Robotic process automation (RPA) has the potential to to create major improvements in cost, quality, productivity, and speed of business operations, according to a recent report from The Hackett Group.
The technology—which analysts began studying about five years ago—offers the ability to deploy quickly, with reduced dependency on IT for implementation and support, according to the report. Some vendors have claimed to use RPA to deliver as much as 60-80% in savings. The automation technology can also reduce errors common in human-performed work, and allow companies to refocus their human talent on higher-value tasks, the report noted.
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ShipMonk, an ecommerce fulfilment provider, is no stranger to robotics and automation. It uses these technologies to reduce its picking and packing times and to drive revenues, CEO Jan Bednar said. The company is also no stranger to soothing employee fears about job losses due to the introduction of these technologies.
When ShipMonk deployed a robotics process automation application, “I told my employees that they would have nothing to fear due to automation for two reasons," Bednar said. "First, we have an environment that is very conducive to continued education. Employees who were interested in receiving training in the maintenance and operation of these robotics could absolutely receive it.” Second, he said: “I was very transparent with them that our investment in robotics would mean more growth and less hires — but not job cuts.”
Visit any website focused on business software and you’ll find robotic process automation (RPA). And for good reason: RPA software has proven to reliably reduce costs by removing manual work from various business workflows and processes.
But is RPA adoption all enterprises need to automate their business processes? What else does process automation have in store other than RPA? To answer these questions, it helps to understand where RPA technologies came from and at what capabilities they now offer.
There’s a lot being said about robots these days and about Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA describes a software development toolkit that allows non-engineers to quickly create software robots (commonly known as “bots”) to automate rules-driven business processes by replacing human effort to complete tasks. Since RPA is trending, it’s given business audiences reason to think – is this new and emerging type of automation replacing other “gold standard” types of automation such as Business Process Automation?
Call it digital transformation, digital disruption, digital operations or digital process automation. No matter what term an organization uses to describe automation technology, the goal the same everywhere: to harness the power of digital to elevate the customer journey and drive end-to-end business outcomes.