Top 5 RPA Questions that Customers Ask & What We Answer Them
Original post from https://www.cigen.com.au/cigenblog/
As we were preparing for a podcast interview for the ePodcast Network, the questions we had to answer about robotic process automation inspired us to write this article. We gathered our customers’ most prominent questions and concerns and we did our best to provide appropriate, solution-oriented answers.
Many customers share similar questions before they set upon implementing and deploying RPA in their companies. These are questions that everyone asks (and should ask, in fact) at the beginning of their RPA journey. So no, you are certainly not the only one.
We are here to help. Hopefully, at the end of this article, you will get most of the answers that you need in order to make the right decisions regarding automation.
Before proceeding with the list of RPA questions and answers, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to find out when our ePodcast Network podcast is live.
Top RPA questions and how we answer them
1. What is robotic process automation and who can benefit from it?
Our favourite, functional definition describes RPA very widely, as ‘a useful tool for maximally efficient use of of a company’s available resources’, where ‘tool’ covers both software and services.
It is a kind of software that emulates human activities, but performs them more quickly, accurately, and tirelessly that human employees. Functionality is indeed the most important trait of automation, and it is used in terms of the capacity to facilitate an optimal resource allocation leading to best possible results.
Companies across a wide range of industries (e.g., finance, banking, hospitality, healthcare, media, HR) can benefit from automating the rule-based, repetitive processes (see question (3) below). Indeed, according to McKinsey & Company, automating business processes through RPA can lead to a Return on Investment between 30 and 200% in the first year after implementation, and to 20-25% savings on average.
“According to McKinsey & Company, automating business processes through RPA can lead to a Return on Investment between 30 and 200% in the first year after implementation, and to 20-25% savings on average.”
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We support a humanistic approach to RPA, according to which automation makes people really matter. In other words, people are the ultimate beneficiaries, be they the company’s employees or its customers.
Robotic process automation removes the burden of repetitive, tedious jobs from employees’ shoulders, and it thereby frees them to put to better use their typically human strengths such as complex reasoning, emotional intelligence, or communication skills. As a consequence, their job satisfaction is increased and so is their customer centred approach to the tasks they perform, which, in turn, boosts customer satisfaction.
2. What are the benefits of RPA?
Operating cost reductions is perhaps the most tangible benefit of RPA (as the above-cited McKinsey report shows). However, the umbrella of RPA benefits is much wider than that. Consider things like improved accuracy and quality, the reduction of technology integration costs, revenue leakage detection and subsequent reduction, headcount flexibility, the improvement of risk, compliance and audit management, rapid scalability to demand spikes, or workforce shifts to higher-value tasks.
According to the founders of CiGen, since RPA can complement or even replace document automation tools in conveying professional and meaningful messages, it enables high-level communication. For example, robotic process automation can be used as a tool for the automatic creation of documents, by comparing data stored in different systems. In Daniel Pullen’s words, this means that “RPA can be used to ensure the end-users are receiving accurate and current data”.
3. What types of processes are suitable for automation?
According to CiGen’s Leigh Pullen, beginning RPA implementation with those business processes that are best suited for automation is crucial for tapping into the vast potential of robotics; it is, indeed, one of the best practices for maximum gain. Some of the most relevant process features are:
Stable, predictable and well-documented processes, with consistent and well defined operational costs;
Processes requiring readable input types;
Processes with low exception rates, which do not require complex human intervention;
Processes that can be quantified in terms of measurable savings;
High volume /high-frequency processes, which often provide a faster ROI.
4. What is the right type of software for your company?
Your choice of software depends on two kinds of criteria: vendor features (e.g., experience, support for the implementation phase and beyond, orientation toward future-proof solutions like intelligent automation), and software features (e.g., technical features, ease of implementation, ownership cost). You should decide after a thorough analysis of these criteria in relation with your own business objectives.
There are several RPA vendors on the market: UiPath, Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere being the most widely used. We at CiGen have chosen to work closely with UiPath who have developed the world’s most advanced, scalable and extensible RPA platform.
According to our own Leigh Pullen, this partnership “was started in early 2016 because of UiPath’s top-of-class technology, enabling fast and accurate automation, and backed by a competitive pricing structure, for both entry level and long-term installations. We were also inspired by UiPath’s vision to strategically evolve beyond purely rules-based automation and towards cognitive and machine learning automation, with the ability to plug in and take advantage of leading AI technologies such as IBM Watson, Google and optical character recognition ABBYY.”
5. How do you calculate the ROI of your RPA deployment, and measure RPA success?
The right choice of processes to be automated is a precondition of obtaining a fast and significant increase in ROI. Once you have made a wise choice of these processes based on features such as those mentioned in (3) above, there are several metrics available which allow for insightful evaluations going beyond the financial impact.
Consider for example process speed estimation, taking into account the effect of varying parameters such as the monthly volume of transactions, which is particularly useful for back-office processes. Output quality evaluation, compliance improvement or productivity boost estimations are other useful measures. You need to also consider qualitative assessment measures, which require more intricate, long-term scrutiny (e.g., the level of employees’ job satisfaction).
Given the depth of implications that automation can have for your company, this list of RPA questions and answers is far from comprehensive. This is why we highly recommend that you consider additional sources in order to secure the success of your automation enterprise.
For instance, you can check out our Robotic Process Automation glossary of terms, which is meant to assist you in deciding what your next step should be in the exciting journey towards fully documented processes performed by software robots.
Another useful resource is one of our most read articles about 8 questions to ask before implementing RPA, which provides guidelines for starting this journey well in the form of questions that are worth considering in advance.
Should you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to fill on our contact form and one of our experts will get back to you and assist you in finding pragmatically oriented answers for your specific situation.