What comes to mind when you hear the term Robotic Process Automation? You would probably conjure up images of mechanical robots doing labour-intensive work like loading, unloading or assembling parts. However, this is not the case.
What exactly is RPA?
In RPAs, the “robot” is actually a virtual system which accomplishes various repetitive tasks and simultaneously learns from the user. Whatever data is obtained from the user is used by the robot to make its process more efficient.
By definition, we can say that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an autonomous system designed to accomplish actions based on pre-set rules similar to how a conventional robot is with the difference being that the actions are modified according to how a user completes certain tasks within the graphical user interface (GUI). Simply put, the robot monitors how a user operates the GUI and accordingly automates some processes and runs the program according to the user’s preferences. This ensures that the subsequent generated responses from the robot are accurate, predictable and highly consistent.
Why is RPA important?
Imagine an office where each employee is assigned a particular task. They can either work on their own tasks by themselves or take inputs from their colleagues and get everything done faster. This is similar to how an RPA works. In most conventional businesses, different processes are often handled by different IT systems which don’t necessarily communicate with each other. This is highly inefficient since none of the individual systems knows what the other is doing, which can lead to a lot of redundancies. In an RPA, all of these individual systems exchange information and work with each other making the whole process more efficient.
Also, when businesses grow, they need to hire more employees to cover the growing number of responsibilities. This costs a lot of time and money which could otherwise be used for productive purposes. However, in the case of an RPA, its responsibilities can easily expand with minimal effort. The scalability of RPA has made it crucial in today's businesses. The applications of RPA can easily be expanded once it is set up. Businesses need to scale up their systems as they add more clients and offer more services. RPA makes this much easier and way more efficient than other conventional methods.
Few key metrics that you need to observe when measuring the impact of RPAs
RPAs improve the workflow and efficiency of an organization in many different ways.
The time required
Take any normal office process as an example and measure the time required to complete that process before and after the implementation of RPA and compare. Calculate the time needed for each process as well as the overall process time required. Businesses who have implemented RPAs have seen from 20 to a 110% reduction in time required for all their tasks. An RPA can complete a task which normally takes days if done manually, in a matter of hours.
Efficiency of Work
Firstly, measure the amount of work completed by a human within a specific time period and then compare it to the amount of work completed by an RPA for the same task, within the same time period. We can observe that robots reduce the time required to complete repetitive tasks and hence can do more work within the same time frame as compared to a human. This leads to increased efficiency for the business employing the RPA.
Quality of products
Observe the accuracy of the work done before and after the deployment of RPA. As long as the inputs given to the RPA are accurate, the output accuracy of any business will increase to a hundred per cent. Robots are highly consistent and will provide the same output every time without any human errors.
Compliance with orders
Robots are designed to follow a set of rules, and these rules govern all their actions. This is not true in the case of human workers since how much they comply depends on a large number of factors like the emotional response, readiness to follow orders, laziness etc. All of these factors do not apply when it comes to RPAs. You can expect a 100% compliance from RPAs all the time with no exceptions. Any orders given to a robot will be completed without fail.
The cost required to pay a human worker to do a particular task for a fixed length of time is always more than what is required for a robot. Implementing RPAs costs only about 20% of the cost required for a human to complete the same job. This is a massive reduction in costs, and it leads to more profits for the business.
Using RPA makes the daily operation of businesses much easier. Not only does it get rid of redundant tasks, but it also helps businesses customize their business approach into a more customer friendly one.
The rapid growth of businesses has also made it important to implement RPAs in order to cope up with the workload demands. Thus, the implementation of RPAs in any business will lead to overall growth on all fronts.