Kate McDaniel is blogs editor at UiPath.
We live in a world where digital transformation is no longer optional. Before our very eyes, we’re watching the power of digital transformation unfold as it allows our healthcare, financial, manufacturing, transportation, and even government sectors to respond to a crisis better than ever before.
Worldwide spending on digital transformation is expected to reach $2.3 trillion in 2023, according to one study by the International Data Corporation. The companies spending this money on digital transformation aren’t faceless—they’re your competitors, they’re your partners, and they’re your vendors. Hopefully, it’s also you.
Everyone is trying to stay ahead of the curve by doing work more efficiently, serving their customers better, and, ideally, saving money in the process.
“Companies that deploy automation technologies can realize substantial performance gains and take the lead in their industries, even as their efforts contribute to economy-level increases in productivity,” McKinsey Global Institute found when they surveyed more than 500 executives.
Before you start imagining astronomical developer budgets, process disruption, and an implementation date in 2025, let us introduce you to Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Automation is the key to increasing profits and improving efficiency in this rapidly changing business environment, and RPA is the key to a successful automation ecosystem.
Why? Because RPA offers you an intuitive, low-code, high-ROI entry point to automation while also providing you with a system powerful and flexible enough to be the backbone of your automation program for the next few decades.
This article will provide you with a high-level overview of RPA and what it can do for your business. We’ll also provide you with the steps you need to get your organization started on your automation journey.
What is RPA?
Take a moment and think about your favorite part of your job—the part of your current work, company, or industry that sparks the most excitement and interest for you. Imagine what it would be like to do that part of your job nearly all day.
RPA makes that possible by creating software robots that imitate human actions to automate repetitive work processes, such as entering data or updating user permissions. If it’s a task that humans don’t need critical thinking to do, software robots can usually streamline it.
This allows human employees at every level—from the C-suite to the ground floor—to focus more on higher-value, fulfilling work. RPA accurately, efficiently, and quickly automates the mundane tasks that otherwise take up roughly 48% of human workers' time.
What can RPA do for my business?
The benefits of RPA are as many and varied as the companies that enjoy those benefits. From increasing manufacturing efficiency to streamlining hiring processes to improving Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance, RPA has a lot to offer businesses in any industry.
RPA cuts down on operating costs. When crucial tasks are being completed more quickly, efficiently, and accurately, cost savings are a natural result. Morrison Utility Services, a major services provider in the United Kingdom (UK), saw this firsthand with estimated annual cost savings of £145,000 directly attributed to RPA.
Read the full RPA story about Morrison Utility Services.
RPA increases task efficiency. With RPA, companies can eliminate time wasted manually performing inefficient processes. Using RPA, the Indian restaurant chain Paradise was able to reduce the time to complete one day’s revenue reconciliation from five days to four hours, with 100% accuracy.
RPA reduces compliance errors and risk. In the age of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it’s no longer just the health, financial, and legal sectors that have to worry about maintaining compliance. Automation ensures that sensitive customer information is processed securely and in compliance with local, regional, and federal regulations. Up against a critical compliance deadline, Federal Bank Partners used RPA to automate quickly and hit their deadline in half the time they first estimated.
RPA improves customer experience. By automating away repetitive work, companies free customer support representatives to focus on connecting better with customers and improving the quality of service. For the Municipality of Copenhagen, that freedom made a profound impact on their ability to serve their citizens.
Read the full story about the Municipality of Copenhagen.
RPA increases employee satisfaction and engagement. RPA removes mind-numbing work and allows employees to focus on high-value, cognitive tasks that improve people’s productivity and happiness. It’s not surprising that Forrester found that 57% percent of organizations said implementing RPA improved employee engagement and happiness.
RPA accelerates the benefits of digital transformation. Digital transformation asks companies to put technology at the core of how they do business, and RPA provides a framework to make this possible quickly. Global market research firm Nielsen uses RPA to adapt to life at the speed of technology and to drive a culture of innovation.
As Daniel Dines, founder and CEO of UiPath, said in our first-ever UiPath Live event: “RPA is quite tactical in unlocking the business benefits. It helps you to automate your routine, repetitive tasks which ... is fairly important for your business. For businesses who are waiting for months to unlock these benefits, RPA could be a quick and easy way for them to do this.”
UiPath Live: RPA Market Update and Q&A with Daniel Dines
These benefits and customer stories only scratch the surface of the sea of benefits that RPA can usher in for your company, customers, and employees. When it comes to the potential of automation in your operations, think big and act fast.
RPA and the ecosystem of automation
RPA has a lot of power and flexibility to offer, but it’s far from the only tool in your automation toolbox. Instead, it’s the foundation of an automation ecosystem that will usher in a new era of task management, data entry, and operational efficiency.
RPA lies at the heart of automation technology. Its low-code nature makes it easy to learn, but it’s powerful enough to function as the backbone of more advanced automation technology.
