Most business owners/executives want to know what their businesses stand to gain from implementing robotic process automation. This is fair as most executives are mostly focused on the growth of their organisation.
According to EY who analysed thousands of high-growth businesses, the 7 drivers of growth in any organisation revolves around the customer, people, technology, operations, finance, transactions, and risk.
Considering these growth drivers, the question then becomes how and what role does RPA as a technology play in assisting business growth.
A good understanding of the role of RPA in driving business growth will assist executives and decision-makers to make informed decisions on their implementation.
So what are the benefits of RPA to business growth? The benefits of RPA to business growth is
- It Helps to Boost Customer Satisfaction
- Increases Employee Satisfaction
- Leverage existing Technology Systems and Applications
- Improve operational capability
- Maximises finance
- Increase transaction speeds and output quality
- Improved compliance with a reduction in risk and error.
There’s a reason RPA is an increasingly attractive technology for many businesses today.
In this article, I share how RPA can benefit businesses and most importantly play a key role in driving business growth:
1. It Helps to Boost Customer Satisfaction
No business can thrive without customers, and that’s why they must seek ways to improve customer satisfaction consistently.
Today’s customers’ requests are increasingly demanding.
We expect immediacy and accuracy in our dealings with companies, like, seeking an answer to a question, placing or changing an order, or just updating our details.
However, when it comes to more complex issues, we look for empathy and understanding and require a fellow human an interaction.
Leading businesses understand that by putting customers’ needs and desires first, they can achieve a competitive advantage.
Getting the perfect balance between fast response and attending to human needs is a big challenge for companies but also presents a significant opportunity to improve customer satisfaction.
And this is where automation can help.
RPAs are well adapted and positioned to take customer satisfaction to a whole new level.
RPA can help to simplify and speed up services that are repetitive and usually take much time.
They can eliminate redundant customer (and employee) effort by capturing, analyzing, cross-referencing, and sharing information across platforms and channels without being intrusive.
Using software robots to replicate the actions of humans, RPA can help automate back-end processes to advance customer service.
Examples can be opening a customer information tab on the agent’s desktop as soon as a call comes in, sending a personalised email based on a predetermined set of criteria, or running regular health-checks to ensure that all systems and services are up and running.
Another practical example — A telecommunication company receiving multiple complaints from its customers across various channels employs RPA to process their information, organise and sort complaints into pre-defined categories – just how a human worker will do the work.
With this type of sorted information, the RPA can monitor most of the concerns and provide faster resolutions with higher accuracy.
In addition, it can also generate reports for the detailed analysis that the company can use to prevent further problems.
RPA eliminates repetitive tasks so employees can focus on high-value tasks that impact customer relationships.
2. Increases Employee Satisfaction
At the centre of any successful company is its people. An organisation is only ever as good as the people working for it.
To fully realize their ambitions, businesses invest in their employees, nurturing their talent and helping them develop skills to match the demands of the business.
To put casually, if your employees are smiling, then fortune will smile on your business, too, because you can be sure they’d give their best to the business.
The job characteristics model claims that employee satisfaction is largely determined by how engaging their job is.
In another research by SHRM Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey of 600 U.S. employees, conducted in November-December 2015, nearly one-half (43%) of employees reported that meaningfulness of the job was very important to their job satisfaction.
Employees often get tired of repeating the same tasks every day, especially when it’s a difficult one.
Contrary to popular belief about robots and jobs, RPA has actually shown to improve employee satisfaction.
This is because RPA takes over repetitive process-intensive tasks providing more time to employees to perform creative and more meaningful tasks.
According to GO-Gulf, an average of 40% of employees leave their jobs within a year due to insufficient training.
However with RPA in place, employees can make use of their extra time to gain additional training to add to their skill sets, which increases worker retention.
Forbes surveyed 302 senior executives involved in the implementation of Intelligent Automation and Robotic Process Automation worldwide and discovered that 92% indicated an improvement in employee satisfaction as a result of these initiatives.
