Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Small to Medium Enterprises: Six ways you can benefit

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is topical with large enterprise organisations but not so much so, we’ve noticed, with Small to Medium Enterprises. RPA refers to software applications (otherwise known as software robots or bots) that replicate actions or tasks exactly like a human would – making RPA software an ideal application for automating repetitive, manual tasks. And, Small to Medium Enterprises have no shortage of repetitive, manual tasks, just begging to be automated.

RPA brings accuracy

It’s easy to underestimate the cost of inaccuracy. Human error costs businesses billions of dollars annually. No matter how skilled we are at a task, and how carefully we approach the task, mistakes are inevitable. Whether due to transcription, transposition, downright carelessness, the average benchmark for errors is anywhere from two to five percent. We all know errors cost money and cost further money to fix.

RPA bots are exceedingly accurate. They simply aren’t susceptible to the myriad of factors that result in human error. Of course, your process and workflows need to be optimised and error free before automation, or the RPA software robot will replicate any error.

RPA boosts productivity

RPA bots don’t take vacations or sick leave. They aren’t late to work or known to take extended coffee breaks. They work tirelessly around the clock if you choose them to, with the same level of accuracy and consistency every minute. Software robots are the model for productivity and efficiency.

RPA delivers a lower cost of doing business

Nobody works as fast a robot. And, no one works as inexpensively at home or offshore.

Use cases and our clients have proven that RPA can deliver cost savings of 35-70% and begin to breathe a return on investment in as little as three to six months. While the savings are substantial, it’s important to make note that the goal of RPA is not to automate jobs, but automate tasks, freeing up employees to handle a higher volume of work and focus on more value adding and interesting work.

RPA is scalable

Your new digital workforce can be scaled up and down as required and new bots can be deployed quickly in a low risk, low cost way, with the minimum of fuss.

During periods of peak activity RPA bots can handle the increased number of tasks, meaning you won’t need to hire and train temporary staff. And, if and when the transaction volume diminishes, you can put your bots on standby.

RPA bots can improve service levels

Bots improve service levels for both internal and external customers, given the work is done much faster and correct the first time. Also, many organisations are using RPA to deliver better front-line customer service. Rather than taking minutes to provision an order over the phone order, it can take seconds.

RPA is led by the business not IT

RPA technology can work in any environment. Since RPA bots mimic human (staff) actions, it does not involve coding changes or integration with your existing business applications. So rather than competing for internal IT resources you can start automating right away. Naturally, you need to consult with IT from the get-go and seek their counsel. Also, your IT Director will want their own robots to help automate tasks in their IT department, too.

About the Author: David Barlow, Co-Founder and Director, Sherpa Works, is passionate about helping Small to Medium Enterprises experience outrageous success with their Bot workforce.