What is an automation system?
Automation refers to the development and implementation of technology in such a way that allows for a process or a set of processes to be replicated or facilitated with little to no human involvement. Automation has become a large part of business today.
One relatively common example of automation is an appliance-controlling system that automatically turns on the light when a specific event, such as arriving home, occurs or an automatic text message that’s sent out when you’re driving. Other automation systems include self-driving busses such as the ones that are currently being used in Singapore, automated parking systems, purchase order automation, automated file transfers, automatic timesheet logging, the possibilities are endless.
RPA to save businesses resources
There are various types of automation, one such example is RPA, or Robotic Process Automation, which is entirely based on the front-end of a system, as opposed to standard automation which might require making changes to the backend. This means that the system can be changed or updated without needing to worry about altering the IT infrastructure itself.
The main aim of an RPA system is to ultimately automate mundane tasks by mimicking human behaviour, which allows for the employee who would normally be busy doing such a task, to be assigned to another job. You can also implement it to allow for automated backups, repeat routine maintenance tasks, handle maintenance and task handling in a project management scenario, and if the process is well defined, an RPA system will replicate the solution the same exact way every time, resulting in fewer errors. It is less programmatic than regular automation and saves businesses time, money, and effort in the long run, while also freeing employees from boring, repetitive tasks and allowing them to do more meaningful work.
However, it is important to note that a well-thought-out process is key to creating an automation system that is useful. The main characteristic of RPA is that it replicates a human process from beginning to end. A repeated process that has flaws or one that is not defined properly will keep making the same mistakes every time. Therefore, it is imperative that the whole process is planned out well from beginning to end.
Is RPA a threat to your career?! The purpose is to help, not replace.
A question that is on most people’s minds when discussing any kind of automation is “will this pose a threat to my career?” and amidst the various technological advancements we see happening so frequently, these worries are to be expected. It is important to note, however, that an RPA system itself is a complementary one and is not a direct replacement for a human employee. It also initially requires human input so that it knows what to replicate.
In terms of advantages, aside from freeing up employees so that they can work on something else, increasing employee satisfaction and fewer errors occurring during processes, RPA also allows for faster execution of processes, provides more control over data, is predictable, and reduces overall costs.
We have a previous article on this subject, you can read it here.
How industries are using RPA?
Industries that benefit from implementing this kind of system include:
A few use-cases for RPA within the financial sector are systems which automatically process invoices, purchase order processing, and with mundane, repetitive tasks being handled by RPA, employees can spend more time on insights and research, thus resulting in higher quality data and improved financial reports.
RPA can help in automating processes such as claim processing and management, automating data input and processing, such as in the case of patient information, or even automated appointment scheduling and reminders.
Automated analysis of sales data automated new product alerts are two main ways that RPA is used within the retail industry. It can also help with order automation and anticipating customer expectations using the sales data collected.
HR can also benefit from the implementation of an automation system. An example of this is an RPA system which reads incoming emails, checks for relevant data and updates the ERP platform with the payroll change information.
The sky’s the limit for automation
The examples mentioned above are obviously not the only ways automation can be implemented within a business scenario but are meant to give a general idea of what can be done with RPA and how it can be adapted in a myriad of ways.
In a world where technology is evolving and growing on a daily basis, the future is certainly bright for automation systems. If you want your business to start saving resources by automating low-value, repetitive tasks, contact us today to start working on your project.