The data is in. If current trends continue, most, if not all, global businesses will be using at least some form of automation within the next decade, and it’s not difficult to see why. Automation tech, in which an otherwise person-performed task is set up to be repeated by computers, greatly simplifies and speeds work, saving businesses money and time and freeing up talent of the human variety for higher-level, income-generating activities.
Companies leading the way in automation are focusing on business process automation (BPA), a holistic organizational approach that focuses on end-to-end automation of business processes and workflows and robotic process automation (RPA), which utilizes software that automates specific tasks on a granular level.
Potential applications for these technologies are vast and quickly growing, and they include myriad market sectors. Many industries are a natural fit for automation, all but crying out for the simplification and cash savings afforded by the right kind of RPA and/or BPA. Below, we highlight use cases for this technology from four different verticals and discuss how RPA and BPA can benefit them.
RPA in the Finance Industry
Few industries are as primed for automation as numbers-heavy finance.
In a recent blog post, Joe Greenhalgh of 2Go Companies writes:
Far too often, FP&A teams find themselves bogged down in manual, repetitive tasks such as data entry, moving files and folders, copying and pasting between and within applications, logging into and retrieving data from multiple systems, etc.
All that time would be better used focusing on client portfolios and business strategy, extracting the true potential of human capital by freeing FP&A teams from the drudgery of manual tasks.
Luckily, RPA is able to automate many such processes by mimicking the mouse movements and/or keystrokes of a person, making such software capable of taking over logins, logouts, attachment openings, drop-down-menu selection, form pre-population, and data consolidation.
Another plus? RPA requires no fancy, bespoke hardware and can be implemented without essentially changing the existing IT landscape.
DocumentsRobotic process automation used in document management is another significant boon to the finance industry. By digitizing the reams of stored documents needed for regulatory compliance, finance professionals can unlock the data stored in paper documents, making it both searchable and meaningful for data-driven decision making.
Elsewhere in finance, RPA can be used to automate various aspects of mortgage processing, credit card processing, fraud detection, collections, deposits and more. It can save huge amounts of time validating information on credit card applications, and save untold sums of money, significant headache (and jobs) by detecting patterns indicative
of fraud and stopping fraudulent transactions.
RPA can also streamline the financial client onboarding process and digitize backup documentation management including classification, extraction, and ongoing aggregate data management to reduce decision cycle time.
RPA in the Retail Industry
Far from putting humans at risk of losing their jobs, RPA complements living, breathing workers, and this fact is seen clearly in customer-service applications across industries. Rather than put patients on endless-seeming, Muzak-filled holds when they call for prescription refills, for example, a pharmacy group might use RPA to create virtual customer-service agents. These quick-answering bots can receive data input via voice recognition or keypad strokes and direct calls to the right person at the pharmacy, freeing up human workers to complete higher-level tasks.
Another instantly available bot, this time on a telecommunications-company site, might gather and relay requested information securely to
customers who would otherwise wait 20 minutes for a human representative.
RPA can further enhance the relationship between companies and customers by reminding the former when it’s time to make contact with the latter.
“For example, it can trigger a notification when it’s time
to follow up with certain customers or if a customer has submitted a complaint, or send automated messages to customers regarding new products,”
writes entrepreneur Ashley Hudson in a piece for eneterprisersproject.com.
BPA and RPA solutions can make sense of data streaming in from multiple data sources, consolidating that data into a searchable database that yields revenue-generating insights. Integrated solutions around supply chain and billing efficiencies can streamline logistics and unearth time- and money-saving insights. RPA can also consolidate disparate systems to better track inventory and data for more accurate billing and revenue recognition.
RPA in HR
New-employee onboarding is among one of the most time-consuming tasks undertaken by IT and human resources departments, but it could take far fewer man (and woman) hours with the use of automation.
For instance, an integrated document management system use machine learning algorithms to take data from employee application management
systems and enter it into the necessary HR automation system (such as a payroll system) when a new hire begins work. This eliminates the need
to manually transfer this information and frees up valuable time for the HR department in the process.
At the same time, business process automation can help cut down on human error in onboarding, potentially saving money and time for an
organization down the line. Rather than relying on verbal information from the boss about a new hire’s salary or employment type, for example,
BPA would enter the information correctly the first time, eliminating room for miscommunication and misunderstanding.
RPA in Healthcare
Improving patient care and experience is routinely a top priority of hospital systems. RPA can help there, too. Patients seeking to schedule appointments with physicians could (and frequently already do) schedule them via online bots, which have access to doctors’ schedules, specialties, locations and more.
Automation has enormous potential to reduce misunderstanding among patients, thus improving the quality and accuracy of patient self-care. In
a recent study of individuals discharged from emergency rooms at an Ottawa hospital, “nearly one quarter (24.4%) of patients had no or poor
understanding of their follow-up plan.” RPA software can help ensure discharge instruction and medication and dosage accuracy by sending patients electronic reminders about prescription pick-ups, upcoming appointments, and treatment plans.
Charts. Not to be overlooked is the vast potential of BPA and RPA in healthcare documentation management. Digitization of paper records
allows healthcare organizations to make speedier decisions, focus more closely on patient care, and manage patient and clinical records in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements.
Ripcord Powers BPA and RPA
Both business process automation and robotic process automation rely entirely on high-quality data and the insights that analysis of it deliver. Where can you get this data? The good news is that you likely already have it. It is currently trapped in file cabinets, bankers boxes, and storerooms in your company. What you need is a strategic partner that can help you unlock that data easily.