Robotic Process Automation Introduces the Idea of Digital Labor
For firms with large volumes of repetitive back office processing, managing fluctuating workloads while delivering consistent quality can be a real challenge. To lower process execution costs many businesses turn to business process outsourcers, hiring inexpensive offshore resources as a cost effective way to manage peaks and valleys in workloads.
As we all know, business process outsourcing has it’s own set of issues, such as high employee turnover, time zone differences, cultural compatibility problems, and the fact that outsourcing is highly politically unpopular in several industries.
The real question is “Why outsource when you can automate?”
In the past, automating repetitive back offices processes meant standing in line at the CIO’s office and hoping that you could convince them that your need is immediate. More often than not, these requests from the business user are viewed as non-strategic to IT, which forces users to create their own workarounds by leveraging people, spreadsheets and custom databases. These workarounds allow business units to operate slightly more efficiently but they are error prone and may actually create IT security issues.
This situation is about to change because Robotic Process Automation tools now exist that will forever change the landscape of how rules-driven processes are staffed and supported. A UK based firm named Blue Prism has created a software toolkit that enables the automation of repetitive, back office processes without relying on lengthy and costly IT developed automation. And, since a Blue Prism “digital worker” can replace 2 or more human workers, the economics can be jaw dropping in terms of cost savings. As importantly these software robots don’t make mistakes so rework is eliminated and customer satisfaction is dramatically improved.
So, what processes lend themselves to automation? Typically any repetitive, back office process that does not require human judgment is an excellent candidate for automation. Candidate processes include general ledger activities, order processing, account maintenance, and data entry just to name a few. Also consider processes that need to be implemented in a short timeframe – such as any process that requires swivel chair access to multiple systems, projects with a limited timeframe or programs with seasonal spikes.
Automation is the next big wave for business process outsourcers and end user firms interested in lowering costs while simultaneously improving the speed and quality of work performance.
The economics and customer satisfaction improvements can’t be ignored so take the time now to better understand how Robotic Automation can improve your financial and operational results. If you are interested in learning more, our firm Virtual Operations U.S. we would be happy to give you a quick primer as well as some guidance on how to determine which of your processes can benefit from automation.