16 Nisan 2020 Perşembe

RPA at a Glance

Dear Friends,

Today, I want to show a brief outlook about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as it is one of the most emerging concepts for the last few years. I will try to discuss what RPA is, why it is needed and what the benefits it is presenting to the today's business life. 

Few decades ago, the companies realized that they were outsourcing some of the repetitive tasks to other companies. For those, they were allocating important amount of budget and for sure human interaction. They have discovered that they could use physical robots predominantly in the manufacturing sector to overcome this process. After the great success of the robots and the improvement on the precision and efficiency, a couple of decades later the business professionals started to use them in the digital world by calling it RPA which is mainly powered by a software. According to a report, by 2030 47% of the jobs in US will be automated, without any doubt, with the support of the robots.     

According to Investopedia, RPA refers to a software that can be easily programmed to do basic tasks across applications just as human workers do. The software robot can be taught a workflow with multiple steps and applications, such as taking received forms, sending a receipt message, checking the form for completeness, filing the form in a folder and updating a spreadsheet with the name of the form, the date filed, and so on. RPA software is designed to reduce the burden of repetitive, simple tasks on employees.

As it is understood from the definition there are significant benefits for both the enterprises and the employees. These are:
- Reduced cost
- Increased speed
- Better compliance
- Higher quality services
- Increased agility and
- Improved employee experience.

Though, it has major positive impacts on the work we do, there are some costs that the companies should care about. These are stated as:
- Platform fees
- Monitoring
- Maintaining and
- Retraining.

To act better in RPA, the coders should be well aware of the nature of work. The tasks converted to RPA must be rule based and there shouldn't be any intelligence to play role. Now, the RPA developers try to optimize artifical intelligence (AI) backed RPA systems, but we must admit that we are not so much mature in that field. Thereof, the RPA coders should tell each and every action to RPA tool very clearly and specifically.   

The coders should begin with structured data such as excel files rather than unstructured ones such as scanned documents. No doubt, the full time employee (FTE) gain will be substantially higher in the unstructured documents (if you use any OCR tech), but for a good start and quick wins, structured data demonstrate better results and increase motivation for the company. 

Now, we can talk about the primary use-cases of RPA. There are numerous use-cases in different sectors, however the best ones are usually centralized among the following fields:
- Customer service
- Human resources management
- Procurement
- Finance and accounting and
- Internal auditing.

If we deep dive in some of the above, we come across the following sub-fields:
- Payroll procedures
- Order management
- Billing
- Compliance with the regulatory bodies
- Reconciliation
- Account opening
- Report generation and mailing
- Insurance processes
- Invoice processing and
- Contract management.

You can surely develop your RPA software. However, the companies often buy it from one of the developers. According to the Forrester Wave 2019 Q4 Report, the benchmark of the vendors are posted as the following chart. 

Forrester Wave 2019 Q4 Report for RPA Developers 

Finally, we can understand where the companies stand in RPA maturity, as stated from the below chart. It is clearly seen that, as the size of the company increases the maturity level of the RPA usage emerges as well. 

RPA Adoption and Investment Rate

To sum up, RPA is an emerging technology, which will be emerged to AI backed RPA soon. However, for the time being there are many important use cases, to be adopted to the companies which will surely make them save substantial costs. 

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