Robotic process automation
Robotic process automation (hereinafter: “RPA”) helps with the optimization of business processes. RPA is based on tools that enable the execution of all actions usually performed by an employee of the company, regardless of the informatic system used.
RPA technology used for process automation has three important components.
At large extent, the process must be precisely defined and structured.
Costs of RPA platform and development of robotic software are compared with current costs of the process. It is important to estimate complexity and stability of the process, necessary skills / education to perform this process, as well as the number of repetitions.
Other benefits of the robotic software are considered, e.g. consistency of results, minimization of errors, speed, job positions not attractive to employees etc.
RPA tends to replicate human interaction with computer systems, plainly the goal is to automate the processes, so the tasks performed by an individual in the computer systems of the company are transferred to the robotic software. All the actions performed by an employee, using the mouse and / or keyboard, should be done by the robotic software. It is important to emphasize that the goal is not to replace the employees nor completely automate all processes, but to automate the repetitive tasks not requiring human decision. This way, employees are exempt of time-consuming, routine jobs and companies can reduce their operating costs.
RPA is applicable in almost all business domains, especially in the following domains / processes:
Accountancy – e.g. the entire process of posting accounts can be automated by using RPA.
Finance – e.g. in the banks, the processes of posting loans or risk assessments can be automated by using RPA.
Sending reports to external authority bodies – e.g. daily reports to regulatory authorities;
Generating internal reports and documents etc.
Often, the question of RPA being an opportunity or a threat arises. In my opinion, RPA is certainly an opportunity, primarily for reducing costs and mistakes, but also an opportunity for efficient management of business processes. The goal is for employees to engage in more “intelligent” part of business processes and improve them with necessary human decision making. As Bill Gates says: „The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.“