A couple of years ago, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) was predominantly known as the most basic automation technique aimed at relieving manual intervention for mundane tasks, especially in the insurance sector. The concept of RPA was quite simple – make a computer mimic human actions on another computer or software. Starting off with basic tasks such as automated data entry or data exchange facilitators between systems, RPA slowly began evolving and, in the process, acquired smarter capabilities by collaborating with modern AI and machine learning technology. The market size for Robotic Process Automation too increased rapidly and according to Gartner, there will be nearly USD 1.89 Billion worth of revenue for RPA software globally by 2021.
So, what made RPA transition from a basic automation capability into one that has intelligent analytical and decision-making capability? The answer – RPA had a major role in being a key pillar of digital transformation. The combination of RPA and digital transformation had the potential to bring about rapid progress for enterprises looking to make it big in their digital journey.
Let us examine four ways in which RPA and digital transformation work hand in hand to enable success for a modern enterprise:
For a successful digital transformation within an organization, there is a requirement to have change happening right from its core. This core includes the key business processes that have been put in place at the organization from years of operation. While implementing RPA, there is a massive effort that the organization takes to digitize processes so that machines can handle business processes faster and more diligently. This digitization works in favor of future digital initiatives like implementing new platforms. This is because organizations can focus on implementing new platform features, that may require re-designed processes, on RPA bots rather than having to train and acquaint the human workforce who would have been involved in handling the process if RPA wasn’t implemented first. Thus, RPA serves as an enabler for cultural change in the organization and allows for faster and seamless business process re-design and deployments.
As in the case of business processes, an RPA implementation will streamline workflows and hierarchical obstacles within the organization spanning multiple departments. To enable better automation, RPA consultants would have already identified core workflow changes needed for different departments to work collaboratively using bots rather than people. Simplifying workflows within the organization allows for faster digital transformation initiatives in the future as new digital systems that are on-boarded can be integrated faster into the existing network of systems that have a very well-defined workflow thanks to the earlier RPA implementation. For example, when a retail store wants to launch a new shopping app as part of its digital transformation initiative, it will be easier for the app to be integrated with its billing, inventory, and other back end systems since they have already been streamlined to work together by RPA bots.
Due Diligence in Information Exchange
One of the key challenges that organizations seek to eliminate with digital transformation is the threat posed by fraudsters and information stealers. A combination of RPA and intelligent encryption as part of digital transformation can ensure that information exchange within the organization’s digital ecosystem is completely deprived of human interference and can happen safely in the back-end driven by intelligent RPA bots. As more information security is guaranteed by bots, digital platforms implemented within the organization can seamlessly request and exchange information for various transactional processes. All exchange would happen under the faithful watch of intelligent RPA bots that can continuously monitor the digital landscape of the organization and take actions or notify the concerned team in the event of a suspicious behavior arising at any point of time.
Automating the Back Office
For several enterprises, one of the major objectives for digital transformation is to offer an exceptional customer experience. However, customer experience does not depend only on the front-facing digital channels. Several backend business processes and departments have to manage customer data and process necessary transactions required for delivering services to customers via the digital front-end. Back-office tasks often take up too much time of staff who may be forced to perform mundane form filling and data modifications thereby keeping customers waiting in the front-end. This is where RPA can be the saving grace for the business. By automating a large plethora of back-end tasks like form filling, validations, custom data entries and verifications, information exchange and approvals from different departments, etc., RPA bots can empower employees to serve customers through various digital channels quickly.
Events like the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in organizations fast-tracking their digital transformation journeys like never before. Faster adoption of digital requires the entire organization to support and enable a unified path to digitizing key business processes, workflows, and transactional events involved in daily operations. This is where RPA can be the catalyst to accelerate digital transformation by empowering organizations to build a highly automated digital landscape that can embrace new digital initiatives seamlessly and realize ROI faster.