Our lives are now dominated by technological advances – at home and in the workplace. Robotic Process Automation is next.
“Danger, Will Robinson…”
For those of you who remember this phrase, it brings back good memories of the TV show “Lost in Space” and Robot B9.
How many of us thought how cool it would be to have a robot who could talk and do many of those tasks that we really did not want to do?
In this age of technology, that has become more of a reality than any of us could have ever imagined. Our home lives are now dominated by technological advances such as Siri, Google Home, and Alexa, and we have been seeing the same thing transform our business environments as well.
Robotics in the Workplace
Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is becoming a common part of the workplace for some organizations while many others are just starting their journey towards process automation. While not being the solution to every automation need, RPA technologies provide the “robots” to automate many human activities.
Essentially, bots, acting as human agents, can perform rules-based, repetitive tasks and do so with a higher degree of accuracy and more rapidly than the humans themselves.
Let’s look at a real-world banking example from a large Midwestern bank we are partnering with in the robotics space.
By leveraging a bot, our client was able to reduce the amount of time spent on a portion of their loan review process from 20 minutes per loan to an activity that, on average, runs in about 6 minutes with the aid of RPA. This frees up the loan reviewer to focus on other tasks that require a deeper level of subject matter knowledge and expertise.
Similarly, through automation and the use of scheduled bots, we are averaging 45 minutes saved each morning on the daily DDA balancing process. This allows the employee to begin their day further on in the process – and reduces the overall time it takes to complete the process.
The reports are ready when the employee walks in the door rather than having to wait for them before continuing with the process.
RPA Solution Considerations
Although RPA can provide significant gains for an organization, it can’t be seen as a technical solution alone. A few things to consider when implementing an RPA solution:
- Make sure you’re not just automating a process that should first be improved
- Make room for Organizational Change Management (OCM) and IT Service Management (ITSM)
When an organization decides to participate in the RPA revolution, employees may start to worry that the use of automation will lead to a reduction in the need of their expertise – downsizing. Although this can be a part of the ROI, in many cases, an RPA initiative can actually lead to greater opportunities for the staff to take on new responsibilities or learn new skills that will come in handy in other parts of their team or the larger organization.
By eliminating the mundane parts of the job, employees can focus on more value-added activities.
To effectively manage the expectations of management and the teams impacted by automation, it’s important to put in place a well thought-out, communicated, and executed OCM plan. This will be key to the success of the overall program.
Additionally, as more processes are considered for automation, an organization must think about ways to effectively implement and support these automations as they are moved to a production environment, especially if the bots are being created and managed outside of the traditional IT team, (i.e., within an Operations group).
You’ll want to consider applying ITSM and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes to effectively manage changes, incidents, and problems, at a minimum. Having these processes in place can also ensure your organization effectively and efficiently manages your environment – from inception to usage of the automation.
As the saying goes, “the future is now.” The use of robotics to perform work-related tasks is no longer someone’s vision, it is a reality.
We no longer must listen to Dr. Zachary Smith tell Robot B9, “Oh, the pain, the pain.” The pain has been replaced by the pleasure of robotic automaton.