Embracing the strategic imperative of robotic process automation
Adopting the right set of tools is a major consideration for the success of RPA projects, believes NIIT Technologies’ Raghav Kumaria
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With enterprise IT landscape growing more complex each passing day, business success increasingly depends on streamlining operations to enhance efficiency and facilitate faster decision-making. One of the smartest ways to address this is Robotics Process Automation (RPA)—the disruptive technology that is making waves for all the right reasons. RPA or intelligent automation simply shifts the burden of repetitive, rule based tasks in an enterprise onto bots that are programmed for the said purpose - the Digital Workforce. In the process, valuable human resources are freed for higher cognitive and strategic tasks.
RPA automates operations (often high-volume, low-complexity routines such as data entry, data processing, or standard operating procedures etc.) by employing intelligent algorithms to capture and interpret the workflow within existing IT applications. In mimicking human actions on the computer, bots can capture data, interact with existing applications to process the data, trigger responses, and interact with other digital systems across the business to generate outcomes, and even maintain audit logs and send acknowledgement emails. The early adopters among enterprises that have deployed RPA have realized remarkable benefits such as reduced human supervision, early warning against system failure, improved overall efficiency, and faster scalability.
RPA is here to stay
The robotic process automation market is estimated to be worth $2,467 million by 2022, at a CAGR of 30.14% between 2017 and 2022. The chief driver of this surge in demand is the ease of deploying robotic process automation with traditional business processes or legacy systems as the technology is non-intrusive.
Over the last three decades, enterprises across the world baselined their operations through painstaking trial and error—getting their workforce strategy right, trying out every permutation and combination of onsite, offshore, part-time, permanent, and contingent resources. In contrast, RPA has the potential to drive rule-based and logical tasks and in the process free up skilled resources for more strategic work.
As RPA tools can be 60 to 70% less expensive than full-time employees (FTEs), the disruption seems very imminent.
Improving business with bots
RPA technology is helping transform business operations in enterprises—and doing it fast.
The technology is easy to understand, quickly to deploy and shows swift returns. While an IT project could extend over months, and require years to show returns on the investment made, an RPA implementation lasts a few weeks, and can deliver ROI in a matter of months.
The disruptive technology also promises to deliver benefits such as enhanced accuracy, compliance, cost-savings and scalability.
Some of the key benefits that businesses can expect from RPA include:
- Improved business performance metrics
- Quick deployment and cost-savings of up to 40%-70%
- 24X7 operations and faster turnaround time
- Significantly improved accuracy and compliance
- Access to detailed audit logs for advanced analytics
- Faster scalability at less cost
The challenge for enterprise architects is to identify the best use cases for robotic automation. RPA can be effectively used by teams and individuals who:
- Undertake structured, repeatable computer-based tasks
- Take complex decisions based on algorithms or defined logic and decision trees
- Access more than one system to complete the process
- Use workflow to enable interaction with people and among other digital tools
Industries like travel and transportation, banking and financial services, insurance, and media stand to gain immensely from an RPA implementation. RPA can also be used across horizontals like finance and accounting, human resources, etc.
RPA and banking & financial services: a perfect match
A McKinsey report suggests that half of the time spent by the finance and insurance workforce is devoted to collecting and processing data. The IT landscape within the BFSI industry is often a complex inter-system enabling the exchange of information, decision-making, and consolidation of transactional data. RPA can easily monitor these interfaces and ensure seamless exchange and interaction among the sub-systems.
Financial organizations can further leverage RPA for fraud detection, accrual support, multiple data entry and data movement, mortgage approval, account reconciliation, report generation across systems, e-form extraction, credit note accounting entry, and credit card processing. RPA can also help with data-validation, compliance, balance sheet reconciliation and collating reports from across multiple systems.
Finding strategic tools
Many enterprises, keen on embracing automation, may still find RPA implementation a challenging task. Adopting the right set of tools and a system integrator experienced on those tools is a major consideration for the success of RPA projects.
NIIT Technologies offers TESSSM, an end-to-end RPA engagement framework, which addresses all the aspects around Transformation, Enablement, Standardization, and Scale for an enterprise to embark on its own holistic RPA journey. This framework is a combination of processes, methodologies, tools, and experienced domain-centric experts packaged as a service, enabling clients to reap the full benefits of a Center of Excellence (CoE). NIIT Technologies’ BFSI clients have achieved almost 70% reduction in time spent on transactions, while also reducing manual effort spent on various low complexity tasks.