Robotic Process Automation - Business Game Changer in 2021
Explore the Benefits of RPA's Adoption Across Segments
In the past few years, we have seen steady growth in Robotic Process Automation (RPA). It gathered momentum in 2019 and became a hot topic in IT and business circuits in 2020.
The power of process automation will be felt even more strongly, propelling its adoption as a replacement for legacy processes. McKinsey, in its article, ‘Harnessing automation for a future that works,’ estimates that about half of all the activities people are paid to do in the world’s workforce could potentially be automated by adopting technology. This would result in 60 percent of all occupations to have at least 30 percent technically automatable activities.
RPA's Adoption and Benefits across Segments
Banking and Financial Services
Banking and Financial services have become commoditized, and banks are mandated to focus on improved front-end and back-end services. Front-end has already seen the adoption of RPA. However, in the recent past, we have witnessed wide-scale adoption of RPA to manage back-end processes. Repetitive rules-driven tasks are now being managed by RPA, bringing down errors, time, and costs.
Insurance companies typically have overwhelming processes, multiple applications, and regulatory requirements. RPA has helped to automate data entry enabling on-the-go calculations followed by validation which is extended to branches through self-service. It has helped to manage high volume processes related to claims and underwriting, quotes, and payments related to policy surrender, bringing down turnaround time significantly.
The retail industry has, in many ways, been at the forefront of RPA adoption. It is not uncommon to have physical robots working alongside humans in warehouses and retail outlets. Along with this, based on the fact that online sales in the US can grow to double its size by 2023, there are numerous functions that RPA has already infiltrated, such as order processing, procurement, inventory management, and payments. It is helping retailers to manage complex supply chain relationships by automating workflows between manufacturers, suppliers, and customers.
The manufacturing industry has witnessed the widespread adoption of RPA to reduce errors across various functions. In Bills of Materials, for example, where various components such as sub-assemblies, components, and raw materials come into play, RPA reduces human errors. Similarly, with compliance, RPA has simplified the process while maintaining updated requirements for adherence. Data migration and automated communication are the other RPA empowered areas that are transforming traditional manufacturing companies into lean and nimble companies.
As the education industry continues to transform, its surging need is to manage online and offline correspondence with students, staff, and stakeholders. RPA intelligently manages these relationships, ensuring faster and smarter turnaround times.
A Brave New Bot World for Businesses
In 2021, there will be more RPA bots deployed across industries, i.e., wherever repetitive manual actions are being performed. It will allow business leaders to improve their performance and venture into new territories. This would be a direct outcome of lowered labor costs, better processes, and improved quality.
To maximize the potential of RPA to turnaround their businesses and prepare for expansion, business leaders will have to start at the ground level. A thorough inventory of processes across the organization will be required to identify all the processes that can be automated.
The question that arises is, ‘how will process automation help to grow businesses?’ Robotic automation will result in labor displacement. Organizations and their leaders must review the opportunities for business growth and strategically deploy their workforce to achieve business goals. New roles, new activities, and new opportunities are the benefits of RPA that 2021 would bring along.
Humans versus Bots
RPA from being a buzzword will become a practical reality for workers who will need to familiarize themselves with the technology to maximize its potential. The ability to let go of their tasks and watch machines performing the same tasks will be challenging if it is not dealt with in the right way. Therefore, 2021 will see senior executives sharing their business visions more openly within their organizations to show their employees the new vistas of opportunities that lie ahead - opportunities that will require strategic thinking and smarter ways of working.
Organizations that view technology disparately will have to rethink their strategies. The human factor will play a pivotal role not only in the adoption of RPA but in how the displaced workforce uses their abilities to help achieve business visions. To simplify, the human factor will have to take precedence over automation, and careful evaluation of existing human resources is required to ensure that organizations are not just bot processes but ‘intelligent bot-enabled powerhouses.’
A Surge in Need for RPA Technology Solution Providers
As with any new technology innovation, there is likely to be a surge in demand for technology professionals with RPA expertise. This could create new work opportunities and even lead to outsourced demand for robotic process automation service providers. Technology workers whose roles require repetitive programming will now have to retrain and prepare for roles that RPA will create. The need for new technology professionals will see a spurt in the education industry as it prepares to train and certify robotic automation professionals.
AI Enabled RPA
2021 will see businesses grappling with robotics and AI and trying to figure out the difference. Without a clear understanding of the difference, there will be breaks in processes that will adversely affect business development. Bots, as we know, perform repetitive tasks mindlessly. For tasks that require more intuitive predictions, AI will be the answer. To understand how and where to deploy AI versus RPA will require expert intervention from technology solution providers. Spending on RPA software is predicted by Gartner to hit $1.3 billion in the coming year. Will all of this result in business benefits, will be a question mark with the answer hidden in its maximized and correct usage.
To summarize, 2021 will see wider adoption of Robotic Process Automation across industries. It will help businesses to shift their expenses from process management to business empowerment, provided they can manage and maximize the existing workforce responsibly. It makes more sense to have bots managing customer queries and offering faster responses to complex questions. For employees, RPA promises to take the mundanity out of boring tasks, opening the space for creative thinking. 2021 will be a game-changing year for the IT world with more opportunities for humans to tap on innate skills that machines cannot replicate.
The companies that have already begun their RPA journey have witnessed significant benefits, and they will have an undue advantage over the competition in the upcoming year.
About the Author:
I am a seasoned technology writer currently working with Nous Infosystems. I prefer attention to emerging technologies and enjoy exploring and writing about Information Technology and innovation topics.