Ask the Expert: RPA

We get to meet and talk to some incredible people through our work here at GXG, and we're always looking for ways to share their insight with a broader audience. Which brings us to our first Ask the Expert column! We sat down with Rajan Gupta to dive deeper into the business opportunities in Robotic Process Automation. 

How can businesses use RPA to get unstuck?

Many businesses are working at full capacity and struggle to scale due to a lack of resources (human, computing, etc.) required to manage the growth of the business. A large part of existing resources, particularly human resources, is carrying out repetitive tasks that are more about bridging the gap between systems and applications with little or no cognitive skills. The tasks are mundane and as they are executed by humans, and prone to errors. Very little cognitive capabilities are deployed towards creativity to solve growth challenges. By automating these processes, businesses can free up cognitive capacity, reduce error, reduce staffing costs, while improving customer experience enabling realignment of the human workforce to tasks that provide real value towards business success.

What application areas do you see as the highest impact for companies (the “low hanging fruit”)?

While any processes that do not require cognitive capabilities are suitable for RPA, we find back office processes like payables, claims processing, email monitoring & follow-up, and trigger based exception management to be most effective early on in your RPA journey.  In addition, processes that require users to manage data flow between multiple applications and/or mix with human activity are also ideal for early adoption.

What’s the first step for any company considering implementing RPA technology?

The right RPA tool is quick to deploy and most importantly should work with existing IT applications without the need to change them. This will ensure quick success. Identifying where and which processes can leverage RPA effectively is very important. We recommend categorizing processes as follows:

  • Strategic: those processes that have an impact on the customer experience
  • Operational: processes that are needed for efficient service and agent satisfaction
  • Administrative: Support other processes
  • Regulatory/mandatory: Processes that need to be carried out to comply with regulation

For each process, estimate the benefits and ROI to create a prioritized list. Once done, take the top 3 and enable them for RPA.

What’s one avoidable mistake you see companies making when it comes to RPA?

Many organizations start the RPA journey with lots of energy and after enabling the first few processes, they tend to lose focus. There are multiple reasons, but the one core reason is that it is seen as a tactical solution rather than a strategic, senior management sponsored, solution. For the greatest strategic impact, RPA and digital workers have to become part of the culture and adoption of RPA has to be carefully orchestrated through change management principles.

How do you measure the success of an RPA implementation?

At the start of each automation, the goal/benefit of the automation should be clearly identified. Three key metrics are: improved accuracy, improved staff retention and satisfaction, and labor savings. Part of the savings from RPA implementations should be reinvested into additional RPA implementations.

How should companies think about communicating the robotics transformation to the organization? From your experience, what are the negative aspects of the transformation and how can companies get ahead of that?

Automation and technology bring with it positive change that is normally misunderstood because many leaders fail to understand the impact on their teams. The main concern with RPA that most users will have is the impact on their jobs and livelihood. However, we know that one of the key benefits of RPA is increased staff satisfaction. As businesses identify areas for automation, it is imperative they also understand the impact on jobs and roles of staff involved in these activities. As part of your design, include impact to these users roles, identify areas where the same staff members can perform higher value tasks, and coach them along your RPA journey on how these changes will improve their work life.

What are you most excited about related to the future of RPA?

RPA and digital workers have the potential to transform knowledge workers in a way that machines transformed the factory floor during the industrial revolution. Similar to machines in the industrial revolution, digital workers are here to make the humans life easier and enable them to carry out greater cognitive tasks. In the future, we see RPA and AI paving the road for intelligent automation proactively addressing routine customer issues before customers even noticed any problems and freeing up the human worker to focus on the non-routine, complex tasks that need greater cognitive skills.

About the Author

Rajan’s greatest satisfaction is in assisting customers improve their business and operational performance through innovative technologies that are well aligned with business strategy.  Through a hands-on approach, he visualizes business bottlenecks and helps leaders identify ways to unclog their human potential through RPA and other similar technologies. Learn more at https://www.centelli.com/robotic-process-automation/


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