How to apply RPA technologies to automate business processes

Managing a company can be a tough call, and after some time, bottlenecks in the form of mundane manual tasks show up, waiting to be downsized and automated. There are many ways to automate processes in a given organization; robots are just there to make our work easier and more manageable. Applying the BPA and RPA systems is among the automation approaches, and in this article, we’ll be taking a quick look at which one is better to use.

BPA and RPA – what’s the difference?

Business Process Automation is a business solution that helps make the daily work routine of employees more efficient. BPA systems are organized individually for each business, and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions here. To do this, experts analyze your daily business processes and determine how they can restructure them and make them more efficient. The main task here is to save working hours spent on manual labor and to systematize and unify each business process requiring decision-making. For instance:  placing an order, sending an order, calling a client, collecting feedback, and so on.

Robotic Process Automation is a more technological form of business process automation. The gist of RPA is that most simple and routine tasks are transferred to the computer: auto-dialing, filling out documentation, creating reports, sending emails, creating reminders in the calendar, and chatbots for communicating with clients. In essence, this is a robotized repetition of the workers’ actions performed by the bot through the user interface.

Such automation saves working time and eliminates the possibility of errors caused by fatigue, inattention, or even a bad mood. At the same time, the most interesting, responsible, and creative tasks remain, and now have more time dedicated to them. For example, successful negotiations, the conclusion of transactions, market analysis for company expansion, risk assessment, and increased sales. Sounds pretty enticing, doesn’t it?

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Reasons for the rise of RPA technologies in business

RPA is a technology designed to automate the routine of office workers. Acceleration of data entry into various systems, performing simple templated actions within an account and other operations without requiring human intervention – these are things you can expect from RPA technologies. It is no wonder that many large companies in the global market have already set up the automation of their business processes. The main reasons are clear: lower costs and increased efficiency.

But there are several more important advantages of RPA tech that are not noticeable at first glance. For example, introducing a couple of RPA tools into your system pays off much faster than developing customized software. Moreover, their structure presumes no need to rebuild existing processes and systems in the company. It is RPA technologies that adapt to the processes, and not vice versa. As a result, software development requires minimal use of coding and delivers maximum automation of tasks.

The indisputable plus of this approach is that RPA technologies are approachable and user-friendly, even for fresh specialists with little programming experience. Simultaneously, top-level programmers can switch to more complex and exciting creative tasks that require BPA thinking.

Step-by-step workflow for implementing RPA

Consider a real-world example: let’s say the workflow before the introduction of RPA included four steps and required specific action from at least 3 participants.

  1. An accountant manager receives a request.
  2. An employee checks the request for relevance, completeness, and correctness by pulling and comparing data from several accounting systems.
  3. If the request checks with all three characteristics, the employee processes it, simultaneously changing several interconnected systems during the processing.
  4. An employee sends a letter to the customer with the request processing results.

After implementing an RPA tool, processing the request reduces the process to two steps: the first is performed by a robot and the second by a bank employee. The robot starts and sequentially performs all formal operations of the process:

  • Automatically selects a new request;
  • checks for data completeness and verifies it by making requests to all the involved accounting systems, logging all performed operations, and registering all deviations and exceptions separately;
  • executes the request according to its type, makes necessary changes to the accounting systems, automatically logs all performed procedures, and registers all deviations and exceptions separately;
  • finally, after completing the processing, the bot sends a letter to the customer and an email/notification to the employee with reports of the performed work.

The only thing the employee has to do is to check the protocols and make corrections only if necessary. Side benefit: all data for further reporting will also be generated automatically.

Which industries can benefit the most from automation using RPA technologies?

RPA tools apply to almost any situation requiring user interaction with an IT or web system. RPA does not have a clear industry direction and simply focuses on solving specific work tasks that consume the employee’s time and effort. Examples of such tasks can be found in almost every industry; let’s look at them in more detail. 

HR

An RPA bot can scan websites for CVs that include specific characteristics. It zeroes in on a suitable one, automatically generates an invitation for a meeting, sends it to the candidate, and notifies the recruiter with an email including the candidate’s resumé. In addition, the bot can automatically place data about the hired employee into the company’s accounting systems. In case of their dismissal, it can correctly and accurately change their status and do all this in full compliance with the company’s policies. In summary, the examples of applying RPA in HR workflows are:

  • CV and candidate search
  • Document preparation and verification
  • Generating job offers 

LOGISTICS

A use case example: an RPA program collects and processes information posted on the websites of transportation companies, forms a pool of orders and monitors their statuses, and manages the data inputs from different communication channels. So, the ways of using RPA in logistics can include:

  • Creating and tracking orders
  • Order management
  • Transport management

E-COMMERCE

The RPA bot can monitor prices and offers and collect publicly available content from competitors’ websites, such as keywords, products, services, reviews, and rankings. See more data aggregation and comparison examples on the retail and e-commerce page

FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING

This is by far the most natural area for applying RPA. Here, the range of applications of robots can start from loading initial input into the customer’s financial and accounting systems and uploading transactions and bank statements to the system. But accounting RPAs can also generate reconciliation acts, start initial processing of orders and integrate with legacy and low-level systems that have no software interfaces or are unavailable. 

IT

RPA in the IT industry can be used for:

  • Testing
  • Backing up and restoring data
  • Recognition of documents and images

As we can see, the benefits of RPA are clear: with its client-side approach, significantly less implementation effort is required compared to server-side automation. All in all, thanks to the automated RPA process, you are almost guaranteed to get:

  • 24/7/365 work
  • Accurate and fast execution of tasks
  • Reduced costs for routine tasks
  • Flexible control of productivity
  • Relatively quick payoffs
  • Fast process of modifying the algorithm of work

All of the above task automation examples can be applied to most industries. The only question is whether a particular company is ready to invest in its development. This is why, among other things, most published RPA-related business cases are typically within industries such as consulting, telecommunications, government, and insurance. But RPA automation projects don’t have to be complicated: you can try the simplest RPA tools for free to see for yourself how easy it is to automate tasks on the web and add them to your business workflows.


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