John Antony, Head Automation & Operational Excellence, Bankwest
From being viewed as a screen scrapping tool, macros and scripts, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has come a long way and is currently viewed as a strategic tool, which enables both top line growth and bottom line improvements.
There are ten shifts in RPA that have either already occurred or will occur that will significantly impact the business environment:
1. Rule based automation to cognitive automation: In the last couple of years RPA has seen a massive shift from being used as a rule-based automation tool to cognitive automation tool that has the potential to automate end to end processes rather than a screen scrapping tool with limited functionality.
2. Shift from cost reduction to customer experience and risk management: Automation 4.0 has enabled process automation coupled with machine learning possibilities that has a far-reaching impact on risk reduction, security and customer experience.
3. Automation of structured data to unstructured data: The advancements in technology have led to interpretation of unstructured and contextual data. This includes sentiment analysis that has benefited industries as diverse as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Banking and Automotive and business areas as diverse as Finance, HR and Supply Chain to be agile while being responsive to customer needs.
4. Shift from license-based pricing to usage/value-based pricing: Recent developments in the RPA environment are shifting the pricing models to be usage led rather than license led. This eliminates the need for paying for bots that are idle, which benefits both the enterprises and the software providers in the long run.
5. IT led changes to user led configuration: The configurability of bots has attained maturity that most of the changes can now be incorporated through business users and reduces the over reliance on IT teams in organizations.
6. Shift from desktop-based tool to cloud based deployment: As more and more businesses migrate to cloud infrastructure and as more organizations move toward an agile operating model, the deployment time for automation is reduced drastically. This enables changes to be made in real-time and a quick response time to defect in production.
7. Voice interaction synthesis: The evolution of voice enabled interactions in devices will lead to creation of new interfaces in organizations to cater to these requests. Further, the execution of these multiple requests will slowly but steadily move on to the cognitive automation platforms.
8. Data lake integration and self-learning: Data lake capability in organizations will enable future automations that can run independent queries based on requests while self-learning and optimizing to reach the right outcome.
9. Automation solutions with built in Business Process Management (BPM) and process reengineering capability: The amalgamation of user-centered design, BPM and process reengineering will eventually be factored into RPA platforms. This would enable independent pathways for process completion with self-learning ability across multiple activity chains. This will eventually result in automation platforms that can handle and resolve exceptions without human intervention.
10. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system as embedded automation platform: As the industry matures most automations that work on the surface layer will become an embedded solution in core ERP platforms that will negate the need for a separate RPA client.
The combined changes brought about by these ten shifts will make automation the backbone of an organization’s strategic agenda.