Unlocking digital transformation with Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
The term "digital transformation" has become synonymous with a company’s endeavor to modernize. It allows organizations to transform their operating models to improve customer experience, increase successful outcomes, and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. While many technologies, processes, and cultural adjustments are needed to drive digital transformation successfully, "automation" is a critical aspect of the entire process.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA), with its capability to digitalize several operations and processes, has a great potential to accelerate digital transformation for an enterprise.
How RPA supports Digital Transformation
The most straightforward manner in which RPA accelerates digital transformation is by taking off unproductive, redundant, time-consuming, and repeatable manual tasks from a team and allowing the team to focus on the core tasks that assure business growth. By introducing RPA at different stages and functions, an enterprise can save time and resources and ensure better responsiveness at nearly all touchpoints of their value chain. By helping an organization save time, money, resource bandwidth while improving customer experience, RPA can act as a game-changer in improving business performance and outcomes. However, one must understand that "RPA" or "any other kind of automation" only enables an enterprise to accelerate digital transformation, not fully attain it.
RPA enables enterprise to achieve the following capabilities thereby helping with digital transformation initiatives:
- Enables speed and adaptability: We have seen several examples of RPA enabling companies across industries during the pandemic. Right from helping hospitals set appointments to e-commerce firms dealing with customer inquiries, RPA helped accelerate the speed of these transactions. Several similar tasks within an enterprise can be automated to save time so that employees can focus on tasks that need human intervention and expertise. With a no-coding approach, RPA also helps manage and deploy challenges swiftly as compared to traditional solutions.
- Guarantees accuracy: When repetitive processes are automated using RPA, the chances of human-induced error go down considerably. Not only does this guarantee that the task will be done in time, but it also assures that the task will be done with perfection, regardless of how many times they are repeated. Organizations that aim to achieve digital transformation benefit from this level of certainty and consistent quality.
- Complements the existing processes: When a complete ecosystem overhaul is not an option for an enterprise -- for various reasons -- RPA helps fill the functional gaps in the ecosystem. RPA helps access data from multiple disparate sources such as legacy, ERP, and external systems, and organizations do not have to transform their setup to add custom functionalities. Companies can use RPA to bring a certain level of automation without modifying the underlying systems because it interacts with existing software. Without costly and time-consuming API connectivity, RPA can connect different systems to perform a smooth procedure. In essence, RPA removes the primary barriers to taking business processes forward without huge investment or chaos.
- Brings 24X7 capability: "Being always on" is a crucial expectation when going digital. With RPA, an enterprise can enable a 24x7 setup since bots can run 24X7 and do not need breaks. This helps maximize time and efficiency without putting undue pressure on the workforce.
- Brings resilience: While in the foreseen future, automation will not replace the human workforce, however, it can certainly mitigate the risks that future crises might pose to the supply and productivity of the workforce. Moreover, by reducing the possibilities of "uncertainty," RPA brings a greater level of resilience to guarantee business continuity even in adverse situations.
How to Leverage RPA for Digital Transformation
The first important step in this direction is to ensure that the RPA program goals align with the organization's overall digital transformation strategy. The other critical aspects to consider for leveraging RPA for digital transformation are:
- Stable and long-term planning: Enterprises should evaluate RPA’s viability in the context of their broader digital transformation plan, avoiding systems and processes undergoing significant near-term change.
- Effective governance: RPA and intelligent automation are scalable, but they require effective governance and a strategy for managing huge software bot fleets. One method to assure long-term support and concentration is to use a well-defined and disciplined RPA governance architecture with regular steering committee meetings.
- Cultural adaptation: An effective organizational change management program is required for RPA programs to be successful, sustainable, scalable. To get the most out of RPA, businesses must change their mindsets and cultures to build a well-balanced digital workplace where humans and machines collaborate to achieve a common goal.
- Well-defined success metrics: Organizations risk setting misleading expectations and underwhelming stakeholders if they do not have sufficient measurements of success. Therefore, it is crucial to establish the quantifiable benefits right at the onset of the program.
Digital Transformation: The end goal
Customers and employees are the foundations of any business. As a result, all firms need to keep them engaged and satisfied. RPA programs aid in data retrieval and the adoption of relevant procedures to boost staff engagement and customer satisfaction – which is a critical step towards scalability and transformation. The efficiency and adaptability brought in the ecosystem by RPA also let the focus shift from monotonous back-office jobs to those involving providing business value and customer engagement, enabling further process transformation and improvement. When RPA is combined with other digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, intelligent workflow tools, and digital assistants, enterprises can achieve end-to-end digital transformation.
Image credit: airdone/ Shutterstock
Bhavin Sankhat is project manager, workforce collaboration at Synoptek. He has over 10 years of experience in driving several workforce automation projects, especially related to Microsoft technologies. He works closely with Synoptek customers to help them with planning, documentation, and governance for their workforce productivity assignments and creating solutions that streamline their business processes.