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Unlocking the Secrets of Robotic Process Automation: A Strategic Game-Changer?

What is well-known about RPA robotic process automation is that it brings efficiency, cost-saving, and accuracy to the companies which implement it. And that the adoption is growing.

Other talks declare that RPA is the first step for digitalization and the easiest one before embarking a company into a journey like Digital transformation.

It seems that the two things are critical approaches for firms’ competitiveness, they are not mutually exclusive, but RPA can be considered as a dynamic capability supporting an increased level of digital maturity.

I want to bring light to how RPA can and must be considered in a strategic view for DT. Let’s see why.

We can start with how RPA solutions’ vendors propose their offering to their targets, as they need to match companies’ goals to justify their investments.

Cost-savings through RPA: This positioning emphasizes the cost savings associated with implementing RPA. Companies can reduce labour costs and save time by automating repetitive and time-consuming processes. RPA has been shown to reduce operational costs by 30% or more, as well as improve the accuracy and speed of processes, according to Gartner [1]research. Industries with high-volume, repetitive processes, such as finance and accounting, human resources, and manufacturing, can benefit most from these offerings.

Improve accuracy and compliance with RPA: This offering emphasizes the benefits of RPA in reducing the possibility of human errors and ensuring compliance. Healthcare and finance industries, for example, have strict compliance requirements. In a Deloitte report, RPA has been shown to reduce error rates by 60-100%, increasing compliance and decreasing regulatory issues.[2]

Enhancing customer experience with RPA: The offering focuses on how RPA can provide faster, more personalized service. Customers are happier when companies automate processes that deal with them, like order processing and customer service. It can reduce customer response times by up to 90%, leading to better customer experiences.[3]

Digital transformation with RPA focuses on how RPA can support digital transformation. The journey of DT becomes faster and more agile by automating legacy systems and processes. Companies can increase productivity and efficiency by integrating diverse systems, streamlining workflows, and improving data management thanks to RPA, without forgetting the already mentioned benefits like reducing time spent on tedious tasks. This allows employees to focus on more critical work and improve customer satisfaction.

It is not predictable how the technological adoption of RPA will increase during the immediate future, not in volume or value, but from a strategic point of view.

In a strategic view of digital transformation, one element seems to be overlooked, representing a qualitative and a fundamental one: process automation also helps free up resources to be used elsewhere. You can find this benefit almost everywhere where RPA benefits are described. But the challenge is related to:

1. What are the other critical and high-value tasks I can allocate to my workforce?

2. Do I need to upskill employees and managers?

3. Can I see this as an opportunity to think of DT?

I intentionally omitted the Intelligent Automation-RPA with AI in this article, also called hyper-automation. The simple reason is that AI can create a further enhancement of the RPA benefits, but according to statistics, as a booster of RPA and its growing trend [4], it is better to be focused on what can be seen as a starting point for automation, creating the due awareness and focus on:

· Employees and managers upskill.

· Explore how the resources available can further increase competitive advantages with DT.

People-centric approach.

Stay tuned.

[1] [2] [3] [4]

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