Just when you thought it was safe to come back out after the recent ‘Great AI Uprising’ against the humans, now the robots are coming for us again. But it’s okay. They are here to benefit your business with their scalability and adaptability. Even better, they are actually going to save your business time and money, all while boosting productivity and improving accuracy, service levels and agility.
Bandying about discussion related to artificial intelligence (AI) these days is this idea of RPA: Robotic Process Automation. To tamp down any notion of a cyborg-like war against humanity, RPA does not involve physical or mechanical robots. Instead, it is software running on a physical or virtual machine — very much part of any other business process automation, but, in this case, it follows a defined set of instructions. So, for example, RPA can be programmed for first-level customer support executions to run queries and lay in data from one system to another for invoicing, expenses or refunds.
As we’ve experienced with chatbots, robots are capable of imitating most human-computer interactions to conduct error-free tasks speedily and at high volume. Effectively, RPA automates repetitive computer-based tasks and processes that are otherwise slow and expensive for humans to perform, thereby boosting efficiency for businesses and organizations. Also, RPA, like any other form of machine learning, can be trained to make predictive judgments relating to production. It can beneficially, non-intrusively integrate within existing infrastructures without causing disruption to systems already in place.
How can RPA save businesses and organizations time and money? Consider when staff is used, especially for a considerable amount of their work day, for repetitive tasks that require little-to-no decision making. Replacing some of that lost time with RPA software will certainly make better use of the humans in question. They can then devote more time to higher-level processes that do require decision-making skills that software cannot replace. And RPA can free up time your developers spend on automatable tasks (such as scripting). Here are five places to test robotic process automation in your business:
Accounting: RPA is a cost-effective alternative to managing financial processes. It boosts financial data accuracy by 95 percent, makes the transfer of financial data time from invoices and receipts three to four times faster, and provides overall costs savings of up to 80 percent.
Internal Communications: Walmart, AT&T and Walgreens are using RPA for employee matters. CIO of Walmart Clay Johnson says they use “RPA bots to automate pretty much anything from answering employee questions to retrieving useful information from audit documents.”
Administrative Tasks: David Thompson, CIO of American Express Global Business Travel, says they “implement the use of RPA to automate the process for canceling an airline ticket and issuing refunds.” Also, Thompson is “looking to use RPA to facilitate automatic rebooking recommendations.”
IT Services: RPA can run software testing when it involves multiple applications and monotonous work.
eCommerce: COO at Eggplant, Anthony Edwards, uses RPA for processing returns online.