Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been a game-changer for many businesses, allowing them to hand over mundane, repetitive, routinized tasks to a software-based “robot” to complete. Thanks to various technological advances, the number of business tasks that RPA is able to carry out is constantly on the rise.
Here are six very common tasks that RPA can absolutely be used to assist with:
Data entry and migration
In a perfect world, every piece of software would be capable of communicating seamlessly with every other piece. That is not the case, however. In many situations, even modern companies will still rely on legacy systems for jobs like billing, which may not boast the capabilities to be able to pull relevant data from application programming interfaces (APIs), the software intermediaries that allow multiple software applications to talk with one another. This means that human employees must migrate data manually, a process that’s both time-consuming and may lead to potential clerical errors. RPA is able to do this task quickly and, in some cases, considerably more error-free.
Generating mass emails
Mass emails can require data taken from multiple systems, making them a headache for producing using manual efforts. RPA can do this task very efficiently. If you only send rare mass emails, it may not be worth the trouble of automating the process. But if they are sent out frequently, using bots to do this can be an impressive time-saver.
Some business processes, such as ensuring smooth payroll for employees, are invisible to the customer in virtually all cases. Customer onboarding is not. Onboarding, which refers to the early customer journey to get them acquainted with a particular product or service, is highly visible to would-be customers who seek to do business with you. A smooth customer onboarding process, resulting in questions being answered and products and services being adopted, can greatly reduce churn.
While not every onboarding issue can necessarily be answered using RPA bots, an overwhelming majority of these early customers onboarding problems can be effectively managed with automation. Assisted with cutting-edge processes like cognitive automation and optical character recognition (OCR), most customer onboarding actions can be taken care of immediately — even when it’s a company that still relies on legacy systems. In doing so, onboarding can be reduced from days or even weeks down to single-digit minutes.
Procure-to-pay (p2p) and source-to-pay (s2p)
Procure-to-pay and source-to-pay are both vital parts of the procurement process. Making this process run smoothly means being able to rapidly extract data about invoices and payments from a variety of sources and systems, such as emails, logistics companies, and more. RPA bots can be used to help respond to integration gaps in which different systems do not smoothly speak with one another.
In some cases, the information they need appears as forms, as with invoices that a company receives from a supplier. Such data must be extracted, validated, and enriched before it can be actioned. Fully automated RPA solutions can not work more rapidly, but they can also be used to make sure the observance of procurement best practices.
Report preparation and sharing
Reports are vital for letting managers and teams know exactly what is happening so that they can track progress. They also take a whole lot of time to prepare and disseminate. As with generating mass emails, that might be okay if this is only an annual or, possibly, quarterly report. But when you get to the frequency of monthly, weekly, or even daily reports, it becomes an extremely labor-intensive job for employees. Using RPA, it’s possible to auto-generate reports and, based on analysis of the contents, send them to the relevant parties or stakeholders.
Overworked marketing, HR, and customer service teams frequently have to spend long periods of time updating information about customers or personnel that is regularly changing. RPA bots can be used for automatically updating the relevant records, using information from forms or emails, to make sure that stored data about these entities is as up-to-date and correct as it possibly can be.
Repetition is key
As noted up top, this is just a handful of the jobs that RPA can aid with. A good rule of thumb is that, if a task can be accurately described in a series of steps, and these steps are repeated over and over, with minimal variation, by a large number of employees, that task could potentially be automated using RPA methodologies. That means that the potential tasks greatly exceed the everyday examples listed here.
The technology is getting better all the time, too. That means that, if you considered automating a particular process a few years back and found that you weren’t able to, it’s well worth revisiting the question today.
After all, there’s a whole lot to gain from success automation — both for yourself and your customers.