In the last few years, automation has given rise to an era of “machines”—from virtual assistants to predictive algorithms. Organizations of every size and in every industry are automating their processes and for good reason.
Robotic process automation (RPA) was a $680M market in 2018 and forecasted to cross $7B by 2024. Why? In short, because getting things done is painful, both for consumers and for businesses, and RPA helps optimize productivity.
The foundations and algorithms that make automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning possible have not changed much over time. So why now? Why is the RPA market booming and set to skyrocket in the next five years?
Because today we have tremendous computational power, via services like AWS cloud services for example. We have increased internet speed, lower cost of memory, and because the cost of processing power is much more manageable today than 40 years ago.
RPA helps organizations accomplish more
RPA enables organizations to automate processes and enables employees to devote more time to higher value work over time. Any high-volume and mundane processes that are carried out with defined rules can be streamlined through RPA.
- Accuracy: When performing repetitive tasks, no matter how well-trained, humans tend to make mistakes. RPA can streamline these tasks and is designed to eliminate human error.
- Compliance: In compliance, the ability to perform repetitive tasks without errors is paramount.
- Reduction in the workforce: RPA enables you to divert your workforce to more complex tasks that require knowledge and insight.
- Reduction in processing costs: An end-to-end RPA solution can be implemented within a couple of months and can reduce costs up to 80 percent.
- No disruption of existing processes: Arguably, the most attractive feature of RPA is that it can integrate with your existing infrastructure and be implemented without having to remove the existing infrastructure.
- High scalability: RPA can be implemented on demand and can accommodate even fast-changing business environments with ease, irrespective of geographies. You can also expand it with minimal investments.
RPA is especially attractive for companies because it can offer up to 200 percent ROI in the first year of its implementation.
Delivering solutions not answers
RPA has infinite applications, here are just a few examples.
Chatbots, virtual assistants, or automated online assistants help organizations drastically improve the customer (and employee) experience. These technologies can provide around-the-clock support to resolve customer disputes, answer questions, and prevent escalations. Only the most complex questions and queries need to be attended by a person.
Take UPS, for example. If I want to track my package, I am prompted for a tracking number. Chances are I don’t have my tracking number readily available. A chatbot can simplify the process.
Chatbots can help brands increase their brand engagement by reaching their audience on the social media platforms they visit most. Wizeline built chatbots for the the Rugby World Cup Sevens and the Australian Open 2018 to engage with fans, increase brand awareness, and boost sponsorship opportunities.
Business Process Operations (BPOs)
RPA can also play a key role in process automation for CRM, ERP, and supply-chain management. It can play a significant role in inventory management, planning, quote, invoice and contract management, work-order management, and processing.
RPA, AI, and chatbots
RPA does not have the ability to learn and grow over time like AI. Without being fed the data, RPA does not have the capability to learn on its own and adapt the process with time and changing needs.
AI has the capability to extract relevant data from unstructured data. It can scan through a customer complaint and determine what kind of complaint it is, what it is about, and can even suggest solutions. RPA, however, is limited to highly-structured data or processes.
RPA is all about automating repetitive tasks. Chatbots provide a practical and cost-effective way to answer customer queries. Wizeline has implemented several chatbots that integrate with a company’s existing knowledge base. These chatbots have been deployed to:
- Open service tickets and provide troubleshooting information on varied topics.
- Seek information on a specific topic (news, sports, interesting facts, courses).
- Provide immediate responses to customer-specific information such as product availability, shipping status, and troubleshooting help.
Chatbots are not a standalone solution. They are a compelling solution to automate repetitive tasks, reduce cost, and human resources.
RPA is the elusive bridge between higher productivity and quality, lower costs, and high ROI. While some are concerned that RPA results in job loss, if implemented with forethought and planning, RPA allows companies to re-engage their workforce in more interesting and meaningful tasks.
Next time, we’ll continue with examining what the key trends in the robust RPA market for 2019 and beyond. Stay tuned.
Stello provides solutions, not answers, to problems your organization may be facing. To see how robotic process automation can become part of your business strategy, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or fill out our contact form and let’s start the conversation.