Previously in this blog series, we’ve explored some examples of how businesses and software vendors are using automated intelligence (AI) and application programming interfaces (APIs) to innovate with disparate data sources—combining them to deliver greater value for customers and workforces.
Another area of innovation that’s improving the way organisations go about their business and the way they serve their customers is robotic process automation (RPA). For many, when they think of RPA, they think of large, cumbersome mechanical processes augmented by robots and industrial machinery. But take a moment to consider how many repetitive, low-value, mechanical and time-consuming—yet essential—tasks are carried out by members of your workforce.
What is RPA?
For some time, one of the main barriers to automation has been the ability to replicate human operations for repetitive tasks. RPA bridges this gap with robots that are easy to train, don’t require changes to your underlying legacy systems, and—crucially—can execute flawlessly. Beyond the physical robotic applications that we’re perhaps more familiar with, software robots can also be trained to log into a system, enter information, port data between SaaS and on-premise applications, and commit transactions—just as human operators would do.
So what about your business? How many of your daily business operations—the tasks and processes you perform routinely—could now be taken over or enhanced with RPA? And if your workforce was relieved of the burden of those tasks, how would you take advantage of the extra resource made available?
RPA in action
Consider these two cases in point. US-based broadcast group, Sinclair, implemented its ‘One Sinclair Experience’ transformation after a period of major merger and acquisition activity. Their aim was to provide a simple, tablet-based interface for marketing consultants to sell their national solutions at a local level—comprised of offerings from across all the newly acquired companies. The resulting tablet-ready experience uses RPA as part of a solution that’s drawn together back office services from across all the companies, resulting in 12x faster process and 45% lower total costs.
In another example, an Italian manufacturer is using RPA with its process to synchronise its customer data across a number of existing legacy systems. Process automation both eliminates the risk of human error and has created additional integration options.
Combining RPA with the power of AI
At present, RPA is still somewhat in its infancy as far as widespread digital adoption is concerned. But, as other innovations more forwards in parallel, an increasing number of possibilities for cross-technological collaboration are emerging. Businesses now have new and improved ways of completing their tasks and fundamentally challenging the way they operate and serve customers.
And by combining the efficient and precise execution of tasks by RPA with AI, businesses can enjoy greater productivity at reduced cost, while also benefiting from increasingly connected innovation. Shared libraries of integrations and pre-built connections can make it even easier to quickly automate new processes, blending in technologies such as conversational AI to steer your RPA with suggested next best actions.