HQP are working with embracent in helping our members to make sense of technology using automation to help save time and resource.
embracent have reduced a Hospice’s reporting time from one day per month to just 30 minutes – but that’s NOT where they start the conversation.
Instead, they look at the big picture first to understand the company vision, the business goals and what the biggest challenges and pain points are and work with members to find a solution providing practical help to joining up systems.
*63% of businesses are planning to use automation to solve staff shortages*
However, many organisations choose the wrong processes to automate, or don’t simplify the process first.
What is RPA?
RPA or Robotic Process Automation is the application of technology to automate repetitive, and often mundane rules-based tasks. If you or your colleagues are performing the same task, day in, day out, based on a pre-defined set of rules, there is a large chance that an aspect or portion of this process can be automated.
This allows individuals, as well as organisations, to make better use of their time and focus on human-driven tasks. This could be developing stronger client relationships, improving the level of customer service offered, driving business insight or growing sales.
RPA in this sense means, the automation of manual tasks using a software application. The ‘Robot’ follows the pre-defined business rules, works 24/7 without error, achieving the same outputs in a fraction of the time it would have taken manually.
RPA’s versatility and its very nature of mimicking the human process means that it is entirely software, application, and environment agnostic. It can be used to automate anything undertaken on a PC or laptop.
Does RPA replace humans?
Contrary to popular belief, no! RPA is designed and implemented to only focus on the mundane, repetitive, and error-prone processes whilst allowing you as the user, to focus on the more creative aspects of your role. It literally takes the robot out of the human!
An example is of a Car Salesperson. They want to be selling – finding new leads, talking with potential customers, and analysing their prices versus competitors to get the edge. The unfortunate reality is that after a car sale, they must undertake around three hours of paperwork and checks before they can begin selling again. If they sell 10 cars in a week, that leaves them with 30 hours of paperwork instead of 30 hours of additional selling.
Imagine that with the click of a button, all paperwork is completed, all information sent to the authorities, and even better yet, it’s all been mysteriously completed in the cloud. embracent have removed the 30 hours of paperwork allowing the Salesperson to continue selling. They can then double or triple their sales instead of having to complete the mundane and repetitive tasks.
Automation is here to free up our time so that it can be re-invested.
How will RPA change my operation and resources?
In practice, RPA can come in several different forms ranging from quickly recorded processes to a complicated workflows of several components consisting of multiple branches.
RPA solutions can be developed in different ways. Simple recorded processes developed by non-technical staff at their operational level, or more complex solutions that require specialist technical knowledge. This level of complexity is also affected by the RPA tool of choice, with several vendors offering ‘low code’ and ‘no code’ options as well as their full code packages.
Adoption to RPA technologies can help a business save costs or make money, by freeing up staff to serve customers or carry out other activities to grow the organisation. The future is coming fast, and early adopters almost always benefit more than those who don’t. According to Gartner, the RPA market grew by 63% in 2018 and is expected to be worth around 400 billion by 2030.
If you’re not adopting it you’re missing out, as there is a high chance that your competitors will be.
Does RPA need coding or complex development? How can I have a turn?
Extremely simplistic processes can be automated simply by using a recorder functionality. This will let you record your own actions and then play them back at your leisure within minutes. Whilst this can be useful in one-off or niche scenarios, a lot of automations require futureproofing and dynamic activities to cope with the parameters of the process. This type of simplistic recording can be done with software such as UiPath, Automation Anywhere and Blue Prism all of which contain free trials for non-enterprise users, as well as possess several different versions such as UiPath’s Studio, StudioX and Studio Pro.
Unattended automations are where the learning curve takes a steep rise in most RPA tools. These automations run on virtual machines setup in the cloud so that the work can be completed as if no one was doing it at all. This level of automation requires significant development in collaboration with your teams, large amounts of testing, documentation creation, code reviews as well as going through the pipeline of User Acceptance Testing, deployment & Hypercare.
The key to starting an RPA project, is to take a simplistic process first and take it through the journey to understand the process and outcomes, and then identify more complex processes that yield even greater benefits.
Which RPA tool Is the best?
Different jobs require different skill sets; different RPA tools all have their positive and negatives too.
According to research by Gartner, UiPath has consistently been the best rated RPA tool for the last few years. It also features several different types of software for different experience levels, near all training is provided for free via their online academy and their forum has a general response time of minutes.
Other tools such as Automation Anywhere offer exclusively cloud-based options that are accessible from internet browsers, making their accessibility much easier than most, with out-of-the-box machine learning models offered for free.
Microsoft’s Power Automate is now included alongside Office 365 licenses, but it only used by 5% of current licensees. It doesn’t offer the full functionality of other RPA tools but is extremely proficient at engaging with other Microsoft products such as SharePoint, Word, or Excel.