36 Reasons Why Companies Are Implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
According to HfS, the global market for RPA Software and Services is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36% over the five years ending 2021.
With many companies and RPA vendors having announced huge RPA initiatives over the past year or so, it appears that RPA has finally arrived at the scene of mainstream adoption.
For the uninitiated, the following is a compilation of the reasons why companies are now eagerly implementing this exciting new technology:
1. Cost arbitrage. A digital or virtual worker costs anywhere between one-third the annual loaded wages of an offshore Full Time Equivalent (FTE) to one-ninth the annual loaded wages of an onshore FTE. For traditional companies that are manpower-intensive, the labour savings are enormous.
2. RPA is free. Some of the RPA software vendors are offering free RPA software, notably UiPath with their Community Edition and WorkFusion with their RPA Express. This helps to lower the total cost of ownership.
WorkFusion RPA Express
3. Return on Investment (ROI). According to Leslie Willcocks, the ROI varies between 30 and as much as 200 percent in the first year alone! Do be wary of the 3 Landmines You Need to Sidestep in Your Robotic Process Automation Journey and the 11 Myths about Robotic Process Automation though.
4. Increase throughput and capacity. Do you know that 1 minute of work for the software robot is equivalent to approximately 15 minutes of work for a person? In addition, the robots are working around the clock, giving organizations’ vital 24/7 processing capabilities.
Interesting Statistics on Robotic Process Automation
5. Reduce the cycle time. A robot can process a transaction in real-time and near-instantaneous, resulting in a drastic reduction in Average Handling Time (AHT).
6. Reduce time to market. RPA projects are usually quick to implement, taking a matter of days or weeks. This compares favourably with traditional systems integration projects which can take months or years to deploy.
7. A quick fix. RPA is often used as a Band-Aid to solve a pressing issue quickly and cost-effectively.
8. Reduce human errors. On average, an employee makes 10 errors out of every 100 steps. A robot can thus help to ensure that every transaction is done right – the first time, every time.
9. Taking the robot out of the human. Accordingly to a study, 22 percent of employees’ time are spent doing mundane, menial tasks. Enough said.
10. Improve employee satisfaction. By engaging them in work that challenges and stimulates them. Not mundane and menial tasks where they cannot make a difference.
11. Difficulty hiring and retaining employees. Many companies are facing manpower shortages due to a tightening labour market and/or high employee turnover. In addition, the expectations and aspirations of job seekers are fast evolving, resulting in a demand and supply mismatch. Providing employees with intellectually challenging work helps greatly with talent retention.
Views on Automation in the Workplace (Source: Ranstad)
12. Standardizing processes. As a consequence of implementing RPA, many companies took the opportunity to standardize and streamline their existing processes.
13. Redefine business workflows. From people following processes and supported by technology, to technology (i.e. robots) following processes designed by people. In the process, employees are being redeployed to higher value-creating jobs. For example, from an operator role to a supervisory role.
14. To deliver a great customer experience. In this age of instant gratifications, companies need to execute and deliver fast. If not, customers will readily switch to one who can do so. RPA is often a key pillar of many companies’ strategy to deliver great customer experience.
15. Improve customer service. This is especially true in the contact centre industry where companies need to deal with lots of customer enquiries. RPA can help to automate the routine tasks, freeing up the agents to handle the more complex queries. (For more on this, please see How to deliver a consistently great customer experience AND achieve employee engagement)
16. Facilitates self-service. Often times, RPA complements organizations’ customer self-service initiatives by facilitating straight through processing, for example, when bundled with e-Forms solutions.
17. No downtime. A robot works 24/7 with hardly any downtime – no 2 hours lunch break, gossiping at the pantry, long annual vacations and the like.
18. Scale up and down easily. The robotic operations can be flexibly scale up or down depending on the business cycle or seasonal factors. Unlike your traditional workforce, where companies are frequently subjected to stringent employment and labour laws.
