The robotization or RPA (Robot Process Automation) market is at a high point of growth. In fact, the global RPA market is expected to grow to more than US$13 billion by 2030 (an increase of more than US$12 billion over 2020). However, it is still a fragmented market with a large number of manufacturers. And in this context, the opportunities for growth are vast.
Robotisation will help companies improve efficiency, provided it is understood and implemented in the right way to bring real value to the organization. Moreover, its evolution will continue over the years through different stages, and we will see how it is applied to improve certain more or less repetitive tasks.
The 4 stages of development in the robotization of processes
Robotic Process Automation consists of automating certain processes in a company. And this automation can be more or less advanced in terms of technology and possibilities. We can therefore distinguish between four different stages of robotization.
In the first stage, we would speak of simple automation such as an Excel macro. This automation will follow simple rules, on non-recurring tasks. This would be process automation at the desktop level.
In a second phase, we incorporate robotics into process automation. This automation will be able to follow more complex rules for repetitive and recurring tasks, automating an entire workflow. For example, processes such as invoice generation or user registration could be automated.
In the third stage, we talk about Cognitive Automation, giving technology a human touch. This is done by giving it intelligence or interpretation capabilities, as could be the case with virtual assistants.
Finally, and still in the development stage, we would find truly intelligent robotization. We will not find robots equipped with Artificial Intelligence, capable of making autonomous decisions to improve processes. In fact, it will no longer be possible to automate only basic processes, but more critical processes will be executed.
The impact of process automation depending on the area of action it is applied to:
The speed at which the automated task is performed increases. It is true that the application with which it interacts (e.g., the browser) will still have its loading or response times. However, when carrying data from one place to another, the robot will not have to open from window to window and write down the information but will do it automatically.
It increases the number of tasks that can be performed in the same amount of time, as the robot has no downtime or rest periods. The automation can work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as the robot does not need to take holidays, sleep, or eat.
The productivity and work capacity of people increases. It is not that they work fewer hours, but that thanks to the help of the robot they can complete more tasks in a more efficient way. For example, if a person in a telecommunications company calls to increase the number of gigabytes on their phone, the operator can make the request to the robot to increase the number of gigabytes. The robot will be able to query all internal systems and take the necessary actions. In the meantime, the operator will be able to perform valuable tasks such as a satisfaction survey, the resolution of another user query, or even cross-selling.
Human error is reduced. Although there may be other types of operational errors in automation, human errors such as typos in manual data entry are eliminated through robotization. The data arrives as it is, and tasks are always performed in the same way without room for error.
These advantages are very positive for organizations, but what do they really mean for business growth?
Robotic process automation to drive business growth
Automation is often perceived as a cost saving. But there is a much more powerful approach to growth, and that is productivity and efficiency. Many companies are overwhelmed by day-to-day tasks, unable to complete them, or unable to complete them well. In these cases, Robotic Process Automation helps them tackle more and more work, eliminating repetitive tasks so that employees can move faster. Automation tools will be able to handle data dumping, reporting, or alert generation. Meanwhile, people will have more time and energy to contribute their intelligence and knowledge, improving decision-making.
It will also increase the space for innovation and improvement in service quality. As workload pressure decreases, it will be easier to stop and think about new and better ways of doing things. In addition, the reduction in the error rate through robotization will also contribute to this improvement in quality.
When to choose process automation over full digitization?
In addition, robotization provides short-term value from a tactical approach. While full digitization of a process is time-consuming and more costly, automation allows certain problems and inefficiencies to be resolved quickly and easily. And this value may be simply because in the short term it is the quickest solution or because a more advanced solution is simply not cost-effective.
Imagine there is a problem that involves performing manual tasks thousands of times, which will take a team of people weeks to complete. However, this event will only occur once in the company. It would not make sense to implement a customized development to digitize the process because it could also take weeks for this development to take place. Therefore, there would be no gain in speed. In this case, it would make sense to automate in a simple way. However, if this task is going to be repeated on a continuous basis, it will make sense to invest the time and effort to carry out a complete digitization.
At VASS we work to detect which tasks make sense to automate within each company and which solutions or technologies can provide the most value at any given time. In this way, we help our clients to improve their efficiency, adapting to their needs and their evolution over time. All this by understanding the technology we are working with, its costs, and the best practices to implement it.