As Robotics Process Automation (RPA) continues to catch the fancy of many large and small enterprises alike, a more pertinent question in the form of RPA eating into human jobs and emerging as a viable alternative to manual intervention is being raised.
To answer this question or as many would term a conundrum, we need to trace the origin and the evolution of RPA as a concept. As one of the many strategic initiatives that were deployed by enterprises to facilitate the optimal use of resources, RPA was introduced specifically to automate routine and standardized tasks to free up employee bandwidth so that they could focus on the core business objectives. At the very root was the need to churn out high volumes and execute activities that were highly transactional in nature, while simultaneously delivering cost benefits.
Viewing RPA in the right perspective would mean comprehending the role it can play in helping enterprises gear up for a strategic shift, and not positioning it as a direct threat to the workforce. After all, the efficacy of processes and functions largely depend on the human inputs that come at different stages of the work lifecycle. This implies that for operations to traverse seamlessly from one milestone to the other, human intervention is paramount. Moreover, statistics indicate that five of the leading RPA providers have a combined top line aggregating to about USD 25 million, underlining the low penetration of RPA.
The significance of human judgment can never be overemphasized and RPA only reinforces the modern business philosophy of reducing process complexity and staying lean, while deploying every single key resource to achieve more strategic outcomes.
RPA in BPM
While on RPA, it is important to point out that in days to come, RPA will have a more profound role to play in the Process Management (BPM) industry. Extensive studies done in this context, predict that enterprises will allocate a sizable percentage of their overall spend to RPA in the foreseeable future.
RPA is slowly being implemented by BPM providers for transaction processing and data entry in high-volume and repeatable processes. With technology and automation turning out to be the key business drivers for BPM, RPA’s emergence as an unassisted automation approach can deliver immense value creation at a comparatively lower risk and with significant cost benefits.
RPA also has the potential to address key pain points in traditional “system of records” technologies, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform, though it has its limitations in terms of usability, especially pertaining to data formats and analyses. While RPA can be a part of multiple processes, it should be seen as just one component of end-to-end process improvement.
Depending on the scope of implementation, RPA can:
In essence, as organizations look to shore up productivity, reduce operating cost and drive operational efficiency, RPA deployment can give them the critical competitive edge.
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