictable quality outcomes at speed. The organization’s wider geographies are supported with a hybrid centralized and federated delivery model designed to address local nuances. The connected RPA deployment scales up with hundreds of digital workers, delivering over a million hours of extra productivity that are returned across multiple lines of business.
- An end-to-end payables process is automated from invoice ingestion to payment. This delivers full-time equivalent savings and generates thousands of additional hours per year. The payable outstanding process time and supplier query response time are cut. By automating the ingestion and creation of customer work visit orders, a combination of connected RPA and AI saves hundreds of hours of service desk agents’ time.
- A company wants to increase overall efficiency while improving customer response times and reducing errors. A smart automation program is employed with strategy and governance underpinned by a center of excellence. The automation program’s focus is on finance and operations, where the company automates many processes ranging from low complexity to very high within months. Processes that are highly technical are deliberately selected to showcase connected RPA’s capabilities to the wider business, with high full-time equivalent savings initially experienced. Other processes, such as correcting errors in order entry, see a major decrease in processing time compared to a human worker.
- Connected RPA is used to automate processes that include supporting the production of an organization’s clinical study reports, which reduces human intervention and saves thousands of hours annually. Automations have been developed globally across various areas of the business. Connected RPA is applied to key processes that include Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance, product labelling updates and reconciling shipment documentation. This results in tens of thousands of employee hours being transitioned to digital labor with automations executed with a near 100% success rate. Employee productivity is significantly improved too.
- Connected RPA is applied across a company’s customer service, finance, human resources, information technology services and other operations. These automations save hundreds of thousands of business hours on an annualized basis. Using connected RPA with advanced machine learning tools creates an innovative fraud detection and prevention application. This results in optimal detection of potential fraud cases for subsequent handling by human investigators. The combined solution is expected to result in multi-million dollar savings each year in lost revenue due to the substantial cost — value that couldn’t have been captured solely by humans.
The good news is that any fears of workplace automation causing job losses are misplaced. The reality is that organizations embracing connected RPA are retaining and upskilling staff, and they’re happier now because they’re being allowed to refocus on more value added tasks. Moving forward, organizations that employ connected RPA with AI and cognitive technologies are seeing this as providing a true foundation for collaborative technology innovation. They can finally deliver digital transformation across their businesses.
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