Whether your business planning happens on a calendar basis or at the mid-point of the year, your annual performance goals often may read “to optimize operational efficiencies while also developing a motivated, high impact team.” But that’s easier said than done.
The reality is it’s hard to balance increasing workloads and ever-changing priorities with keeping your employees motivated and engaged. And, how can you even spot an engaged employee? Gallup defines “engaged” employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work.
According to their 2016 poll, the United States and much of the world has been locked in an employee engagement crisis for many years, with no end in sight. They found 49.5 percent of employees were “not engaged” and 16.5 percent were “actively disengaged”. This is bad news for employers trying to increase productivity and boost efficiency.
One reason why? Too often, your top talent is bogged down in manually acquiring, analyzing and acting on information. These tasks are not only major time-sinks, they frequently lead to errors and inefficiencies.
According to Procedure Not Followed, 80 percent of processing mistakes are due to human error. The typical person makes between three to seven errors per hour. Under stressful conditions, this error rate rises to an average of 11 errors per hour. Adding insult to injury, these manual tasks are often boring and mundane, leaving your employees dissatisfied and demoralized.
Let Robots Do the Mundane
Robotic process automation, a fast emerging technology, can help solve these issues. Simply explained, RPA uses “software robots” to automate the repetitive, mundane tasks of collecting and inputting data between portals, website, internal applications and systems. It delivers a trifecta of benefits: 1) increases productivity and efficiencies, 2) decreases costly errors, and 3) frees up your employees for more challenging and rewarding work.
For example, your company may employ several customer service representatives who spend the majority of their time manually gathering and inputting information between systems to process orders, day and day out. With RPA, these tasks can be streamlined and the time required cut in half, allowing your customer service representatives to do what they do best – communicate and help your customers.
RPA also helps line-of-business managers meet and exceed those performance goals, as talented employees can be redeployed to more strategic projects that deliver greater value to the business. That’s a clear win in every direction.
The Rise of Robotic Process Automation
According to a recent Deloitte report, 30 percent of companies surveyed said that process automation was more important to their business than implementing analytical software and cloud computing. This report goes on to state that increasing automation is no longer about leveraging traditional methods. Thirteen percent of respondents plan to increase automation by investing in robotic process automation.
The Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA) found that “the most stunning benefit of RPA is its potential to deliver an immediate savings of 25-40 percent of labor costs.” Indeed, its impact is so great that it will cut outsourcing labor costs too. The IRPA states that: “Enterprises that are looking for the next ‘big thing’ – both those that are outsourcing and those that are not – will find significant potential in robotic process automation.”
It’s clear that RPA is gaining traction for business leaders across the globe, both from an operational and a financial perspective.
Putting RPA into Practice
According to a recent Gartner research report, the majority of RPA’s current use cases improve the customer or employee experience by removing drudgery from process work, shortening turnaround times for processing activities, and potentially increasing quality by eliminating human error.
There are many examples of companies that have achieved these benefits. For example, Union Bank utilized RPA to migrate 800,000 documents in days, instead of months showing how RPA can deliver quick results versus projects that can drag on for months. They were able to automatically extract all the data and metadata from these documents and load it into the bank’s main Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system using automated workflows.
Reginald L. Brown Sr., Vice President, Electronic Imaging Manager Consumer Lending Imaging and File Management, Union Bank, says that the migration couldn’t have been easier. “The result is that teams no longer have to waste valuable time hunting down loan files in different systems. They can get to the information they need in seconds and get on with their work.”
For compliance and risk management, RPA can automatically collect and aggregate data residing internally and externally, and then integrate it with the organization’s reporting processes to ensure compliance with regulations and avoid costly fines.
RPA robots can quickly and efficiently handle various mortgage lending tasks, such as monitoring emails and pulling in data and documents into internal systems, reconciling data between the enterprise content management and loan origination systems, or packaging up digital loan files as part of a quality control and audit review process.
In transportation and logistics, RPA can be used to automatically capture new loads, schedule and track shipments. Software robots eliminate the need to manually copy and input data between portals to report on the status and tracking of shipments.
In healthcare and insurance, RPA can gather, aggregate and integrate any data needed for billing and accounting, patient admissions, claims administration, and compliance reporting.
Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
In accounts receivable, RPA can close the gaps commonly found between applications like ERP and CRM systems and other core systems, such as email and supplier portals, to speed the process of invoicing.
Indeed, the use cases for RPA are unlimited, as robots can be used to replace any set of manual activities where data is accessed and acted on from several different systems and sources.
Engaging Employees at their Best
RPA has elasticity, meaning it has the ability to easily adapt and scale to changing business needs. This technology is agile, fast to deploy and causes minimal disruption to your operations. It’s also easy for non-technical end users, so little training is necessary.
As stated in an article from Create Tomorrow, “Robots are 100 percent accurate with process exceptions referred to the experienced staff that benefits from only dealing with the more interesting work.”
RPA helps a company leverage talent by giving employees time to innovate and focus on human-centered activities, such as customer service. Ultimately, it gives business both the freedom and toolset to be creative and entrepreneurial. The things humans do best.”
To find out more on how RPA can unleash your organization’s talent, get your free preview of our definitive guide to process improvement: Digitally transform the way you work‒How to deliver big results in six small steps with process transformation. Or, download the complete ePaper here today.
Source: Gartner Inc., Cathy Tornbohm, 26 October 2015; Market Insight: What Should Business Process Service Providers Do Next in Robotic Process Automation Transitioning to Virtual Workers?