As I explained in my previous post, an RPA robot is smart software that can mimic human actions on a computer, interacting with applications in a non-invasive way. When configured right, it can handle parts of or even entire business processes from end-to-end – freeing up precious time for people to focus on higher value tasks.
Already in 2014, a Gartner study estimated that the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for business operations would be reduced by 30% by 2018 thanks to intelligent machines and the industrialization of services, most notably thanks to RPA. Just as Gartner predicted, these technologies are becoming more common. Limits remain to what is feasible and we’ll explore these in a future article. For now, let’s look at the highest-ranking benefits you can expect from RPA.
Before reading further, it’s important to note that these examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Other value drivers surely exist depending on your industry, context and business vision. One thing’s for sure: achieving any benefits from RPA requires a well thought-out, holistic approach to robotics implementation across your organization. But with a knowledgeable, experienced integrator at your side, you can avoid the most common pitfalls and make your RPA journey a success.
The elephant in the room. I suspect none of you reading this article will be surprised by this first benefit. Indeed, by automating part of – or an entire process – you will decrease the average handling time of that process because a robot worker typically works faster than its human counterpart and if necessary, 24/7. Based on Accenture’s experience, the estimated potential for productivity gains ranges from 10% to 40% at an organizational level depending on several factors such as industry, company size and digital maturity.
In 2016, Accenture was selected by Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (BIL) to integrate RPA as part of the bank’s digital transformation. By early 2017, the project had reached its third phase of industrialization with an acceleration of the pace of automated process deployments. What convinced BIL to invest in this technology was the promise of quality gains, standardization, speed of production and productivity in back office management. This first ever deployment of Blue Prism at one of Luxembourg’s oldest private banks sets a benchmark for the country’s finance industry.
2. Surfing peaks and troughs
The second great benefit of RPA is on-demand scalability. Once a robot is configured, it can be duplicated and deployed almost instantly assuming a proper architecture and infrastructure have been put in place to support it. This means that you can easily handle variations in capacity needs due to seasonality or demand peaks at marginal cost. Once the capacity need has faded, the robots are reassigned to other more urgent tasks.
Every action performed by a robot is meticulously saved and traceable
3. Consistent execution
By putting a robot in charge of a specific task you not only ensure that it will be executed consistently but also that it will follow best practice, every time. Automating a process requires documenting it exhaustively down to the smallest detail. This analysis will typically uncover small discrepancies in the way several team members perform the same task. As a result, only the most efficient way to perform the task will be taught to the robot.
4. Compliance & auditability
A properly configured robot will systematically follow the rules it has been given, leading to 100% compliance. Moreover, every action performed by a robot – whether that be reading data, writing in a field or comparing two values – is meticulously saved and traceable. This will be highly valued by all team members and especially by the compliance and audit departments.
5. People satisfaction
Although this may seem counterintuitive, RPA can lead to higher employee satisfaction by removing repetitive and burdensome tasks they dislike doing. With the right business vision and change management in place, this can translate into more time and energy to focus on customer relationships, leading to higher quality service and increased customer satisfaction.
6. Rapid deployment & Return on Investment (ROI)
Finally, the very fast deployment time of RPA means that you not only start achieving the benefits quickly but also generating some return on investment. In general, you can expect to complete a full ROI in a period shorter than one year.
So how should you approach RPA: from a technology or business excellence perspective? Find out in my next post!
Or feel free to contact us directly to discuss how Accenture can help you on your RPA journey. Because a picture is worth a thousand words and the best way to truly understand RPA in practice is by seeing it for yourself. We’d be delighted to show you!
You're a young graduate? Find your fit on our careers website. What's in there for you? Work as a key part of a dynamic team of colleagues who love their work and have fun doing it. Plus, you'll have access to training, supportive leaders, and the coaching you need to succeed in your new careers.