In a forester in-depth survey of 100 decision-makers at manager level or above from operations groups, shared services, finance and accounting, HR, and other core business lines about the effectiveness of RPA on employee engagement, employees were expected to be more engaged (80%) and 57% were already experiencing higher levels of engagement from their workers.
3. Leverage Existing Technology Systems and Applications
As technology becomes more and more important, most organisations can be seen to have multiple technology systems and tools to aid their business.
Well, RPA is different. You don’t have to purchase new IT systems and infrastructure for your RPA solution.
RPAs are capable of working with existing IT systems and data types within the presentation layer of various applications and platforms.
Just like humans, RPA works on a user interface and so do not require modifications to existing systems
It’s also not an overly complicated technology solution when compared to other technology solutions.
For instance, RPA implementation does not require setting up an API, which saves businesses huge costs and time.
Using RPA to integrate two systems requires much less skill, whereas implementing an API would normally require a software engineer with special skills to configure.
RPAs come with their own set of GUI (Graphical User Interfaces) which require little technical expertise and are easy to master.
4. Improve Operational Capability
If a business is to remain relevant in today’s world, its operations need to be highly flexible so they can adapt quickly to changing circumstances to seize business opportunities as well as mitigate key risks.
Think of the story Nokia and Blackberry and how they missed the opportunities of the smartphone era as illustrated by the image below.
Robotic Process Automation tends to introduce flexibility to business operations.
The capacity of RPA systems to adapt to conditions and situations deems them useful in businesses where parts of a constant process change in particular RPA systems have the inbuilt intelligence to make these tiny changes in their working, thus freeing human resources for more useful work. Studies have shown that when humans are asked to make small changes in daily tasks they are habitual of, they will often forget making the modifications. RPA programs are installed on servers to combat this challenge, making processes flexible and scalable in case the demand shoots or the scope of a process expands
5. It Helps Businesses to Maximize Finances
Finance is the lifeblood of any business enterprise just as air is for us humans.
As such, financial executives have the important jobs of determining the best financial approach at every stage of the business and deriving maximum benefits from their management of available funds.
Now RPA is an excellent tool for cutting down on costs, maximizing profits, and thereby increasing your chances of getting more clients.
It takes over the dull, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks so that human employees can use their intelligence for high-value tasks.
This translates into more work done within a reasonable time, more clients satisfied, and more chances of success in terms of money and global reach.
Consider some of the other benefits above, boost customer satisfaction, improved employee satisfaction, leverage existing technologies, and improve operational capability.
Achieving those benefits from implementing RPA already sets the company on the path to increased financial returns.
I know this is a contentious topic but RPA also helps to increase your business capabilities without necessarily having to increase the number of your human workers.
That equates to considerable savings on salaries which can be channelled to fund other aspects of the business.
Here is a fact – RPAs do not go on holidays, have children, go on cigarette breaks or have meetings with each other to discuss how the work will be handled. They simply get on with the work!
This means they can work round the clock 24/7, 365/year without complaining about how much you pay them.
An exciting feature of Robotic Process Automation is the insight and analytics that can be derived.
RPAs processes at a fast rate and thus able to store a large amount of data. Data which could be analysed and mined for insight.
6. Increased speed in Transactions and Quality
As earlier discussed, today’s customer expects a faster response to their queries. Leading businesses are quick to grasp the value of increased transactions without compromising on their value offer.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions are able to increase processing speeds by up to 15 times.
One RPA bot can on average perform the work of 2 – 5 full-time employees, depending on the complexity of the process, implementation quality and optimization of usage. In terms of financial impact, RPA offers highly promising returns.
It’s important to note that RPAs are not the automatic bandaid to bad processes.
RPA + bad process = ‘terrible’ process at scale.
RPA + good process = Great processing at scale
That said, a good process could still produce subpar output because we are humans and humans make mistakes.
No matter how much we try to beat it, we can’t avoid mistakes where humans are involved. Remember the maxim “to err is human”?
