Looking to maximise RPA value? Combine RPA with third party tools and the human touch

February 03, 2020
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
automationrobotic process automationRPA

One-third of activities in over 60%1 of occupations are routine and repetitive and can be automated, according to McKinsey. The amount of time that workers spend on such activities can quickly add up and negatively impact not just personal productivity but also the output of the entire department. Now imagine if there was a way to help workers save a portion of this time – allowing them to focus on strategic activities that add value to the customer as well as your bottom line. That’s where RPA comes in. With customers quick to reward or punish brands based on how they are treated, RPA allows you to reimagine your operations by automating mundane, repetitive, low-value tasks.

Surprisingly, even with all the benefits, a significant number of organisations are missing out on the RPA opportunity. Most believe that the key to RPA success lies in identifying pure RPA opportunities. What they fail to understand is the value in intelligently combining RPA with third-party tools and human resources through process redesign.

Before automating your processes, look for ways to redesign them

Pure RPA opportunities are rare and will become increasingly rarer as RPA matures. Redesigning existing processes and integrating them with third-party tools or the human touch, can expand the scope of RPA in many business processes. We did just that for one of our clients, a leading Commercial Finance business.

The company was looking to deploy RPA to improve efficiencies. An analysis of the existing process revealed that process re-design was necessary to drive the desired efficiency gains. The reason: the existing process required the RPA tool to compare two data files that contained the names of businesses. But the challenge was that the names could appear differently in the two files. Amazon, for instance, could be recorded as Amazon Solutions in one file and Amazon Solutions Limited in the other. Unfortunately, the existing RPA tool’s in-built functionality couldn’t produce accurate matches, and as a result, it failed to deliver on two important metrics – 100% accuracy and high penetration (the number of cases the bot processes without exceptions).

Firstsource experts redesigned the process with the introduction of a third-party tool and combined it with the human touch. Fuzzy logic (a simple add-in within Microsoft office) was integrated with the RPA tool to help it better match the textual data in excel. The output of this matching process is now generated as ‘percentage of similarity’ – higher the match, higher the ‘percentage of similarity’. To ensure the right names are picked for final processing, the output file saved by the RPA tools is assigned to a case handler (human touch). The case handler validates the match with a Yes/No flag and re-saves the file before the RPA tool picks up the file to process the final steps. ?Modifying the RPA solution to run as an attended automation solution, instead of unattended automation, helped the process attain penetration levels of over 90% and accuracy of 100%.

In another instance, we helped a banking client optimise outcomes by integrating their RPA tool with an online form.? The existing process required the bank’s customers to complete a standard form downloaded from their website or send in a handwritten letter/email to the bank requesting ‘Consent to Lease’. Automating the process in its current form would have required a high-end OCR solution to read the content in the letters. Even with the high-end solution, there was a high probability that some of the letters would require manual intervention due to illegible handwriting. Firstsource experts redesigned the process by integrating the RPA tool with an online form on the bank’s website. Customers looking to fill the form are guided through the online submission and document upload process. The RPA tool then picks up relevant information from the form and provides the necessary consent. The new process significantly improved penetration from 40% to 90% and also achieved the desired efficiencies.

Also read: Why it makes sense to standardise processes before deploying RPA

The truth about RPA deployments

The fact is RPA is not a silver bullet that can eliminate all inefficiencies from a process. However, when done right, RPA can yield substantial savings as well as improvements in productivity. By simply redesigning a process that is being automated and integrating it with third-party tools or the human touch, businesses can generate a higher level of performance and value from their RPA initiatives.

1:McKinsey: What impact will automation have on work

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