In our previous post, we discussed what robotic process automation (RPA) was, distinguishing it from other automation tools, and provided a taxonomy of RPA using industry examples. We’ll discuss five reasons why you should use RPA. We’ll again provide real-world examples for each reason, demonstrating the tangible, quantifiable benefits RPA can bring.
If you only read one point, read this: RPA is a profitable investment. The benefits of RPA in terms of cost savings and revenue generation not only massively outweigh the costs, they do so quickly. A Blue Prism-commissioned Forrester study of two banks that implemented RPA found that over three years, the net benefits of implementing RPA amounted to $34 million. In particular, the organizations deployed 600 robots, which automated 400 business functions, at a cost of $15 million, with $49 million in net benefits. Even better, the project broke even by month 15.
One of the most important advantages of RPA is its rapidity. Robots can complete routine, rules-based tasks far more quickly than humans. They don’t get distracted, make typos, or forget the sequence of operations in a process. EY and Zurich Insurance deployed an RPA bot that processed insurance claim payments in one week, over 70% faster than the 50 day industry average. For one firm, handling 500 insurance premium advice notes used to take two days, but after implementing RPA, the process now takes thirty minutes.
RPA also brings major efficiencies to an organization by freeing employees from mundane tasks and letting them focus on the tasks where humans excel, which involve thinking, communicating, and problem-solving. Leslie Wilcocks, a professor of technology, work, and globalization at the London School of Economics, says RPA “takes the robot out of the human”. As a case in point, AT&T used RPA to automate the compiling and conditioning of network traffic report data to allow the analysts to analyze a richer dataset more frequently.
RPA robots can automate the process of accessing different systems throughout an organization—because they replicate what a human does on a computer. If the humans already have access, the robot can easily get access too—no need for a massive new system. Jaguar Land Rover planned on overhauling its material costs system. However, it found that by using RPA to simply automate the usage of the existing system, the company saved 3,000 hours year over year, avoided a $650,000 investment, and delivered nearly $2 million of revenue generation.
For many firms, having a detailed record of transactions and movements of money is important to ensure regulatory compliance. Enter another key advantage of RPA: traceability. Since an RPA robot follows a precise series of steps for each process, it also documents each step as it executes. Combined with platform security, RPA’s audit trails allow compliance teams to monitor each activity in real time. As an example, the digital workforce of ANZ, one of the largest banks in Australia, has “helped them to avoid 34 regulatory breaches over the past couple of years, which is a big deal for a bank.”
Next in the series, we’ll examine “When to Use RPA.”