Where does RPA fit?
In surveying more than 400 IT and business decision-makers about their organizations’ level of adoption of and interest in RPA, Frost & Sullivan found that while implementation varies greatly across (and within) organizations, and different industries approach RPA with varying priorities, there is a universal “typical RPA journey.” That is, companies overwhelmingly find success by implementing RPA in the same departments in the same order:
- Information technology (IT)
- Human resources (HR), finance and accounting
- Case management and/or records management
- Manufacturing and warehousing
- Customer communications and sales
- R&D, vendor and legal contracts
Here’s why: RPA automates structured, rule-based, voluminous and repetitive digital tasks where human effort does not add business value.
So, the best use cases to start with are those that are structured, rule-based, voluminous and repetitive, and where human effort does not add value. And of all functional business areas, the most rules- and data-heavy in most organizations are IT, HR, finance and accounting.
With that in mind, and with a focus on these departments, it makes sense to look for the opportunities in your unique organizational processes by asking the following questions:
- Where are your employees reporting frustration or low job satisfaction?
- Where are you spending unreasonably for off-hours support or a seasonal spike in workload?
- Where could a simple manual error result in disproportionately heavy consequences for the business?
Here are some digital transformation-specific examples:
Legacy systems are often incompatible with modern applications and initiatives, and upgrading these systems is a crucial piece of your digital evolution. But migrating information to modern applications is both time- and resource-consuming. In IT, manual system migration requires employees to engage in massive volumes of tedious tasks that could result in error, inefficiency and low morale.
Seamlessly integrated systems are key to automating entire processes, not just individual tasks. Ironically, though, the act of integrating is often undertaken manually. But it doesn’t have to be. This is a fantastic use case for RPA.
Transfer and management of sensitive information
Having humans process sensitive or protected information can increase the risk of intentional or unintentional data exposure or regulatory violation. Why have employees copy and paste sensitive information between systems when RPA can handle it?
Once you’ve seen the benefits of automating and optimizing digital processes by automating mundane, voluminous tasks in IT, finance and human resources, you (and your stakeholders) will want to see what else RPA can do across the organization. How far you take your implementation is referred to by Frost & Sullivan as RPA intensity.
RPA intensity, or the number of departments in an organization that use RPA, correlates positively with the organization’s profitability. That’s right: The more processes you automate, the more you profit.