One of the most transformative technologies today is robotic process automation (RPA). Software robots can work through high-volume, repetitive tasks like filling out forms, moving files, and pulling data out of emails.
With RPA in the workplace, human employees can focus on the things they enjoy and do best, such as collaborating on creative business projects or interacting with customers. RPA offers a ton of benefits for any company, but one of the most important would be the ability to free up time for employees to do important things in the workplace.
What Robotic Process Automation Is About
RPA is a term used for software that either fully or partially automates activities typically done by humans. These activities tend to be repetitive, manual, and based on specific rules. The software replicates the actions a human would take by interacting with applications to respond to customer service questions, handle data entry, process transactions, and more.
The chatbot, which nearly everyone has experienced on websites, is almost always an RPA tool rather than a human. Therefore, it is ideal for answering simple questions like “where do I find this product on the website” or “how can I reset my password.”
A robotic process automation tool doesn’t replace the underlying applications. Instead, it automates many of the manual tasks that humans would traditionally do. For example, they can essentially see the same thing as a human worker and then update and fill in fields and boxes by pulling the right data from the appropriate location.
There are several benefits to this, including:
- It assists with ensuring tasks are done more quickly since the RPA tool can locate and retrieve all needed data in the background.
- It can ensure that any outputs are correct, complete, and consistent between tasks and various human workers.
- It gives humans a break from low-value monotonous tasks such as data entry so they can use their time on high-value work that needs human decision-making, creativity, and ingenuity.
One of the major benefits of RPA is that the tools used for it don’t change any of the existing infrastructure or systems. Other process automation tools can work with other systems using application programming interfaces (APIs), which require writing code. This can lead to quality assurance issues, the need to maintain the code, and the requirement to respond to changes from underlying applications.
While there are complications to using RPAs, many organizations find them to offer concrete and tangible benefits. Moreover, as the tools become more nuanced, they even take on characteristics of artificial intelligence tools and business process management tools.
This makes them more efficient and could lead to a situation where the tools could even analyze the sentiment in a message and make a recommendation based on that information.
RPA Time Saving Benefits
Regardless of industry, RPA can be used to allow employees to work on important things. The idea is to free up as much time as possible for items that can only be done using humans. For instance, those in customer service positions will have extra time to focus on customers and build a relationship with them.
Some companies find that the use of RPA can free up between 20 and 40 hours a day. The huge amounts of time savings available can transform an organization. In addition, these robots can often do things much more quickly than humans and, in some cases, might free up departments of people to handle more pressing matters.
One leader at a major manufacturing company noted that there was a high-visibility data entry project that was taking up the time of all the managers. The data was shuttled to the vendor, and hours a week were spent on it at each franchise.
In this case, a bot was used to take those data feeds, enter the data, and create reports for every location. This freed up the managers to do more important things throughout the company.
Another automation consultant relayed many of the same things. At another company, there were many cases where unattended automation could be implemented to save time. This offered the employees a way to work on more important and fulfilling activities.
Increasing Employee Happiness
Freeing up time to handle more important tasks is an excellent thing for any organization. However, that’s not the only benefit possible with RPA. Many of the companies now utilizing this kind of technology also find that their employees are happier and more positive regularly.
One developer explained that this is because the workers who were on tasks alongside bots were happier to have fewer low-value tasks to focus on. The robots let people feel more like people rather than robots who are just there to do the same thing repeatedly. The truth is that most employees don’t derive satisfaction from that.
Robots can remove that feeling and let people find enjoyment in relevant, creative, and challenging work. It gives them the chance to spend more time with customers or clients to build strong relationships with them. It also frees up time for additional work projects that the employee might have had to push to the side before RPA was implemented.
When employees are happy, they also are often more productive. This means the employees, the company, and the customers are experiencing benefits when this technology is in place.
An End to Workplace Monotony
Having the same tasks to do every day can be challenging for many workers. Freeing them up to be more focused on strategy is an excellent effect of RPA. Several leaders who have implemented automation for tasks have seen workers move on to doing more important work.
Employees who are bored at work doing repetitive tasks can now use their minds to create solutions and feel more like an important part of an organization. Of course, when manual work is removed from the equation, the extra time is a boon, but so is the ability to use it on exciting and challenging projects.