Robotic Process Automation uses software robots or bots to perform repetitive, low-value tasks across software systems. Here’s what you need to know about RPA.
Robots are all around us in manufacturing production lines, warehouses, and restaurant kitchens.
Many only complete repetitive physical tasks unsuitable or too dangerous for humans.
Yet, employees still waste over 10% of their time on repetitive, low-value tasks like data entry, replying to emails, and chasing colleagues for approvals.
To achieve automated efficiency at the office and improve business processes, companies are increasingly adopting robotic process automation (RPA).
Through software robots, RPA is reshaping the future of corporate support functions, freeing employees time to focus on higher-value work, improve productivity, and reduce costs.
But what is RPA, and how can it benefit your business?
This guide will walk you through the basics of RPA, its benefits and use cases, and how you can implement it to gain outsized results.
Robotic Process Automation is an automation technology using software robots or bots to perform repetitive, low-value tasks across software systems.
This new generation of smarter, more flexible robots perform business functions in unstructured environments, including diverse, rote, and high-volume tasks.
The bots mimic how employees perform front- and back-office tasks, and execute a wide range of defined actions like:
But bots work faster, more consistently, and at lower cost than people.
RPA automates rule-based activities and transactions using software bots that run on a server or virtual machine (VM) in the cloud. RPA bots mimic most human-computer interactions to perform tasks at high volumes and speeds.
RPA works best when handling repetitive, rule-based processes that:
For instance, logging into applications, extracting content from documents, or opening emails and attachments.
Inscribe’s intelligent document automation streamlines tedious, time-consuming, and manual tasks such as account opening or underwriting. This way, banks, realtors, and insurance companies can reduce application processing times and fraud while approving more customers.
Advanced bots execute cognitive tasks like interpreting text, engaging customers in conversations, and making complex decisions using advanced machine learning models.
RPA tools require little to no coding, so your IT team won’t need hours of engineering time to automate a single process.
In fact, anyone in the organization can learn to identify an automatable process, create their own simple automation, and work with or alongside a bot to achieve efficiency.
As these “virtual humans” take up the repetitive and mundane activities, employees can focus on complex, higher-value work. Business leaders also accelerate digital transformation efforts while generating a higher return on investment (ROI).
Interest and activity in robotic process automation is growing. A Deloitte survey found that 78% of business leaders have already implemented RPA, while another 16% plan to do so by 2023.
RPA’s ease of implementation and quantifiable value make it attractive to business owners in different industries who want to address specific operational issues using digital technologies.
From marketing and human resources to finance and customer service, RPA offers several financial and non-financial benefits. For instance, it has:
There’s a lot of confusion over the differences between RPA and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as how they work together.
The difference lies in their functions:
RPA and AI are critical to driving operational efficiency and transforming businesses. They work in tandem to expand automation into new areas so you can automate more and complex tasks in your organization.
For example, a health insurance company can use RPA and AI to identify high-risk patients from their clinical processes. RPA bots can process documents with handwritten or digital text, relieving employees of reviewing each document manually to extract data for patient analysis.
From there, the company can use machine learning (ML) models to:
Here, the health insurance company combines RPA, AI, and ML to form an intelligent automation (IA) system.
IA expands on RPA functionality to automate complex business processes faster, and more efficiently for better service delivery.
As a business leader, you need to understand where to apply RPA to reap the biggest rewards and drive meaningful value to the entire organization.
A classic candidate for RPA is a process that's:
With these characteristics in mind, let’s look at the business areas where RPA can have the biggest impact.
The demands and sheer scale of day-to-day transactional activities in different industries make the finance sector ripe for automation.
Accounts and finance teams spend long hours on error-prone manual calculations.
RPA automates clerical tasks like preparing journal entries, underwriting and account opening, audit requests, consolidations, payroll, inquiry processing, anti-money laundering, and reporting. This gives employees more time to focus on essential, judgment-based work.
The resulting benefits include higher efficiency, reduced risk and costs, and increased employee morale.
The HR function also needs its own tech-enabled transformation.
RPA bots can support on- and off-boarding procedures, timesheet administration, payroll, record keeping, and other transactional activities while algorithm-based technologies can handle talent sourcing.
However, HR service centers are now implementing conversational AI platforms, such as cognitive agents and chatbots. These platforms provide 24/7 coverage, managing inquiries about record-keeping and benefits administration.
Insurers assess, price, and manage insured risk for millions of customers.
From underwriting to customer service, RPA helps insurance providers automate manual, repetitive, error-prone, and document-intensive processes that keep them from delivering core services effectively.
RPA bots can improve risk exposure assessment by analyzing thousands of policy and reinsurance documents. The bots extract and aggregate policy data, and prepare reports for faster claims processing.
Intelligent automation reduces call times and wait times while providing consistent transaction monitoring to streamline customer support.
RPA in real estate provides opportunities to enhance client services, improve property listing quality, and eliminate monotonous workday routines.
Bots parse complex data sets to better match properties relevant to your clients’ wish lists. That way, your real estate agents can focus on higher-value tasks and client outreach.
Bots can also keep your online listings up-to-date as they scan the system for property availability, adding or removing them based on your criteria. Plus, you can easily build bots that send automatic reminders to clients and keep them informed about upcoming appointments.
Getting started with RPA is a long-term journey of creating operational and cultural change in your business.
Take small, measurable steps to scale and optimize business processes across the entire organization and achieve rapid results.
Let our AI-powered software automate parsing, classification, and data matching on application documents via our easy-to-use API. This makes it easy to streamline your account opening or underwriting processes, and ensures you remain compliant. Get started with your RPA journey today by reaching out to our sales team.