In today’s digital society and distributed workplaces, efficiency is the name of the game. How can you do things quicker? How can you get more value out of something or someone? How can you optimize your operations to get an edge on your competitors? One tool that companies are using to answer these questions is robotic process automation, also known as RPA.
There are many advantages of robotic process automation (and we’ll touch on them more in depth later), but really it all boils down to making everyone’s lives easier. From increasing efficiency to improved performance, everyone in an organization can benefit from RPA. So without further ado, let’s dive into RPA and its pros and cons.
What Is Robotic Process Automation?
In plain terms, robot process automation is a form of software. This technology enables users to develop robots to complete tasks. These aren’t the humanoid robots from Terminator. Rather, users design software bots to complete and mimic typical human-computer interactions. These can include things like:
- Navigating multiple software systems
- Completing actions on a computer screen
- Collecting, entering and storing data
- Transferring data from one location to another
- Executing transactions
- Triggering automated responses
While these are just a few examples of what RPA bots can do, the neat part is that you could program them to carry out highly specific tasks as well.
To better drive home the idea of RPA, let’s look at a robotic process automation example. Imagine the finance department within a company. A huge amount of their workload revolves around data: accounts receivable, accounts payable, expenses, revenue, profit, loss, etc. Processing that data, although time- consuming, is fairly straightforward. Sure you need to know formulas and basic financial processes and terminology, but it’s nothing a computer couldn’t do for you. Enter RPA.
With RPA, the finance department could create bots to automate the entire data lifecycle. Instead of manually entering and updating data around the clock, robots would be completing the work instead. As you can imagine, there are plenty of benefits to this kind of solution, which leads us to the next topic, robotic process automation advantages and disadvantages.
What are RPA Advantages and Disadvantages?
There are plenty of advantages to RPA, but like anything it does have some shortcomings. Still, for many businesses and organizations, the benefits of RPA make it a useful solution (or at least a helpful component of one). One reason for this is that RPA truly benefits everyone within a company, from employees to customers. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits in more detail.
What are the Benefits of Robotic Automation?
While there are benefits to everyone when it comes to robotic process automation, the group most positively affected are the employees. RPA benefits for employees and executives include things like:
- Boosted productivity across all departments using RPA
- Higher efficiency, leading to improved savings generation
- Reduction of human error in menial, repetitive tasks, leading to better accuracy company-wide
- Improved business data security
- Flexibility to scale as needed, e.g. seasonal increases in workload
- Insightful analytics and data related to productivity and process inefficiencies
- Improved customer satisfaction and service lifecycle
- Automation implemented in ways that are easy to adopt and do not disrupt existing workflow
Other important things to consider are the intangible benefits of RPA. These include things like employee satisfaction. While you can’t necessarily “feel” employee satisfaction the same way you can feel monetary benefits, having employees who are satisfied and eager to work goes a long way in creating the best possible work environment. By reducing toil via RPA and allowing workers to focus on critical thinking, you improve employee engagement, satisfaction and retention.
What are Disadvantages of Robotic Process Automation?
The way to think about the disadvantages of RPA is to think of them as shortcomings. On its own, RPA can do quite a bit, but it pales in comparison to some artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools. The reason being, RPA doesn’t learn or have any kind of neural network. AI and ML learn as they go and can eliminate almost any need for human intervention. With RPA bots, if any part of their automated task changes, they will require some level of human input to solve the problem. RPA is great for following rule-based instructions in a steady, predictable, and well-defined environment. The other drawback is that it can be hard and time consuming to set it up yourself.
Thinking About RPA Implementation? Think Foulk Consulting
RPA is not only the way of the future, it is increasingly becoming the way of the present. From increased efficiency to improved employee satisfaction, the benefits or RPA can’t be overstated. Committing to, and implementing, something this transformative can be overwhelming. That’s why at Foulk Consulting, we take care of all the heavy lifting for you. We can help you set and maximize RPA within your organization to make sure you get it right. To learn more about how we can help you, check out our solutions page. To get started today, contact us!