If you multiply the possibility of human error with the total number of human workers you have, the number is quite incredible, right?
And mistakes, however little, can affect a business in many adverse ways. For example, mistakes can be very costly to resolve, harm the reputation of your business, and give your competitors an upper hand over your business.
But with RPA, the story can be different as this software tool will not only provide quality and accurate work, but it will also do it quickly, seamlessly, and satisfactorily. Say hallelujah somebody!!!
7. Improved Compliance with Reduction in Risk and Errors
Robotic Process Automation eliminates data gaps between disparate logs and sources. This will enable employees in an organization to proactively identify and manage compliance issues comprehensively and progressively run reviews internally.
These particular aspects of RPA support Enterprises across various industry verticals ranging from insurance providers to Healthcare Enterprises. Insurance providers will need to meet certain regulations such as the one set forth by IRDA in India, and Healthcare companies will need to meet higher medical standards proposed by medical boards of the respective states and countries.
Companies today are data-driven, and yours is probably not an exception.
Since data are susceptible, exposing them to many workers increases the chance of fraud and a downturn in business.
But with RPA, you can automate the collating, processing, and analysis of data with little or no human contribution. And you can rest assured that your data is safe and secure.
With RPA, businesses can be more precise in their operation and make well-defined processes error-free.
An obvious benefit of this is when there is no missing, or mistaken customer information & service reps face no hassles serving customers in a personalized fashion.
RPA can be integrated with multiple applications to enhance the security of enterprise data. These integrations will ensure that client’s apps are not modified or enhanced by a robot.
This system reduces the risk of unauthorized access as business functions use and inherit the already available security infrastructure where authorization concepts are already implemented.
What is the ROI in RPA? 5 Ways to Quantify It
Though RPA is an excellent way to enhance your business operations and , it is essential to align your business goals with metrics that you can use to measure your traction towards those goals, after you have implemented RPA in your business.
RPA ROI is a means of measuring whether implementing RPA is the best for your business. It helps to show how much impact RPA will have on the future of your business in terms of money, growth, and customer satisfaction.
Here are five performance metrics for quantifying RPA ROI and determining whether it is a reliable solution for your business:
1. Better Accuracy
Humans are prone to mistakes, and this is usually factored in the cost of business operations. Since RPA largely eliminates errors, then it should be a better alternative to human workers.
But how do you measure it? Simply measure how much work needs to be redone when human workers are involved, then compare it with how much work needs to be redone when you use RPA.
If little or no re-work is required when you use RPA, it is a better solution and should best be implemented in your business.
2. Downtime Advantage
Unlike robots, humans can’t work all day because they need to eat, rest, sleep and even take care of their health. It’s also good to run maintenance on robots regularly so that they can function optimally.
Since bots and humans have downtimes alike (though at different frequencies), a measure of which downtime has the least negative impact on the business. That will be the best solution for your business.
3. Employee Turnover Costs
Losing employees is unavoidable, but finding and training new employees is a costly and daunting task. An online stat showed that the median cost of turnovers in the US is about 21% of an average employee’s annual salary.
Check if RPA can help you cut down on turnover costs. This may take a longer time to verify because it’s impossible to eliminate the human factor. However, it’s a way to measure whether RPA is a better option.
4. Employee Satisfaction
Once you’re able to measure your employee turnover cost, the next is to measure your employee satisfaction rates.
Survey your employees to see how satisfied they are with their roles and workloads before and after RPA.
Employee satisfaction is a metric that’ll very much be linked to how well you have communicated the introduction of RPA to your organisation.
This is because some employees will be wary of losing their tasks to robots, so a clear communication plan is necessary to ensure employees understand how and why their roles are changing.
Ideally, you’ll want to see a rise in employee satisfaction as more and more manual tasks are taken away from them.
It’s important to pay close attention to this one metric because it demonstrates the effects of automation in human terms
5. Increased Human Workforce Creativity
After automating routine tasks and freeing human workers for more high-value tasks, there should be an improvement in the level of creativity of your human workforce.
