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Is RPA the Key to Business Process Improvement in 2019?

Bryan Reed Nov. 23, 2018

Improving the efficiency of key business processes is a priority for CIOs. It’s essential to identify and use technology to help streamline your workflow and increase profits at the same time.

At Alphanumeric, our clients often ask for our help with business process improvement. One of the technologies we recommend – and one that can help many enterprises be more efficient – is Robotic Process Automation, or RPA. Here’s what you need to know about it and why we think it’s the key to business process improvement in 2019.

What is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic Process Automation is a way of automating business processes using technology. RPA is governed by business logic together with structured inputs – in other words, it’s a way of automating repetitive tasks governed by a fixed set of rules.

In many ways, RPA is a stepping stone on the way to full automation and artificial intelligence. It involves configuring “robots” to do everything from simple tasks like sending automated email responses to complex, multi-step processes.

At its best, RPA can help enterprises do all of the following:

  • Streamline workflows
  • Speed up processing
  • Free employees to do non-repetitive tasks
  • Reduce staffing needs
  • Increase profits

When RPA first came on the scene, the financial services industry was the first to adopt it. Today, we’ve seen organizations in human resources, retail, and even healthcare adopt it as a way of improving their business processes.

Potential Uses of RPA

Wondering what RPA can do for you – and if it’s worth the investment? Let’s look at some of the potential uses of RPA so you can get an idea of its capabilities.

  1. In some small-to-medium-sized business, the flow from quote to cash can be slow. You can use RPA to quickly generate invoices and send them out to clients, reducing the time it takes to turn a completed order into cash flow for your company.
  2. If you’re using legacy software, you may dedicate significant resources to migrating information from it to other systems that use it. Programmed properly, RPA can scrape data from your legacy software, format it, and integrate it with other software as needed.
  3. Your sales staff probably spends a lot of time updating your CRM with their phone calls, emails, and notes. RPA can help streamline the process, leaving your sales team more time to bring in new customers.
  4. On a related note, customer onboarding is another process that can be time-consuming. In some cases, RPA may be able to get customers up to speed, provide them with resources, and free up your staff to do other things.

These are just a few suggestions of the kinds of things that can be accomplished with RPA. Any logic-driven, repetitive process can potentially be automated to improve your efficiency and reduce costs.

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The Benefits of RPA in 2019

What can RPA do for you? Here are some of the key benefits of RPA for business process improvement as we see them.

  • RPA can reduce human error by taking repetitive tasks out of the hands of your employees and automating them.
  • Bots are not expensive to create and, in most cases, are less costly than hiring and training a new employee.
  • You don’t need special software to implement RPA. In most cases, it can be programmed to integrate with your existing software.
  • Cognitive technologies like speech recognition and Natural Language Processing can be programmed into your RPA, meaning that you can automate some tasks that you might not have been able to automate in the past.

Experts estimate that by 2020, 40% of large enterprises will use some form of RPA for their business processes.

If you’re not quite ready to adopt AI but you’re looking for a way to improve your businesses processes in 2019, you may want to consider RPA as a first step.

To learn how Alphanumeric can help you with RPA, please click here.

Bryan Reed

Bryan Reed is the Marketing and Communications Director at Alphanumeric.

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