Truly valuable enterprise software does exactly what it promises, working across the business to solve numerous and often completely different challenges. When the Director of Finance & Accounting laments his department’s manual process for retrieving invoices from portals and emails and inputting the information into SAP, he might not realize that the exact same software can solve the Chief Revenue Officer’s desire to proactively monitor competitor pricing and automatically match or undercut…or the IT manager’s wish to automate user setup and configuration.
The solution to these and hundreds of other pain points across your organization? Robotic Process Automation (RPA), a technology that uses software robots to automate repetitive tasks and manual processes—enhancing the work of your employees by interacting with websites, business and desktop applications, databases and people to execute repetitive and often mundane work.
When automation opportunities are everywhere, how do you prioritize them? Think high volume, high value and high stakes.
- High volume, highly repetitive processes are easy targets for automation, as they take significant time that could be spent on work that requires more human thinking and empathy. Getting bogged down in these processes can ultimately throttle your organization’s ability to grow and scale.
- High value processes are extremely important to your organization, such as “money” processes like sales quotes or those that create a better customer experience and reduce churn.
- High stakes processes could land your company in trouble with mistakes or delays. Perhaps a copy-and-paste error results in a costly compliance violation, or a process backlog causes routine missing of deadlines.
A recent AIIM Industry Watch Report on Digitalizing Core Business Processes observes that technologies like robotic process automation and intelligent capture open up opportunities not only to improve processes, but to totally rethink them.
Here are ten processes you can automate across departments with RPA:
1. Vendor, Customer and Employee Onboarding
Although these processes span finance & accounting, sales/new accounts and HR (with a little dose of IT), they’re similarly ripe for automation as they all three often involve reams of paperwork, vetting, and lengthy back-and-forth between your company and the other party. With RPA, you can design an entirely automated onboarding process that even includes automatic status communications as well as full integration of the information with your internal systems.
2. Vendor, Customer and Employee Maintenance
In a similar vein, these parties often need to be updated, whether it’s an employee submitting a change of address form or a vendor or customer needing to re-sign a yearly contract. RPA is great at automating processes that are triggered by another event (a yearly anniversary), a date (all partner contracts are due August 1), or a process or task (employee filled out change of address). RPA ensures the data is accurately updated in real time across all systems.
3. Report aggregation
This process is especially time-consuming for finance and accounting, especially at the end of a month, quarter or year when all hands on deck are frantically compiling information. RPA can automate the gathering and aggregating of data in a fraction of the time, leaving bandwidth and brain power to leverage that information for insights.
4. Payroll processing
Changing tax laws, reporting requirements and simply working with systems that don’t talk to each other can suck up days each month for payroll processing. RPA’s ability to collect and connect that data between multiple systems such as time tracking, HR and employee management, accounts payable and general ledger—not to mention providing accounting reports for taxes and various departments—make it invaluable in automating this process.
5. Customer Due Diligence
While we talked about customer onboarding above, we didn’t mention the elephant in many customer onboarding rooms: Keeping up and complying with regulations like Customer Due Diligence, Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering is expensive and challenging. RPA will automatically acquire, enhance and deliver the precise data you need to comply from any internal or external source—and it can check far more data points in a shorter period of time to provide you with a more comprehensive assessment.
6. Competitive Pricing and Monitoring
According to Retail Dive’s consumer survey, nearly 60% of shoppers look up product information and prices while using their mobile phones in stores. Online, they access comparison shopping sites. And third-party merchants on platforms like Amazon.com often use repricing software that automates the time-consuming job of keeping up with the competition. With this kind of power in the hands of customers and competitors, it’s critical for your organization to have a handle on what the competition is up to. RPA can monitor and alert or proactively reprice according to your specs in real time so you’re no longer relying on outdated reports that took days or weeks to compile.
7. CRM Updates
Salespeople just want to sell—it’s what they’re good at and how they’re paid. Slogging through data entry like updating the CRM isn’t at the top of anyone’s to-do list, yet this information is critical for your company to make smart strategic decisions. Let RPA take this task off your hands with automatic updates that gathers intel on your prospects and posts it in the proper fields in CRM.
8. Order Processing
The ordering process can involve many time-consuming manual tasks like address verification, data entry, printing the invoice and shipping label, and updating warehouse inventory and reordering if your stock is low. RPA can automate and orchestrate this process—being a software robot and not a physical robot, the only thing it can’t do for you is pick and pack the boxes.
9. Shipment Scheduling and Tracking
Scheduling, updating and reporting shipment status between internal systems and portals is quite a manual job—and the price paid is often in the customer experience. RPA can extract shipment requests from incoming emails, log jobs in your scheduling systems and provide pick-up times in customer and/or carrier portals.
10. User Setup and Configuration
We talked about employee onboarding from the HR side above. On the IT side, someone has to add and configure a new user so that brand new employee can log into their computer, email, network etc. Let RPA automate this process so your staff can focus on higher-value work in the backlog.Discover even more ways to automate with RPA.