Process improvement with RPA is more than just automating steps to execute things a “bit better.” As Robotic Process Automation (RPA) picks up steam, companies are embracing it to maximize efficiency and productivity. However, with RPA comes the need to understand the key differences between the traditional operating processes and a robot-driven environment. Robots are being deployed to provide service delivery through automation while humans are being left to handle and manage exceptions. This tectonic shift means automating several rules-based, repetitive tasks. But does all this guarantee process improvement? Unfortunately, one cannot have a binary answer.
For most back-office processing, RPA has emerged as a key driver and enabler of innovation. Companies are increasingly focusing on process improvement with RPA since it can save costs within short implementation timelines in rule-based processes. However, the match between processes and RPA is usually not a perfect one if the goal is to redesign the process. That’s because RPA only automates rule-based tasks and doesn’t do anything more. It operates at the task level instead of the end-to-end process level.
If the company’s goal is to look beyond basic labor-savings and improve processes, then it needs to have a clear understanding of their current process and the new process they want with RPA. Most companies overlook this crucial step in their efforts to drive process improvement. As a result, RPA supports the “as-is” process without really examining the current state, resulting in only modest savings and missed opportunities that could have drastically improved process outcomes, costs, cycle times, and quality.
Process Improvement With RPA
There are many reasons why an effective RPA implementation should include process mapping, analysis, and redesigning, including existing processes that are overly complex. This complexity arises because most companies don’t regularly revisit their process rules, resulting in rules that don’t make sense in the more evolved process environment. Additionally, these existing rules are described as a necessity that help make business judgments when, in reality, they can be turned into a more consistent algorithm for better decision making. Therefore, just automating them to improve the process adds very little value to the overall scheme of things.
Also read: Business Process Re-engineering
Another reason one needs to incorporate process re-engineering as part of RPA implementation is that many people have inadequate process knowledge. The standard operating procedures are usually poorly documented and not updated, leaving each employee with their understanding and best practices. That is why for overall process improvement, it needs to be redesigned and embedded with RPA to not only standardize tasks but also lower process problems across the business.
RPA has the potential to design new processes that give businesses novel ways to perform mission-critical business activities. RPA-based process re-engineering can also restore some useful tasks at a minimal cost. Some companies are forced to reduce a few extra steps that add customer value because the required information isn’t available or the task is labor-intensive. This results in a poor user experience and, in the worst case, higher costs in the contact centers. To make processes more efficient and effective, companies need to redesign their process and enable it with RPA to incorporate these tasks for a great user experience. Moreover, such companies realize a greater return on investment when compared to the ones that only automate a process and leave it unchanged otherwise.
RPA can indeed yield some savings without diving deeper into the process. However, process improvement with RPA-enabled redesign can bring significant cost savings and a much higher level of value and performance. The “P” in RPA stands for the process, which is important to improve than simply automate. With process redesign and continuous implementation governance, companies can derive maximum return on their investment and adapt to the changing customer needs. Process improvement with RPA takes vision, experience, and a robust strategy to tap into the technology’s full potential. If you are searching for ways to better navigate your digital transformation journey and redesign your process for maximum efficiency, then we should talk.