Every day the employees associated with IT and business sector have to perform tasks that are redundant, repetitive, boring and time-consuming. These tasks include opening the email, sending an attachment through the mail, filling forms, writing databases, collecting and analyzing statistics. At the time of crisis, these tasks also appear to be an unnecessary investment of resources by the company. Hence it becomes imperative to find a solution that would perform these tasks faster and improve the quality of these tasks.
One such tool that has been widely recognized by industry experts over the years is the process of Robot Processing Automation. A Deloitte report suggests that the IT-enabled market has been growing rapidly at a CAGR of 60.5% from 2014 and is expected to reach US$5 billion by 2020.
What is RPA?
Robot Processing Automation (RPA) is the process of automating tasks which are repetitive and are performed by humans using software and hardware in a variety of applications.
A McKinsey Insight report suggests that given the current situation, 81% of the predictable work, 69% of data processing, 64% of the data collection work can be easily automated. With the use of RPA, the up-front cash flow can be reduced, thus increasing the investment of cash in those operations that are entitled to necessity.
How does the RPA Function?
Unlike cognitive intelligence or deep learning, RPA only performs those tasks that do not require knowledge, understanding and analysis. These are the simple physical tasks that are done by instructing the software or computer. Also, RPA does not employ natural language processing, reasoning, judgement, establishing context and meaning to carry out operations, which is a trait of cognitive automation.
As compared to deep learning as well, RPA doesn’t engage in learning about programs like data analysis or enterprise resource management. Instead, it acts as an assistant for clearing tasks that are uninteresting and redundant.
With the use of RPA humans can focus more on the tasks that require their maximum attention. It is significant to imply RPA up-front financial commitment.
Leslie Wellocks, the professor of technology, work and globalization at the London School of Economics in an interview to McKinsey Insight has described RPA into four streams. According to Mr Wellocks, in the first stream, the automation is done by collecting and synthesising data. This is a slow process but highly customised and can only be used in carrying out operations such as accounting and Finance.
Leslie has described the second lane as a self-developing power kit, for designing a robot using a provided template. This is a fast lane and is engaged in automating processes of those enterprises that can be scaled and are reusable.
Application of RPA
With the ongoing crisis as almost all the sectors are working remotely, the necessity to automate operations has been observed vividly. Moving it from the back-office operations to the front desk task has become imperative in carrying out operations.
The McKinsey Insight report states that almost 80% of the insurers are now inclining towards digital capabilities for meeting the business challenges. The area of application of RPA is wide and thus would also have an impact on human employment globally.
A Deloitte study, “How Robotics and Cognitive Automation will Transform the Insurance Industry” states that within next 10 years, insurance enterprises would have an expected displacement of 22.7 million jobs and creation of 13.6 million jobs in the US alone. As the world economy heavily relies on the US economy, the impact of job displacement would have an impact globally.
Operations- The Deloitte study suggests that with the automation in policy servicing and reporting, new roles will be created by leveraging technologies such as machine learning and optical character recognition, for assisting human beings in tasks that are repetitive and complex.
IT sector- The IT industry will see a potential migration to more digitalised platforms due to the automation of processes, according to the study. This transformation thus has the possibility of creating new roles and are likely to make employees more productive and focused, with better customer services.
Insurance companies- Like earlier mentioned, application of RPA will lead to creating new roles. With the use of RPA, insurers can arrange a client’s insurance policy according to the provided data, and later with the help of automation, this data can be segregated into completed and incompleted policies. Another benefit of using RPA is in solving the problem of compliance that the banking and insurance sector has struggled with.