As enterprises become more complex, and success increasingly depends on streamlining operations, it becomes imperative to invest in emerging technologies that enhance efficiency and facilitate improved decision-making in the back-office. Robotics Process Automation (RPA) brings you one step closer to this goal by significantly reducing turnaround time, interacting with multiple applications in a non-intrusive manner, and enhancing accuracy and reliability. With its ability to stitch an automation story across multiple application environments, it streamlines your back-office operations, making it possible to realign your value proposition to meet changing customer expectations and thrive in a dynamic business environment.
Over the last three decades, corporates across the world baselined their operations through painstaking trial and error—getting their workforce strategy right, trying out every permutation and combination of onsite, offshore, part-time, permanent, and contingent resources. However, the concept of digital workforce is set to redefine industry standards on offshoring and workforce management and disrupt the way businesses approach back-office operations and workforce management.
Workforce automation through RPA has the potential to reengineer business processes by taking over rule-based and logical tasks with no or minimal human input, and in the process freeing up skilled resources for more strategic work. RPA is your answer to automate high-volume, low-complexity routine tasks, be it data entry, data processing, or logical SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) tasks.
Robotic Process Automation is considered an easy way to optimize operational costs, eliminate keying errors and speed up processes. It also helps link business applications together through workflow-based connects in a non-intrusive manner at the UI level. Many businesses across the sectors, have utilized RPA to automate tasks right from basic administration to financial and non-financial requests for their customer segments. NIIT Technologies’ clients’ in the Banking and Financial Services sector have experienced almost 70% reduction in time spent for carrying out these transactions, while also reducing manual effort that went into various low complexity tasks.
Just as the use of offshoring to create labor arbitrage was the big disruptor at the beginning of this century, the new business disruptor, as per Gartner, is automation arbitrage and the recalibration of human labor to drive business outcomes. A big question for enterprise architects is where RPA is a good fit. RPA is a good fit with rule-based tasks, with structured digitized inputs that are stable over long periods of time, having a defined logic incorporated into them. RPA can be effectively used by teams and individuals who:
RPA is considered to add significant value to organizations that have complex legacy system that cannot be easily replaced by introducing more robust, innovative, and cost-efficient delivery mechanisms.
Industries like Travel and Transportation, Logistics, Banking and Financial Services, Insurance, and Media stand to gain immensely from an RPA implementation. RPA can also be used across horizontals like Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, etc.
Off late, RPA technologies have been seeing a lot of demand in the market, driven mainly by a few factors. It is a very easy technology to understand and is extremely fast in implementation and showing returns. While an IT automation project would extend over months, and require years to show returns on the investment made, an RPA implementation lasts a few weeks, and can show returns on investment in a matter of months.
Automating back-office processes, in addition to labor cost reduction, also frees up highly skilled workers to focus on more high-value tasks. A McKinsey reports suggests that half of the time spent by the workforce in finance and insurance is devoted to collecting and processing data.
Some of the key benefits that businesses can expect from RPA include:
In mimicking human actions on the computer, RPA software robots can capture data, interact with existing applications to process the data, trigger responses, then interact with other digital systems across the business to generate outcomes, and even maintain audit logs and send acknowledgement emails.
Let us look at how RPA can impact various sectors:
Travel and Transportation: Having access to the right information, at the right time, to be able to offer a more personalized experience to the customer is the mainstay of the travel industry. Given that the sector is amid a digitization phase, companies are leaving no stone unturned to deliver enhanced customer experiences despite challenges like disparate systems, employee attrition, and lack of applied analytics for better insights. In such a situation, RPA can help enhance efficiency and bring in economies of scale to processes including ticketing, cancellations/exchanges, refunds, MIS and analytics, invoicing, schedule changes, and IRROPS management.
Insurance: Insurance companies have traditionally been slow to any modernization efforts. However, insurance companies, given the need to connect with the digitally equipped customer, cope with volume fluctuations, adhere to regulatory and compliance requirements, and remain relevant in an increasingly competitive environment, are looking at emerging technologies to bring in process efficiencies and ensure business growth. And while the sector has experimented with techniques like process re-engineering, Six Sigma, and Lean methodologies, they continue to be affected by these challenges. By implementing RPA, insurers can streamline their operations and gain required scalability and flexibility while adhering to compliance. Ideally, processes like policy endorsements, renewal, issuance, premium rejection, underwriting support, compliance checks, and claims bulk payment processing are some areas where RPA can make a significant contribution.
Banking and Finance: By implementing RPA, financial institutions and banks can speed up and streamline back-office operations, reduce turnaround time and costs, and free up resources for engaging in customer-focused areas. This in turn can help in reducing the stress from increasing competition, workflow disconnects, inaccurate reporting, and help banks to manage operational challenges better. Financial organizations can effectively implement RPA in processes like fraud detection, accrual support, multiple data entry and data movement, mortgage approval, account reconciliation, report generation across systems, e-form extraction, credit note accounting entry, and processing credit cards.
Media: With the growth of media and the proliferation of content, media channels become more fragmented and media consumers more empowered. While this has created multiple revenue streams for media companies, it has also increased the pressure to reduce costs and economize to stay competitive. RPA can help media organizations streamline back-office operations and also free up resources for building the digital business. Processes suitable for RPA in the media industry include Ad Order Entry and Ad booking, Finance and Accounting operations, database cleansing, high volume data entry, error review, and back-end automation.
While RPA as a technology is still evolving, it is generating a serious amount of buzz as a simple tool, which when applied to processes can lead to significant increase in efficiency and accuracy. Robotics-as-a-Service is emerging as a business model with great potential riding on the concept of Internet of Things and granting robots access to communication resources, storage, and cognitive computing powers. RPA solution providers are bundling capabilities to offer end-to-end engagement frameworks. NIIT Technologies’ TESSSM is one such framework that goes a step beyond building robots as a vendor to developing a deep, long-term RPA partnership. Based on the four pillars of Transform, Enable, Standardize, and Scale, TESS leverages NIIT Technologies’ experience, domain expertise, and methodologies to embark on a holistic RPA journey.
Basis NIIT Technologies RPA implementation experience, we believe the RPA industry is rapidly moving away from an ‘isolated robot deployment’ mode to a ‘shared services CoE’ mode, wherein the client expectation is more on the overall large-scale value rather than number of individual robots being deployed. Toward this end, NIIT Technologies as a technology integrator is well placed and is looking to go beyond simply building robots as a vendor to becoming a full-fledged RPA Partner.
Our end-to-end RPA engagement framework TESSSM addresses all the aspects around Transformation, Enablement, Standardization, and Scale for an enterprise to embark on its own holistic RPA journey. This framework is a combination of processes, methodologies, tools, and experienced domain-centric experts, which is packaged as a service, enabling clients to reap benefits of a Center of Excellence (CoE) without investing anything. The TESSSM engagement model is designed to ensure that the clients gradually move away from a ‘Per BOT’ model to a ‘Gain share’ model with NIIT Technologies putting skin in the game and co-championing the robotics journey
Intelligent Enterprises through Robotics Process Automation
As organizations continue to cater to global clients and geographies, they face multiple challenges including rising costs, reduced quality standards, complex and ever-changing compliance requirements, and talent management. RPA can help reduce cost and human errors and increase compliance and workforce efficiencies, thereby propelling enterprises to higher level of productivity optimization