Measure how creatively your human workforce now approaches work, and compare it with when they had to do all the tedious routine tasks by themselves.
This is hard to quantify and so might be measured qualitatively.
Increase human creativity might measure in how many new projects your organisation has undertaken and the success rates of those projects.
Number and quality of new ideas generated could be another way to measure creativity.
6. Process Completion Rate
This is essentially a measurement of how long it takes to complete a process.
Ideally, with robots working alongside your employees, a process should take much faster to get to completion.
Measure the completion rate of processes before and after your RPA deployment.
Get an average across time intervals, such as seasons and deadlines, to get accurate estimates. Remember to account for the work that robots are doing “off hours” that humans aren’t able to do.
This is a powerful metric to track because depending on the process being automated, it could amount to some serious productivity and financial gains.
For instance, in eCommerce, RPA could be introduced to automate cancellation process for orders placed and cancelled online, resulting in massive savings in staff time and in money.
7. Error Rates
One of the promised benefits of robotic process automation is it can drastically reduce or eliminate error-prone data entry.
And fewer errors mean fewer compliance problems.
So, it makes sense to measure how much errors are generated per end-to-end process over a period of time.
Monitor how many compliance deficiencies or errors occur and compare against when the task was performed by humans over the same period.
Quantify this metric by the number of errors and by the cost to fix those errors.
8. Manual Work Savings
Let’s face it, the introduction of automation is the elimination of manual work.
Thus it makes sense to track the amount of manual work has been saved.
Once a process has been automated, the manual work initially required to complete that same process can be measured. The cost of hiring, training, and salary should be included in this measurement.
For organisations, this could result in spending more resources to hire professionals with creative, decision making, and emotional intelligence skills rather than hiring for simple manual tasks.
9. Existing Automation Tools/Application Savings
This is an interesting one because there is that possibility that some form of automation already existed before your organisation introduces robotic process automation.
Currently, I am working on a global project that has several automation tools in different regions all doing the same thing.
Existing automation tools could be macros, scripts, web applications etc. However, the beauty of RPAs is the ability to centralize automation, operate and monitor your Robots from a single dashboard.
So before you deploy your RPA system, take note of the number of existing automation tools and efforts (including manual efforts) necessary to complete a given process.
Approximate the cost of each tool Include licensing fees, costs of upkeep and development, and resources spent training employees to use these tools.
Compare all these against your robotic automation efforts.
Although RPA platforms have associated costs, because you can operate robots centrally rather than from individual machines, all those costs should ideally be lower.
Other Related Questions
Do you still have questions about RPA that you’d like to be addressed?
Below, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions:
1. What is the difference between traditional IT automation and RPA?
Traditional IT Automation usually requires a lot of human resources, time, effort and cost, whereas RPA is implemented very quickly to generate improvements instantly.
Though the goal of both systems is to achieve Automation, RPA is faster, better, cheaper, and more accurate than traditional automation. Moreover, traditional IT automation might use a legacy system.
2. What’s the difference between chatbot and RPA?
A chatbot is a bot programmed to chat with a user (a human customer), but RPA is a bot that automates routine business tasks like data collection and analysis.
A chatbot can often be programmed to feed other systems, including RPA, with useful data. However, it can’t replicate RPA features.
3. Does RPA disturb the existing infrastructure of a system?
RPA does not. One of its strong selling points is that it seamlessly integrates with your existing IT software. It doesn’t require lines of code or any other modification to the existing IT system.
4. How can I be sure that RPA is a secure and reliable approach?
RPA isn’t built in a way that it can harm a system — like a virus built to proliferate a system. Rather, it is a program that is installed on the system and runs using the already-existing interface. Since it requires less human input, it is hardly possible for anyone to manipulate it.
5. What is information collection in RPA?
RPA bots need to access data, which they can process to useful, organized, and reliable information. To achieve this, the bots either access data based on the way it’s programmed, or data can be supplied to it manually.