Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology enjoying a renaissance across all industries changing the way businesses function and providing substantial savings to operational costs. RPA technology has been shown to improve the efficiency of process completion across a bevy of business departments at a low cost.
With RPA technology, humans can conduct more impactful and meaningful work while RPA handles the previously time-consuming tasks. Though RPA implementation can be affected by the complexity of a task, this technology solution is easily coupled with other technologies such as machine learning and speech recognition. This coupling enhances RPA and incorporates a cognitive technology solution, intelligent process automation (IPA), that is more malleable to changing situations and business environments.
This article will explore opportunities for RPA implementation, types of RPA configurations, and Robotic Process Automation examples throughout different industries.
Characteristics of High-opportunity RPA Scenarios
At Nitco, we recognize the capability of RPA solutions to improve businesses across all industries. Our team can identify and categorize opportunities for RPA and AI use cases by using our planned implementation methodology. By analyzing processes based on attributes such as complexity, urgency, and effort/time, we classify processes in a simple manner with four categories:
Low Hanging Fruits
Low Hanging Fruits are considered processes which are low in effort (complexity) and low in impact. That is, the effort required to integrate RPA to assist in the specific process is low as is the impact that integration will have on the organization.
Long-term Improvements are processes which are high in effort (complexity) and lower impact. These projects should be viewed as improvements to tackle later as they will be burdensome due to their complexity. They will also prove more costly and less impactful which can drive internal support for RPA implementation down.
Must-Do Improvements are processes that are high in effort (complexity) and high in impact. These processes should be prioritized higher as they will provide the most benefit from RPA implementation.
Quick Wins are processes which are low in effort and high in impact leading them to be the highest prioritized processes for RPA. These quick wins will provide great benefit to the organization and are comparably simpler than most other processes.
To determine a good process candidate for RPA we look for attributes such as complexity and impact/value to the company. Identifying these quick wins offers quicker benefits from investment and demonstrates the value RPA can provide to the numerous business departments across an organization.
When evaluating the complexity of a process for automation, ideal candidates for automation usually include characteristics such as:
Process Is Manual & Repetitive - The same process steps for all cases or transactions. Rule-based - Human users do not rely on experience or judgment to process cases or transactions but use predefined business rules and logic. Standard Input - The content of the input is fixed and in the same location for all cases or transactions. Consistent - Process will not change within the next 3-6 months.
Types of RPA Projects
Robotic Process Automation use cases are found throughout different industries and can be adapted to provide value in various environments. The processes that RPA can be applied to with great success vary from customer management processes and payroll processing to compliance checking and employee onboarding/offboarding.
Because of the variation in type of data and the manner of execution of processes, RPA robots come in two variations to tackle the differing needs. The determination of the type of robot needed is based on the business needs and the environment for which the solution will be developed. Different scenarios call for different solutions.
1. Unattended RPA
Unattended robots work on separate virtual workstations with no human interaction. Back office tasks with highly rule-based activities are ideal processes for an unattended RPA solution. In these RPA scenarios, the unattended robot is capable of remote execution, monitoring, scheduling, and providing support for work queues. Unattended robots are favored in situations that involve large amounts of data that must be gathered, sorted, analyzed, and distributed to various members in an organization.
2. Attended RPA
RPA scenarios that call for attended RPA robots usually rely on data that needs to be validated by humans, are tasks that cannot be scheduled, and directly assist humans in their tasks. The attended robot performs some tasks and the human will intervene when needed. In these RPA examples, attended robots work on the same workstation as a human and work in tandem with humans to complete a process.
3. Attended and Unattended - Hybrid RPA
Hybrid RPA combines the power of RPA robots and human employees in one environment. By having both, virtual robots and human employees, hybrid RPA scenarios can operate efficiently by deploying each actor when they are most efficient. This combines the efficiency and scalability benefits of an RPA robot with the flexibility and creativity benefits of a human actor.
Examples of Common RPA Use Cases
Explore some of the most common RPA use case examples below.
- Supply chain RPA
- Healthcare RPA
- Accounting & Finance RPA
- Customer Service RPA
- HR RPA
- IT RPA
Supply Chain RPA
Within supply chain management in various industries, organizations put large amounts of effort into understanding consumer markets and meeting changing demands. Combining robotic process automation and artificial intelligence technologies can speed up business processes and improve the accuracy of information such as consumer market projections. This helps suppliers meet demands by accessing the necessary data for human employees.
