Recently, it seems that more people are starting to cut through the hype and really understand the potential of robotic process automation. What’s becoming very clear is that by strategically applying this technology that runs evermore intelligent automated digital workers, organizations are exceeding their business goals and driving meaningful growth with unmatched agility and speed.
This isn’t just marketing hype either, but insights based on the real-world experiences of our customers, most of whom are global sector leaders. These organizations — especially those that are more mature robotic process automation (RPA) users — are creating new and exciting opportunities while transforming business processes. They are unlocking massive efficiencies while generating hours of work that can be put back into their businesses. To better understand how the application of RPA is capable of transforming business operations, I’ve outlined six key areas.
RPA delivers savings and time back to the business so staff can focus on delivering high-value initiatives. Nearly 5,000 business decision makers and knowledge workers backs this up, according to Blue Prisms global automation report. This report revealed that 88% of business decision makers believe that RPA is a solution to the global productivity problem.
For example, a global pharmaceutical company uses RPA to automate a wide range of processes, including supporting the production of its clinical study reports, reducing human intervention and saving the team an estimated 10,000 hours annually. RPA has been applied to key processes that include Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance, product labelling updates and reconciling shipment documentation.
This has resulted in 79,000 employee hours being transitioned to digital labor, with automations executed 35,000 times at a 99% success rate; significantly improving employee productivity. Elsewhere, the world’s largest International Business Exchange data center and co-location provider has generated over 14,000 hours per year by automating its end-to-end payables process, from invoice ingestion to payment.
New service and product offerings
RPA can deliver activities that are impossible for humans to perform, or activities that humans cannot perform securely or compliantly. For example, a major airline uses RPA to generate new revenue streams by identifying empty capacity on flights to sell for freight.
Digital workers monitor the space in the bellies of passenger aircraft and give the sales team near real-time updates when there is space to sell. This allows for better customer service while ensuring that freight will be shipped quickly, making for an all-around more efficient process.
Optimizing service quality and delivery
RPA can ensure faster, error-free execution, shorter time to market and reduced risks associated with longer response times. For example, one technology multinational uses RPA to deliver higher quality services more efficiently and at greater speed. With over 8 billion invoices to process each year, RPA helps staff to better manage invoice processing by simplifying the complexity of these tasks, removing systems bottlenecks and eliminating the potential for errors at peak times, all while reducing service delivery costs.
Digital workers automate the processing of data extracted from digital documents, classify different types of documents, provide quality checks, detect errors and pass exceptions to humans. This has resulted in completion times five times faster than normal, and zero errors during the end-to-end process with minimal human involvement.
Accelerated innovation and opportunity generation
RPA equips business organizations with the additional capacity and technological capabilities to easily create new, value-generating services and products. Smart enterprises are exploring a broader suite of process discovery, process mining, process automation and data ingestion to help them deliver new services while optimizing older processes. These include legal document validation and extraction, autonomous invoice processing, fraud detection, and similar business and process activities.
For example, a US-based utility company has created an innovative fraud detection and prevention application using RPA and advanced machine learning tools. This has resulted in near 100% detection of potential fraud cases; a value that couldn’t have been captured by human detection due to the substantial cost. The company expects this combined solution to result in revenue savings greater than $3 million each year.
RPA enables the use of actionable insights from automated process transaction data to optimize or reinvent business processes and enhance workflows that improve stakeholders’ experiences and create long-term value.
For example, one of the big four accounting firms uses RPA to help it achieve consistent processes and substantial global savings. The company is currently operating 200 digital workers across various tax processes and its connected-RPA journey has also resulted in standardizing many existing processes, uncovering disconnects and delivering greater value.
Creating an environment for happier, more motivated staff
Contrary to the popular but misguided narrative that workplace automation causes job loss, the reality is that RPA is helping liberate staff to work on more intellectually challenging, fulfilling and value-generating work. A report showed that 83% of surveyed knowledge workers are comfortable with re-skilling in order to work alongside the digital workforce, and a further 78% say they’re ready to take on a new job role, according to a Blue Prism.
In fact, a global vehicle manufacturer has generated millions of dollars in value from RPA, with all savings and human capacity carefully reinvested back into the business. This value has been achieved by liberating capacity for higher value tasks and generating greater revenue while improving compliance and productivity.
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