Should I be concerned about these Robots?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been around for some time. It is increasingly being considered as organisations drive for efficiency within ‘expert’ functions, and as an alternative to outsourcing. Quotes that RPA will replace 30-40% of white collar jobs over a 10-20 year timeframe have to be set in the context of continuing efficiency, however RPA is a reality in many organisations.
The bottom line on RPA
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been around for some time, but is increasingly being considered as organisations drive for efficiency within more ‘expert’ functions, and as an alternative to outsourcing. The benefits are driven by
- Scalability – as a ‘train the trainer’ approach can be rolled out from one software robot to another
- Productivity – as robots work faster, and 24 hours a day
- Accuracy – with a reduction in errors
- Compliance – from greater accuracy but also in terms of retaining data and processes onsite
Quotes that RPA will replace 30-40% of white collar jobs over a 10-20 year timeframe have to be set in the context of continuos improvement, but RPA is a reality in many organisations.
Examples of the use of Robotics are well documented, including
- Customer facing areas, including direct customer communication in utilities
- Back Office customer / operational functions such as insurance claims validation or customer risk assessment
- Back office Finance such as handling invoice processing / exceptions
- Back office HR which occur in the hub and are rule based including linking all of the employee onboarding processes together in terms of access, pay and reward, and pension
Characteristics of a ‘Robot’ in our definition includes
- Conducting repetitive tasks by simulating a ‘virtual person’ on all of the existing applications and interfaces
- Following a process, moving in and out of the various systems like a normal user, observing security controls and restrictive access rights
- Deployment on a larger scale from a single robot to a number of robots in what is similar to a train the trainer approach
How can I move forward with this new world?
Our approach to considering RPA is based on
- Generally working with process and lean teams within an organisation who are considering RPA as a tool for efficiency and effectiveness
- Using a set of criteria to identify the processes for RPA
- Running Proof of Concept workshops across a 1-3 month timeframe to trial those areas and develop a business case based on real processes
- Implementing a single robot initially in a short timeframe and then rolling it out in a controlled way across the full scope of the project
- Using our impact and readiness tools to understand the people impacts and the activities which need to happen in the businesses in order the make RPA a reality
Article written by: Paul Taplin