Imagine that you have an employee who spends two hours every day on a repetitive data collection, review, and manipulation task. They click a link to open a web browser, execute a search, scan the list of results looking for key information, navigate to a website, click through page after page to find the information they need, copy and paste data into a spreadsheet, and repeat. This task may be a good candidate for robotic process automation.
It’s not a task that puts their skills and experience to good use, but it has to be done. And, again, it eats up two hours a day, every day. That’s 10 hours each week, and if we say 50 work weeks in a year to simplify the math, we’re talking about 500 hours per year. And that’s if they do their job flawlessly. But, they’re human, and we all make mistakes and then have to spend time correcting them. So, tack some more hours on to that 500.
Now imagine this scenario: The person clicks a link to activate a software robot. The “bot” performs all the above actions in a matter of seconds, and it completes them flawlessly. Meanwhile, the employee walks away to attend a meeting where their insight will provide tremendous value.
It’s not science fiction. It’s happening every day at companies that have made the smart decision to capitalize on what’s called robotic process automation or RPA.
Game-Changing Efficiency Gains with Robotic Process Automation
“Great…” you say, “But I’m not sure how or where our company would use that kind of technology.” You’re not alone! Most people find it challenging to envision tasks that have been handled a certain way for years (if not decades) being performed automatically and in a fraction of the time.
Well, to make the concept a little more tangible, here are some real-world examples of how software bots can used:
- Employee onboarding. Today: A new employee fills out several forms, many of which request some of the same information. An HR staff member reviews all the forms for accuracy, then uses information from them to type up an email to IT to request network credentials for her. With an HR bot: A new employee completes one master form. When it is submitted, the information is scanned for accuracy and then used to automatically populate all other forms, and IT gets a notification that credentials are needed. Meanwhile, the HR manager is attending to other tasks.
- Claims processing. Today: An employee logs into the claims management system and runs a report to produce a list of new claims. She then reviews each claim to confirm all the fields have been filled out before manually calculating the payment and changing the claim status to Complete. With a claims processing bot: The bot logs into the claims management system, runs the report, reviews the claims, calculates the payment, and updates the status in seconds. The few claims that need human attention are noted in an email automatically sent to the employee.
- IT support. Today: Three new support requests arrive in a tech’s inbox—one for details on a particular software license, one for a password reset, and one asking to reserve a laptop for a business trip. The tech is having a busy day, so he may not have time to handle any of the requests until tomorrow at the earliest. With an IT support bot: The bot knows where to find the requested information and understands that it is not sensitive material, so sends it immediately to the requester. It also knows who the password reset request came from and is authorized to perform that operation, making a log entry as it does so. And, it checks inventory, sees that there is a laptop available, reserves it in the employee’s name, and emails a confirmation. Each of the requests is handled within a minute of its receipt.
These, of course, are just the tip of the RPA iceberg, so to speak, but you can see the potential. Bots can be quickly and efficiently programmed to handle almost any rules-based task with incredible speed and precision.
Wondering if software bots (or softbots as we like to call them) can help you cut costs, increase efficiency and improve accuracy? The easiest way to find out is to ask! Give us a call and let’s talk about your needs and how a customized robotic process automation solution can meet them.
About the Author
Charles Weidman is the President and CTO of Buddha Logic. Charlie has over two decades of experience in the design, development and implementation of enterprise content management, business process management and enterprise resource planning solutions. He founded Buddha Logic with the idea that well-architected digital document capture and management processes are both beautifully simple and powerfully logical. Find and connect with Charlie on LinkedIn.