Use cases within supply chain management range from inventory management and product quality checking, to logistics administration and customer service. Taking inventory management into consideration, RPA solutions provide a quick and simplified process for retail businesses to prepare item stocks based on consumer estimations. By implementing automation solutions, the bot can provide suggestions for purchase orders in the specified business period speeding up the process substantially and improving the efficiency of resource use.
Supply Chain RPA Use Cases
- Sales forecasting and projections
- Catalog management
- Purchase order management and shipping tracking
- Document gathering and data management
- RMA and receipt validation
The healthcare industry has great potential to increase patient services and improve efficiency in back-office tasks through implementing RPA. Technology advances have improved the healthcare industry over decades and RPA offers another opportunity to drastically improve business processes and patient care.
The benefits of robotic process automation can introduce a new level of efficiency in business processes such as data processing, health interoperability, and cloud computing while improving patient care through RPA and AI solutions like conversational AI and natural language processing. With most healthcare leaders identifying automation as a priority for their businesses, any healthcare organization is able to improve their operational efficiency with the benefits of robotic process automation.
Healthcare RPA Use Cases
- Pharmacy order and supply management
- Patient access management
- Patient enrollment, billing, and claims
- Document triage
- Data management and business analytics
Accounting & Finance RPA
In the accounting and finance industry, challenges such as regulatory compliance and risk mitigation are of great importance. Relying on enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and legacy applications is being replaced in this new digital era with more efficient technologies like RPA. RPA plays a crucial in transforming many business operations by reducing costs, improving risk management, and offering Chief Financial Officers and their teams the ability to focus on higher value activities such as advisory roles.
Areas in this industry such as accounts receivable, general accounting, and tax regulation compliance all benefit from the introduction of RPA with optical/intelligent character recognition (OCR/ICR). Introducing RPA into straightforward processes like invoice data entry can provide a great proof of concept before starting on the digital transformation journey with RPA. Once the benefits of RPA are realized, introducing artificial intelligence components amplifies the capabilities and efficiency of RPA solutions throughout all business processes within the accounting and finance industry.
Accounting & Finance RPA Use Cases
- Manage cash flows
- Execute hedging transactions
- Process end-of-period adjustments
- Monitor and track capital projects and budgets
- Calculate and record depreciation expenses
Customer Service RPA
While RPA shows great efficacy being implemented to improve back-office tasks, RPA can be an important component of improving customer service tasks. Introducing RPA as a customer service solution improves customer relationship management through increased internal functionality within an organization. Improving back-office tasks with RPA and AI technologies enhances customer-facing tasks by affording employees more time to interact with customers and turn one-time customers into repeat customers.
Effective RPA use cases in customer service can remove mundane back-office tasks such as pulling customer data and other helpful data within the context of the interaction to improve response times while providing the necessary information. With quicker customer service engagements, customer service departments can reach larger audiences, improving the company’s outreach.
Customer Service RPA Use Cases
- Manage and access customer data securely
- Customer engagement
- Compliance and regulation enforcement
- Customer retention
- Data entry and changelogs
In Human Resource departments across the world, HR employees spend hours completing repetitive tasks such as onboarding, offboarding, screening applicants, and compliance reporting. All these tasks provide great use cases for robotic process automation to be introduced into HR departments across all industries. RPA can enable HR professionals to be more efficient in their tasks and improve the employee experience through automation.
Implementing RPA into an HR team can prove valuable to all departments throughout an organization, as HR is the link between employees and the organization. With automation solutions, HR employees have more time to identify further process candidates for automation and improve the employee experience throughout an organization.
HR RPA Use Cases
- Employee performance management
- Manage HR helpdesk
- Manage Pre-employment verification and resume screening
- Data management and reporting
- Payroll, benefits, and compensation processing
Information Technology RPA
Within IT departments across all industries, there are many transactional processes occurring each day. Many IT teams are unable to fulfill the various day-to-day requests due to the large volume, leading to backed-up departments across an organization. RPA can relieve these issues and helps standardize processes across an IT department. By automating tasks and standardizing workflows, IT teams can complete their work at a much more efficient rate while introducing improved functionality.
IT RPA Use Cases
Monitoring and scheduled maintenance of servers and applications
- Testing and QA for applications and software components
- Password resets and email processing
- Managing IT infrastructure operations
- Database administration and management
Contact NITCO for Help Implementing Efficient RPA Solutions
Organizations often employ the services of RPA experts such as Nitco Inc to evaluate which processes can be automated using RPA and identify the best RPA use cases to produce the substantial benefits RPA offers.
Contact us at YourDigitalTechnologyPartner@nitcoinc.com so we can help you on your digital automation journey.