Despite the increasing digitalization, manual processes still dominate in office work. Administrative workers manually enter information from Excel spreadsheets and, for security reasons, store the data in multiple locations. That is, there are plenty of opportunities to optimize processes and improve work efficiency.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) offers a realistic alternative to managing processing processes in a short time. Thanks to the algorithms, robots discover errors in processes and take action on their own. They analyze the input data, assign it to the appropriate processes, and identify the relevant content. RPA can be used precisely and reliably where mass-occurring, unstructured data needs to be processed according to predefined rules.
Further development is the integration of artificial intelligence into processes. These calculations are capable of performing millions of calculations simultaneously, continuously evaluating the data, and participating in solving emerging problems. This technology will bring shorter response times and more satisfied customers.
There is already a city in Europe where software robots have triggered live human work in an important administrative situation - in the performance of personal customer relationship tasks. According to the contributing UiPath Robots, in a project implemented at a municipality, time was reduced by an average of 79 percent for the 6,500 social administration processes involved. The time savings in the labor market department were 95 percent, with an additional 50 percent increase in the number of local citizens participating in active labor market initiatives.
Moreover, as a secondary effect following the rapid improvement in the operational efficiency of the social specialty, 12 percent more citizens in the settlement began to study than in the previous year. And it has already caught the attention of local decision-makers that 22 percent fewer people turned to the city for financial help.
A European HR provider processed 2,500 sick leave certificates per month, with an average treatment time of four minutes. Within three weeks, an RPA solution was implemented and 90% automation was achieved. The RPA robot extracts data from SAP transactions, inserts the information into the customer's system, and prints it. Within six months, the HR service provider brought a return on investment, reducing the error rate to 0%, manual effort to 5%, and processing time by 80%.
A global retailer has verified the closing information for each record in hundreds of stores based on store closure reports. The store employees used a manual and slow procedure to collect the reports. By automating the process, it has become possible for employees to focus on more customer-centric activities. RPA robots now place the final reports on a server and then read and summarize the information needed for the final business report.
A commercial credit insurance company has automated the credit line application process with more than 50,000 customers worldwide. Insurers have previously manually collected information between internal (risks and policies) and external (client-side, Google News) sources. With RPA, 2440 hours of human labor were saved per month. Employees now use this time to work directly with customers.
The focus of increasing the efficiency of production companies so far has been on production and processes that directly support production. Efforts to reduce the cost of administrative processes have typically been exhausted in outsourcing (e.g. payroll), making the process not necessarily more efficient. Enterprise mobility software development of the reserves inherent in the background processes is becoming more and more important, as the operation of these processes can account for 5-25 percent of the costs of manufacturing companies, and can be serious factors in the success of or the accuracy of the recorded data.
In fact, you need a system that business users can “program” themselves, automate any of their processes/activities with it, and quickly introduce new developments in a matter of days. All this so that the company's processes remain standards and the system also meets IT requirements. But how can business users - who aren’t IT-many - be taught to program? The answer is simple: no way. It is not the users who need to change, but the software used that they need to be smart enough to learn what the user wants to automate.
And if the process of artificial intelligence is increasingly integrated into RPA solutions or systems containing RPA, it will significantly increase the functionality and efficiency of the enterprise mobility solutions. Thus, several cognitive abilities can be integrated, e.g. natural language processing, machine learning, and speech recognition. And by combining AI and RPA, fully automated processes can be created.
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Everest Group’s latest research sought answers to which RPA solutions companies value best. Similarly, how businesses have evaluated the various features, so what features to look for when choosing an RPA solution, and how these solutions can help serve business needs.
RPA vendors should consider developing and deploying robots faster. There are ways to add value, such as using methods for industry-specific or function-based processes or providing libraries extended with robotic components. Partners can continually add to manufacturers’ technical knowledge to improve libraries. Using AI to facilitate coding or code-free robot development could be a great future option for the most advanced RPA vendors.
It is clear that businesses need to work with RPA providers to have an ongoing dialogue with them through user groups and advisory bodies to ensure that users’ needs, such as simplicity of coding or scaling, are clearly understood and that manufacturers can continuously improve their services. Manufacturers are already trying to do these things, but an ongoing dialogue could provide them with a much wider range of information about what developments businesses would most appreciate.
By 2021, Forrester estimates that there will be more than 4 million robots performing office and administrative work as well as sales and related tasks. If development continues at this pace, it can be assumed that in a short time, both RPA and later AI will become a commonly used tool in modern corporate governance systems. It is time to act. The faster companies take advantage of these opportunities, the faster they will create a competitive advantage for them in business.