While everyone is worried that robots are coming to steal their jobs, this isn’t exactly accurate. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is simply the foundation for equipping humans with the tools necessary to shift from mundane to meaningful work.
The pressure is on… for companies to provide employees with all the tools they need to succeed in the digital age; as well as the technologies necessary to establish creative company cultures based on flexible working conditions while expediting individual career growth. This isn’t something companies can afford to ignore. The technologies that a business chooses to provide will influence the way its people are engaged and organisations that need to attract and retain new talent will need to think carefully about their digital communications tools and business technology choices.
Unless organisations are thinking about empowering employees by creating the ideal digital workplace, transformation efforts can only fail. That’s because employees are essentially customers inside the business. Unfortunately, most organisations are too focused on the external customer experience to pay much attention to transforming the internal customer experience, which ultimately leads to the deterioration of both because unhappy, unproductive employees are understandably no good at customer service.
What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
RPA is software acting as hands, feet and eyes (not the brain) and never taking coffee breaks. Essentially a robot coded into software is used to run applications and perform functions in the same way that a human would work with that same software. By utilising the user interface to capture data and manipulate applications, RPA robots interpret, trigger responses and communicate with other systems in order to execute a multitude of repetitive, (usually) mind-numbingly boring tasks. As a robot never sleeps and is programmed not to make mistakes, it can easily outperform humans and costs significantly less than an employee. The worry that human jobs will be replaced by robots is a very real concern, albeit a misdirected one.
- RPA aims to replace repetitive, time-consuming tasks performed by humans with a virtual workforce.
- Humans then have the capacity to make judgmental calls, handle exceptions and provide oversight.
Okay, but what is the point of Robotic Process Automation?
If they’re spending their days doing manual, repetitive tasks, like office filing, PO and invoice generation, supplier on-boarding, data capturing (and the list goes on), there is no time for people to be creative. Creativity leads to innovation, and that’s where opportunity lies in this digital era.
When people are no longer performing such mundane (often paper-based) work, they have the time and capacity to spend on what matters: helping other people and creating solutions that help other employees, customers and partners.
Continuous auditing, zero-touch employee on-boarding, rapid legal document reviews, automated financial reporting and ongoing sales pipeline updates and similar necessary business operations are all possible with RPA.
Simply put: RPA is necessary in order to take over the running of the business, so that the humans can focus on growing the business.
Although RPA is one of the latest buzzwords in the digital universe, ERP systems, integration middleware, BPM (business process management) platforms and workflow tools have all been prior initiatives to automate business processes. A key difference is that some RPA platforms enable rapid automation of processes compared to other process automation tools e.g. drag and drop flowchart creation, the capability to utilise UI level integration as well as APIs, and number of pre-built integratable modules.
Introducing systems with the goal of increasing efficiency and accuracy whilst not exceeding budget, has always been the mission of IT departments, During all of the previous attempts, the fear of the unknown has been a stumbling block and thus, Change Management plays a key role in nurturing acceptance of these platforms.
Jumpstart digital transformation with an automation-first mindset
Digital transformation, although a critical necessity, is harder than most organisations initially thought. Bringing people, processes and technology together is a daunting task. Furthermore, IT complexity and performance challenges are causing strain on digital transformation initiatives. For businesses that need to accelerate this transformation process, RPA is the ideal jet fuel, providing real and immediate change outcomes.
- Accelerate Mode 1 and Mode 2 synchronisation as RPA is non – invasive and works on existing IT infrastructure;
- Change the way employees spend their time, reduce or eliminate back office effort;
- Gain complete visibility into business operations from end to end;
- Eliminate workflow delays and the remove the potential for human error;
- Improve service in the front office by enabling people with the tools to succeed in customer service.
Which processes are relevant to RPA?
Those processes above are the most frequently automated, however, any high-volume, business-rules-driven, repeatable process qualifies for automation.
In short, the route to digital maturity is significantly quicker with RPA as the vehicle driving change. The quicker that organisations jump on board with this to make the most of the potential presented by a robotic workforce, the sooner they’ll be able to establish their competitive edge. Robotic process automation delivers tangible profitability while boosting accuracy across organisations and industries.
Considerations for building today’s digital workforces:
- The digital workforce blueprint must be squared with business and digital transformation objectives, The purpose of which should be to boost employee productivity and their ability to do their jobs – i.e: it must make it easier for employees to engage with the business and clients.
- The digital workforce must deliver the same or exceed the experience that people expect in the outside world – in other words, employees require a seamless, connected interface through which to interact with the business, that delivers automated self service and intelligent workflows.
- We’ve moved beyond ‘Bring Your Own Device’ to ‘Bring Your Own Productivity’, as people want to be enabled to use whatever tools are best to succeed.
- Change requires proactive management along with proper training – giving people all the tools they need to succeed, is meaningless if they have no idea how to wield them.
The digital workspace defines the future of the business
Due to its imperative nature, creating a digital workspace requires detailed planning and extensive oversight. Get it right, and the business will benefit from increased employee engagement and productivity levels, as teams and individuals work together more effectively, to optimise time and resources. Get it wrong, and the organisation risks losing their employees, customers, and finally their business.
Fortunately, organisations don’t have to venture out into the wilderness of Robotics Process Automation alone. Cornastone, a leading ICT solutions provider and systems integrator has joined forces with Gartner Magic Quadrant leaders in enterprise RPA, UiPath, on a critical mission to prove that human work should be creative and inspiring. To see how we can create an ideal digital workspace for your people and fuel innovation for your company, please get in touch.
This article was published in collaboration with UiPath experts – human experts, not robot experts! 🙂