You hired your team because they are experts in their field. They’re creative, they’re passionate about what they do, and yet, they spend most of their time doing repetitive tasks. In fact, 81% of knowledge workers spend less than 3 hours a day on creative tasks, and 76% of those same workers spend less than 3 hours a week on work that contributes to strategic goals.
So, what can be done to return your team’s focus to the work that they do best? At Foulk, our customers have found success by implementing robotic process automation (RPA). RPA can reinvigorate your workplace by automating repetitive tasks—like data entry—so your team can focus on the high-level work you’re paying them for. Like any change to your established business processes, implementing RPA can seem daunting at first, but the benefits are well worth it. In this article, we’ll explore what it takes to leverage RPA and how you can shortcut the process.
What Does Robotic Process Automation Do?
The specific purpose of robotic process automation is to use bots to automate software-related tasks. RPA can fully automate basic tasks or partially automate more complex tasks that still require human input. In both cases, RPA reduces human time spent on repetitive tasks, allowing your team members to use their critical thinking where it counts.
Attended automation processes still need a human to lead them. This is because these processes have ambiguous workflows, and it is more efficient for a person to participate than to leave your botworking in circles. An example of a process that would benefit from attended automation is customer onboarding. While it still takes a human to greet new customers and explain the fundamentals of your service, certain tasks like recording and organizing customer information (contact information, payment details, etc.) can be automated.
Unattended automation refers to processes that can operate independently of human action. “Background tasks” such as sending scripted emails after a customer takes a predetermined action don’t need a person to analyze and act on any nuance, so they can be fully automated without sacrificing effectiveness. An example of a process that would benefit from unattended automation is data transfer for a lead that is advancing through the sales funnel. When a lead becomes sales-qualified, their information may need to be entered into a new database. Why burden a team member with copying and pasting? Instead, unattended automation allows that information to be transferred without additional human effort.
Deep Work vs. Shallow Work
Another way of thinking about robotic process automation is by looking at comparisons between deep work and shallow work. Deep work refers to projects that take your full attention. In order to complete them, you need to block out all distractions and enter a state of flow. The end result is work that adds value to your business and leaves you feeling accomplished. On the opposite end of that spectrum is shallow work, which refers to tasks that take little thought or effort but must be done anyway. They do little to transform the business and as a result, often make you feel like you didn’t get much done at the end of the day. For example, consider these differences when it comes to creating a new brand identity versus a tedious task like updating customer information.
RPA cuts down on the need for your team members to perform shallow work, whether helping to speed up a major project or completely handling daily tasks. That means more time spent on high-impact work that leaves your team feeling good about what they accomplish.
What Are the Benefits of Robotic Process Automation?
Automating repetitive processes like data entry, file moving, and sending scripted emails has benefits for both team members and managers. Here are some of the advantages of implementing even a basic RPA system:
- Higher Productivity with Less Effort: Automating basic tasks allows your team to go all-in on the complex issues they are trained to solve. Without increasing hours, you’ll find that high-level goals are more achievable when bots handle your team’s busy work.
- Improved Team Morale: People enjoy challenging their minds. While repetitive tasks dull enthusiasm for working, creative challenges inspire team members to fully engage with projects. RPA gives more time for your team to take on the issues that they can feel good about solving.
- Greater Scalability: RPA systems can be easily adapted to meet the demands of a growing business. They are also flexible enough to incorporate new features to handle higher volumes of work.
- Reduced Human Error: The more you can automate your processes, the less human error you’ll need to correct. Bots don’t get tired of repeating the same task over and over again, which can easily derail a person’s attention to detail.
More advanced features of RPA like customer service chat-bots also save your team time while creating a more positive customer experience. Whichever industry you conduct business in, you can likely benefit from automated processes.
Where Is Robotic Process Automation Used?
Robotic process automation can make any processes that involve software more efficient. To give some real world examples, let’s examine how the finance and manufacturing industries have been able to successfully implement RPA.
What Are 2 Examples of RPA Automation?
RPA can be used to automate credit application processes and demand projection.
Credit Application Processes: In this robotic process automation example, RPA can automate nearly all of the steps. Here’s what it would look like:
- Explains the steps to new applicants
- Sends forms to new applicants
- Receives completed forms and checks for accuracy
- Sends documents to credit department for approval
- Migrates files for accepted applicants and deletes those for rejected applicants
In such a regulated industry, automation can ensure that each step is completed quickly and accurately.
Demand Projection: With built-in triggers, RPA can be especially useful for manufacturers when managing inventory. For example, an automated warehouse inventory system would keep track of shipments going out and orders waiting to be fulfilled. Taking into account how long production and delivery take, this system could automatically order new products so they arrive at the warehouse in time for the next shipment.
Whichever industry you’re in, RPA can help increase the speed and accuracy of routine tasks.
Can I Learn RPA on My Own?
As a business owner or team manager, the prospect of becoming trained in RPA or having an employee become certified can be exciting–and yes, it is possible. However, adding to an existing team member’s job description or hiring a new team member can come with its own downsides, like burnout or extra costs. Oftentimes, partnering with a third party service provider like Foulk can put you on the fast track to gaining the benefits of RPA without placing any extra burden on your team.
Is RPA Easy to Learn?
Like any technical skill, learning RPA isn’t easy, but a background in software engineering and business processes will help. Successfully learning RPA means perfecting the following skills:
- Interpreting your company’s needs and designing an RPA system to meet them
- Writing and editing code to ensure a smooth experience for all users
- Implementing RPA into existing systems
- Monitoring and continuously improving RPA functions
RPA developers fulfill multiple roles as code writers, implementers, and supporters.
How Do I Start Learning RPA?
Typically, developers complete a degree in computer science before specializing in RPA. While a college degree isn’t always required, proficiency in programming, database query language, and scripting language is a must.
An RPA tutorial can be a great place for you or an employee to begin learning the specifics on robotic process automation. What is an RPA tutorial, exactly? These educational materials can include a combination of PDF resources and video walkthroughs to teach the basic and advanced concepts of RPA. When choosing the right tutorial for you, find one that matches your skill level and focuses on the specific aspect you have interest in (coding, implementation, or troubleshooting).
What Is Robotic Process Automation Certification?
Robotic process automation certification shows that you have proven knowledge of working with the awarding company’s RPA software. There isn’t a universal certification for RPA; instead, different tool developers each have a unique test that you can take to gain their specific certification. In preparation for an RPA certification exam, you will typically learn how to use their software to configure a process automation solution. You can then take these skills and apply them to the IT processes in your company. However, you will be limited by which software you choose to get certified in.
So, how much does RPA certification cost? Exam costs typically range from $65 to $200, but some certifications require or strongly recommend a training program that adds to the total price. You may also be wondering, how many days will it take to learn RPA? For those with background knowledge in RPA, getting certified can take up to a few weeks for many programs.
Foulk Consulting: Bringing You the Benefits of RPA without the Hassle
While the coding behind robotic process automation may not always be easy to understand, the benefits are. Reducing the frequency and duration of repetitive tasks makes your team members’ jobs easier and more engaging, eliminates human error, speeds up your workflow, and so much more.
Foulk brings you the many benefits of RPA without adding to your team’s workload. In fact, you won’t have to worry about the details of RPA at all. Instead, we’ll find the right software for your processes and ensure seamless integration. Contact us today to transform your processes for the better without needing to grow your team or sign up for RPA tutorials.