Artificial intelligence (AI) builds on the foundation of RPA with a near-human ability to understand, learn, and make judgments. Combining RPA and AI provides the capabilities to handle more complex processes through tools that allow software robots to recognize letters, understand natural language, and even improve themselves over time. This technology allows you to automate processes like invoice processing and data mining.
Even this is only scratching the surface of the automation ecosystem that RPA supports. But you don’t need to implement every automation technology at once to achieve a great return on your automation investment. RPA provides an easy and effective starting point for your automation journey, as well as a lasting foundation for a successful and scalable automation program.
Since RPA integrates with your existing infrastructure instead of replacing it, you improve efficiencies without the high up-front cost of other new technologies. Additionally, RPA development is easy for your existing team to learn. They can find all the education they need to get started in our free RPA Academy.
With RPA, you can quickly implement automation to help handle near-future demand surges, documentation backlogs, and contact center overload while also building a solid foundation for ongoing innovation.
Why should I act now?
Any new age of technology redefines what success looks like for innovators and what others have to do to keep up. The 'automation first' era is no different. If anything, recent events have demonstrated how important it is to have the stability and scalability offered by automation. This is especially true when it comes to urgent processes like customer requests, claims processing, recruitment, demand logistics, and more.
Learn more about how RPA supports businesses facing drastic shifts in demand.
As current events teach us the importance of flexibility and empowered employees, we see the value of the automation first era, with its hybrid of automation and human labor.
Like the introduction of the internet, mobile technology, and cloud computing, automation will fundamentally change how we think about work and create a new standard that separates the thriving business from the struggling.
The chart below demonstrates this perfectly: every one of the companies in gray was once at the top of their industry but failed to adapt quickly enough to the disruptive technology of their day.
Your competitors are already moving quickly to adopt RPA and other complementary technologies, such as AI and machine learning. The Economist Intelligence Unit reports that 85% of CIOs are expected to adopt RPA in the next few years, at which point it will be the new normal for business.
As we enter a unique economic period where efficiency and high-return investments are more important than ever, automation is no longer a shiny new add-on but a vital component of a successful business.
Thanks to RPA, you don’t have to spend months and years of effort before you begin to reap the benefits of that vital component.
How do I get started with RPA?
While RPA shares the potential to disrupt industry like the technological revolutions that have preceded it, it’s unique in a key way: RPA can be quickly and easily implemented by companies at any stage and with any budget.
You don’t need a vast pool of resources or a large team of experts to implement RPA, as long as you focus on preparation and strategy from day one.
It’s important to understand that implementing RPA is a journey, not a one-off project. This journey starts with a proof of concept (POC), in which your company will work to identify the best early process candidates for automation. The best candidates are the low-hanging fruit, processes with a high ROI potential. This will help you build momentum for the rest of your automation journey.
First, you need to assemble a cross-functional team of people from business and IT departments who can garner executive buy-in and lay the foundation of your automation journey. This team should audit the processes where your employees spend most of their time or where the most money is being spent; they should also look at the processes that cause the most frustration for customers.
Your role as the C-suite leader during this time is to champion automation—using early wins from your POC—to the company at large. In fact, The Economist Intelligence Unit found that automation was the responsibility of a C-level executive at 84% of the organizations surveyed.
You will help secure the budget and support for future process automation. You’ll also be a key player in promoting operational and cultural change within the company.
As the C-level champion for this exciting new era of your company, your next step is to learn how to take RPA from initial success to sustainable deployment. If this seems like a daunting task, fear not. We’ve pulled together our industry experience—and the expertise of our partner network—into our white paper titled Welcome to the Automation First Era: Your guide to a thriving enterprise in an automated world.
The automation first era brings with it an exciting, rapidly evolving time in modern business history. While many companies today have navigated the early stages of automation adoption alone, you don’t have to. UiPath and our network of expert partners are here to guide you through the exciting changes that lie ahead.
At UiPath, we’ve built our end-to-end enterprise automation platform on the feedback and experience of our customers. We believe that automation tools should be open for everyone to learn, use, and share.
That’s why we’ve created an automation suite that gives you the tools you need to create better, more efficient business processes and frees up time for the high-value innovation that sets your company apart. From the C-suite champion to the developers on the front line, UiPath offers resources and support for everyone involved in the automation journey.
Our dedication to providing customers faster implementation rates, lower maintenance costs compared to competitors, and the best automation platform possible has earned us recognition in analyst reports including The Forrester Wave™: Robotic Process Automation, Q4 2019 report and the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Robotic Process Automation Software report.
Beyond our industry-leading tools, we also offer access to a large network of partners, from business process outsourcing firms to managed service providers. All of them are vetted, trusted, and able to support you in your automation journey.
Our product was created by listening to our customers, and we’re continually evolving our product suite to meet their needs in this rapidly evolving industry.
Learn how others are using RPA to solve problems in your industry.