19. To transform their business digitally. Simply applying “digital lipstick” will not cut it. Companies are looking to change their basic operating paradigm from being manpower-intensive to being technology-centric through RPA
Digital transformation or digital lipstick?
20. Be digitally ready. To transform the operations from analogue to digital.
21. Allows continuous improvements. The robots are constantly monitored and their performances tracked, generating a lot of process data which are then used to further improve their performance.
22. Do more with less. For high growth companies, RPA allows them to do more with less. That is, handling a greater volume of business transactions without an accompanying increase in overheads or fixed costs, including manpower costs.
23. Return hours back to the business. Automating the mundane, menial tasks returns hours back to the business, allowing them to focus on value-creating activities instead.
24. Use robots to perform swivel chair automation. Instead of using employees as the manual interface between the various IT applications that don’t ‘talk’ to each other, many companies are getting the robots to do this job instead.
Swivel Chair Automation
25. Integrate legacy IT applications. Many companies use RPA to automate and integrate business processes involving legacy IT applications. A common example are mainframes.
26. No IT involvement. RPA generally has a low barrier to entry, and many RPA projects have been initiated by the business units themselves, unlike traditional IT projects. This appeals greatly to organizations where their internal IT team has been construed as being slow, inflexible and expensive. (Read our caveat here: Who needs IT anyway?)
27. Ease of use. Most enterprise RPA tools comes with features like visual designer, drag-and-drop, point-and-click, desktop recorders and many more. This makes the software easy to use, even for non-IT users with limited or no programming knowledge. (Read our caveat here: RPA that is so easy, every employee can use it)
28. Non-intrusive. RPA does not require one to make any changes to the underlying applications or to the current workflow. The ability to automate an existing process “as-is” is very attractive to organizations weary of business process reengineering and the accompanying change management.
29. Technology-agnostic. RPA is technology-agnostic in the sense that it does not care which particular IT applications or systems one is using. As long as the User Interface (UI) is available, there is usually a method to interface with that applications. This is unlike traditional system integration which is dependent on the availability of Application Programming Interfaces (API).
Robotic Process Automation vs System Integration
30. Part of a strategy for Intelligent Automation (IA). RPA is often the first step in an organization’s journey towards IA. Many companies found great success first implementing RPA before turning their attention to Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (as opposed to trying to do all at once.)
31. Right shoring. For Shared Services and Global Business Services, it is no longer about offshoring, on-shoring or near shoring. Rather, companies are leveraging RPA to gain a real competitive advantage.
32. OneOffice. The Front, Middle and Back Offices are artefacts of the Analogue Age. In this Digital Age, what companies need is an integrated, responsive OneOffice. RPA is one of the technologies that underpins this OneOffice.
33. “Me Too” syndrome. Everyone is now talking about Robotic Process Automation, so companies cannot be seen to be behind the curve.
34. Ensure regulatory compliance. The penalties for non-compliance can be prohibitive, causing many organizations to turn to a robotic workforce. With software robots, you have the assurance that it does exactly what you told it to. And the ability to track and audit their actions is an added bonus.
35. Improving governance. When implemented correctly, RPA can vastly improve the overall governance of an organization. This is achieved by embedding the requirements into automation rules.
36. Reduce implementation risks. RPA projects commonly follow the Agile methodology with iterative sprints. This is unlike traditional system integration projects which tend to adopt the Waterfall methodology. Consequently, for RPA, the first day (in production) is the worst day. Whereas for SI, the first day is the best day.
This article tries to shed some light into why many companies have implemented or are considering implementing Robotic Process Automation.
Invariably, the ability to run their business operations in a cheaper, faster and better manner is a key factor in their decision.
Cheaper, Faster, Better (CFB) Bots
Equally important though is the mind-set change. Many of these trailblazers are eager to embrace new technologies to disrupt themselves before their competitors do so to them.
Are there any other reasons why your company is implementing Robotic Process Automation? Do share in the comments below.
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