You can outsource your robotic process automation - you just need the right partner

Outsourcing to an expert is smart and cost-effective, says TreasuryONE's Rudolph Janse van Rensburg.

According to TreasuryONE head of technology and RPA Rudolph Janse van Rensburg, robotic process automation (RPA) is currently one of the most talked-about productivity enhancements. 

“RPA is really as simple – and powerful – as it sounds and provides organisations with tools to create their own software robots to automate any business process,” Rudolph says. “The ‘bots’ created are configurable software set up to perform tasks assigned. Think of them as your digital workforce. Show your bots what to do, then let them do the work. They can interact with any system or application in the same way you do. Bots can learn and can be cloned. They can be adjusted and scaled as you see fit. In short, it’s code-free, non-disruptive, non-invasive, and easy to use.” 

However, he says that with any new technology, risks are initially high, skilled resources are scarce and mistakes can be costly. RPA, as a service, bridges the gap between cost, risk and experienced resources reducing the initial risk of the decision. 

“RPA is the digital workforce of today and a productivity enhancement that can not be ignored,” Rudolph said. “Organisations that don’t add digital workers to their business models will find themselves unable to compete against their competitors for price, service and quality.” 

The advantages of adding RPA to business processes: 

  • Reduced risk: Bots can perform tasks fast, accurately and without fail, minimising the risks of errors that can occur by humans doing the same tasks. 
  • Increased compliance: Certain parts of processes can be performed by the bots creating necessary segregation in smaller teams. Bots can also access front end systems and can be trained to enforce compliance rules. 
  • Freeing staff of mundane error-prone tasks: Many tasks in business processes are important but mundane that leads to boredom and errors when done by humans. Freeing staff from those tasks creates a happier more productive workforce.
  • Enhanced reporting: RPA enables us to retrieve, combine, and compile reports from multiple systems, thereby eliminating the need for a human to perform this task.  Bots can perform this task on-demand, therefore the end-user can request a report as and when they require it, rather than need to compile the report manually, or waiting on someone else to compile the report.
  • Adding skilled workers to your workforce: A single RPA bot is able to perform the functions of three to four employees at a fraction of the traditional cost of finding, hiring and training employees. Digital workers require no office space or equipment and can be utilised 24/7/365.

He added: 

“For us, the big thing is to have the bots do the heavy lifting. Not to replace our people, but to let the bots do the stuff that bots are good at, and let our people focus where they excel: building relationships and providing better service to our clients.” 

The advantages of RPA as a service: 

For an organisation, the advantages of RPA as a service include being able to access world-class automation expertise and eased capital expenditure (ie starting with RPA on a smaller scale). While reducing costs is perhaps the most immediately appreciated benefit, other important benefits include: 

  • No technology headaches: Your RPA solution is hosted and managed by your technology partner that ensures uptime, optimisation, security and best practice implementation.
  • Access to RPA experts: You interact with experienced users that have walked the RPA road before so that your ROI period is dramatically reduced
  • RPA best practice: The RPA as a service team have already learned what works, helps with identifying, scoping and getting processes RPA ready. Personnel and technology: You don’t need to recruit and employ skilled RPA resources. 
  • Economies of scale: You share in the cost of the hosting platform, licensing of the software, security and scares skilled RPA resources.
  • No need to upskill own staff: Your staff can continue to do what they do best - providing a service to your clients. Your RPA provider will take on the role of a coach, giving staff confidence and courage to include RPA as part of their existing known processes.

How can you select an RPA as a service partner?

  • RPA Technology used: The technology should be well known, supported worldwide, have a good track record and comply with bank-grade security.
  • Technology should have a well-developed bot store: Pre-built bots that perform the most common task for major third-party software that allows for easy implementation of bots - plug and play.
  • Ability to change your business model: Ability to move from consuming RPA as a service to a fully-fledged in-house deployment,
  • RPA business cases and successes: Choose a provider that has a track record of implementing systems and automating processes that employ a well-established team of experts.
  • RPA performance reviews: Just like you would have performance reviews with your employees, you should review the performance of your bots. Choose a partner that takes optimisation seriously.

“Adding Robotic Process Automation as a service allows organisations to add a digital workforce alongside their employees that complement each other,” Rudolph said. “In fact, we feel this is what the future of the workplace is already looking like. If you are not already considering this business model are you sure your organisation will be able to complete in the future?”